Two parliamentarians in Germany are calling for reparations on behalf of over 50,000 gay men convicted of anti-gay laws enacted by the Nazis.
Katja Keul and Volker Beck from Germany’s Green Party are calling for reparations on behalf of tens of thousands of gay men who were criminalised for their sexuality during Nazi rule.
Thousands of men were imprisoned and sent to concentration camps during the violent oppression in Nazi Germany.
The law in question, Paragraph #175, an anti-sodomy bill which was introduced in 1871, was used to target gay men.
In 1935 Hitler’s government sharpened the Paragraph from the carnal act to any act that could be construed as homosexual.
This change in the law meant that the conviction rate soared from a few hundred to over 8000 gay men in one year.
The law wasn’t repeal after Hitler’s government ended. It remained on the books in East Germany until 1968. It wasn’t until 1994 that #175 was abolished in unified Germany, including what had once been West Germany.
According to VICE, between 1935 and 1943 around 46,000 men were convicted under the provision. Between five and ten thousand of those were sent to concentration camps. Less than half are believed to have survived.
“An end must be put to the continuing scandal that men in the Federal Republic of Germany have to live with the stigma of having been convicted because they were homosexual”.