12. AFTERMATH

As the Allies swept through Europe to victory over the Nazi regime in early 1945, hundreds of thousands of concentration camp prisoners were liberated. The Allied Military Government of Germany repealed countless laws and decrees. Left unchanged, however, was the 1935 Nazi revision of Paragraph 175. Under the Allied occupation, some homosexuals were forced to serve out their terms of imprisonment regardless of time served in the concentration camps. The Nazi version of Paragraph 175 remained on the books of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) until the law was revised in 1969 to decriminalize homosexual relations between men over the age of 21.

The continued legal and social prohibitions against homosexuality in Germany hindered acknowledgement that homosexuals were victims of Nazi persecution. In June 1956, West Germany's Federal Reparation Law for Victims of National Socialism declared that internment in a concentration camp for homosexuality did not qualify an individual to receive compensation. Homosexuals murdered by the Nazis received their first public commemoration in a May 8, 1985, speech by West German President Richard von Weizsäcker—the fortieth anniversary of the war's end. Four years after re–unification in 1990, Germany abolished Paragraph 175. In May 2002, the German parliament completed legislation to pardon all homosexuals convicted under Paragraph 175 during the Nazi era.


Cartoon response to a series of §175 trials in Frankfurt in 1950 and 1951. The judge, a former Nazi public prosecutor who had participated in the arrest of more than 400 homosexual men in 1938 and 1939, found the first of 100 defendants guilty of "degeneration" capable of "destroying the foundation of the state", the language of the Nazis. At least five defendants committed suicide before going to trial. Press coverage led to the judge's removal.

Since 1984, memorials to homosexual victims of the Nazi regime have appeared in various cities and memorial sites at former concentration camps, including: "Homomonument," Westermarkt, Amsterdam, 1987; Nollendorfplatz, Berlin–Schöneberg, 1989; Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, Oranienburg, 1992; "Angel," Platz Schäfergasse/Alte Gasse, Frankfurt, 1994; and on the bank of the Rhine River at the Wallraf–Richarts–Museum, Cologne, 1995.

Since 1984, memorials to homosexual victims of the Nazi regime have appeared in various cities and memorial sites at former concentration camps. Pictured here is a memorial at Nollendorfplatz, Berlin-Schöneberg, 1989.

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