Berlin Mayor condemns vandalism of gay memorial

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Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s first openly-gay mayor, has spoken out against the vandalism of the city’s memorial to gay and lesbian victims of Nazi rule.

The memorial, opened on 27th May 2008, was damaged on 16th August.

Mr Wowereit also joined a demonstration with the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) at the scene of the vandalism on Monday afternoon.

He said: “An attack against this memorial is clearly directed against homosexuals; that can be said without waiting for further police investigations.

“We must show our condemnation of this act of intolerance and homophobia.”

Germany’s Association of Lesbians and Gays said in a statement: “Everything suggests that this attack was motivated by a hatred of homosexuals.

“The attack shows in a drastic way how necessary this monument is.

“Hostility to homosexuals remains virulent. The kissing scene shown in the monument evidently hit the mark.

“Even in a democratic society there are people who can’t stand the sight of men kissing in public.”

Rudolf Brazda, a gay concentration camp survivor said:

“I had feared something like this would happen.

“People don’t learn, they’re much too stupid unfortunately.

“Because they don’t want to understand that there is such a thing as homosexuality.

“Because they don’t want to accept that there are people who are naturally different from them.”

Mr Brazda was imprisoned for his sexuality in Buchenwald concentration camp from 1942 until the camp was liberated in April 1945.

More than 50,000 gays and lesbians are believed to have been convicted under the Nazis due to their sexuality.

Up to 10,000 of them died in concentration camps.

Many survivors, far from being liberated, were transferred to prisons.

The laws used against gay people in Germany remained in the statute books until 1969.

It was only in 2002 that the German parliament issued a formal pardon for any gay people convicted by the Nazis.