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Germany's President Asked For Forgiveness After Decades Of Wronging Gay Men

Germany is apologizing for the Nazis targeting and murdering thousands of gay men.

Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke at the 10th anniversary of the Tiergarten Memorial for gay men wronged by the Nazis.

The memorial itself is a concrete cube. On the cube is a small window where people can look in and see a gay couple kissing. The cube is supposed to represent the persecution and murder of gay men under Nazism.

Gay people were treated especially cruely by the Nazi regime. They were beaten, sodomized by broken broomsticks, and used for shooting practice. Gay men had their testicles boiled off in water, and lesbians were raped in make-shift brothels for soldiers.

“The German state has inflicted grave suffering on these people. Above all, under the National Socialists, but also afterwards, in East Germany and for too long under [West German] Basic Law,” said Steinmeier.

“That is why I ask for forgiveness today – for all the suffering and injustice that has happened, and for the long silence that followed.”

Even though World War 2 eventually ended, gay people were not free from persecution. Many LGBTQ people were imprisoned under homophobic laws after the war had ended.

That said, Germany is trying to correct that wrong too.Germany has pardoned all gay men who were convicted between the years of 1945 and 1969 for being gay.

In addition, the government has sent €3,000 ($3,350) and €1,500 ($1754) per year in jail to victims as compensation for their persecution.

It’s the least that the German government could do.