Sunday, 27 January 2013

Heritage Spotlight - Holocaust Memorials

In commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day I want to bring the heritage spotlight onto the Holocaust memorials around the world which specifically remember the gay victims of Nazi persecution.

In the 1980s, when the Berlin Wall came down and the country became a unified nation once more, Germany began to reassess its position in international politics and acknowledge its past role in world history. The most painful memory to address was the persecution of many sections of society during the Holocaust.

At first many people, particularly in Germany, believed that all physical evidence of the Holocaust should be destroyed because the memory of it was horrific enough. But it became apparent that preserving the old Nazi concentration camps was the only effective way to keep the horrors in people’s minds, especially as testimonies of living memory diminished with time. Many memorials were erected to the Jewish victims. As other groups persecuted by the Nazis began to realise their own losses in the Holocaust they too erected monuments.

Gay victims are remembered around the world. I have divided them into three geographical groups, and list them chronologically. If you want to know a bit more about them go to this website where there are more details and photographs.

Group 1          GERMANY
1984    Mauthausen concentration camp.
1985    Dachau concentration camp.
1985    Neuengamme concentration camp.
1989    Berlin.
1990    Buchenwald concentration camp.
1992    Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
1994    Frankfurt-am-Main, in Platz Sch√§fergasse.
1995    Cologne, Wallraf-Richarts-Museum.
2008    Berlin, in the Tiergarten.

Group 2          EUROPE
1987    Amsterdam, Netherlands, in Westermarkt.
1990    Bologna, Italy, in the gardens of Villa Cassarini.
1993    The Hague, Netherlands, in Koninginnegracht.
2000    Rome, Italy, near Metro Piramide.
2005    Trieste, Italy, at Risiera San Sabba, an Italian concentration camp.
2005    Laxton, Nottinghamshire, UK, at the Holocaust Centre.
2007    Saint Malo, France.
2011    Barcelona, Spain, Cuitadella Park.

Group 3          THE WORLD
1999    Achorage, Alaska, USA, in the municipal cemetery.
1999    San Francisco, USA, in the Pink Triangle Park.
2001    Palm Springs, Florida, USA.
2001    Sydney, Australia, in Green Park.
?          Winnipeg, Canada, in the grounds of Manitoba Legislative Building.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum currently has a travelling exhibition called “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945”. It ends its occupancy at the Compass Community Centre at Lake Worth, Palm Beach County, Florida, today. It moves to the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri, which will host the exhibition from 6th February to 10th April. For more information go here.

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