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CRIME

Gay holocaust victim memorial vandalized in Berlin

A monument dedicated to homosexuals persecuted and tortured by the Nazis has been vandalized in Berlin, less than three months after it was unveiled.

Gay holocaust victim memorial vandalized in Berlin
The memorial as it was opened Photo:DPA

The monument – a grey concrete slab that stands around five metres high – contains a window through which viewers can watch a looped video of a “never-ending” kiss between two men.

The window was smashed by unknown assailants, police confirmed on Saturday, adding the incident was being investigated.

Günter Dworek, spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) said on Sunday the attack was revolting and outrageous, and a scandal.

He said a protest against the vandalism to draw attention to on-going discrimination would be held on Monday at the memorial.

The monument is located in the heart of the capital close to the main Holocaust monument.

Hitler outlawed homosexuality in 1936 and convicted around 50,000 people for “unnatural” behaviour deemed unbecoming of the Aryan “master race.”

It is estimated that the Nazis sent between 5,000 and 15,000 gays to concentration camps along with Jews, political opponents, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others considered undesirable.

Once there, few were killed right away. Most were forced to wear a pink triangle, putting them at the bottom of the camp hierarchy, and died of hunger, disease, abuse or exhaustion. Very few survived.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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