27 January: Holocaust Memorial Day

Today, 27 January, is Holocaust Memorial Day, on which we remember all the victims of the Nazi holocaust: six million Jews and eleven million others, including disabled people, dissidents, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

According to unofficial data, between five and fifteen thousand people were identified in the concentration camps among gays, bisexuals, and transgender women. These people, apart from Jews, were among those most affected and persecuted, especially following Hitler’s tightening of Section 175, the Prussian law that punished sexual acts against nature. The LGBTQIA+ community, therefore, was the target of double discrimination: both by the Nazi soldiers but also by the judgments and consideration of the society of the time as a whole. The entire LGBTQIA+ community, in fact, within the concentration camps, was the most mistreated and harassed: they were used as targets in training and were subjected to the most deviant pseudo-scientific experiments, sometimes even conversion to heterosexuality.

The nightmare of these victims, however, did not cease even after the liberation of Germany, where Section 175 remained in force until the early 1970s, and claims for compensation by the LGBTQIA+ community were often denied, as was state compensation granted to other victims. 

This day, so sad, but also so useful, is therefore truly precious to remember the atrocious fate suffered by so many, too many victims, and in the wake of remembrance, which must become ever more vivid and conscious, the words of Ferruccio De Bortoli of the ‘Corriere della Sera’ seem more perfect than ever: “Memory is like a garden. It must be tended. Otherwise it will become overgrown with weeds. And the flowers of the righteous will disappear. Devoured”.

Giorgio Galluzzo, Business Development Executive

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