It is a tragic fact in history that despite the Allies winning World War II and putting an end to the holocaust in Germany, Nazi-era anti-gay laws remained in place until 1994.
So as the world rejoiced the end of one of the most horrific times in human history, gay men especially were left behind with Paragraph 175 (first enacted in 1871 but then enforced strictly by the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler from 1933 awards) criminalising consensual anal sex.
The German government has now said they they have compensated nearly 250 people who faced persecution due to the archaic law with victims entitled to 3,000 Euros per conviction, 500 euros for each time they were investigated, 1,500 euros for every year they sat in custody awaiting trial, and 1,500 Euros per year of jail time served.
This might not seem like a great deal but it is a victory and a reminder of how the LGBTQ+ community were left behind, many having devoted their lives to the war effort, only to be persecuted afterwards (Alan Turing being one of the highest profile victims of this over in the UK).
After the Nazis made Paragraph 175 even stricter, even ‘a sexually charged verbal exchange or suggestive glance between two men could lead to arrest or imprisonment. In some cases, men were even castrated under the law’.
According to the UK’s National Holocaust Centre and Museum, of the approximately 90,000 men arrested for homosexual acts between 1937 and 1939, between 5,000 and 15,000 were sent to concentration camps.