Why Gay German Men Are Seeking Reparations for a Homophobic Nazi Law | VICE | United States

Why_Gay_German_Men_Are_Seeking2016-08-19_17-09-52.jpgWhy Gay German Men Are Seeking Reparations for a Homophobic Nazi Law | VICE | United States – When the Allied Powers occupied Germany in 1945, they repealed particularly egregious Nazi laws, such as the infamous Nuremberg Laws that banned intercourse and marriage between Jews and those defined as Aryans. But the occupiers remained silent on the question of which version of §175 would stand—the harsher law passed in 1935, or the milder provision it had replaced. While East German courts quickly decided the 1935 version was an illegitimate Nazi law, West Germany continued to enforce it. In 1950, a new wave of persecutions began in West Germany. In a mass action, the state’s attorney in Frankfurt rounded up hundreds of men on the testimony of young male prostitutes, and charged at least 140 under the 1935 version of §175. Most faced jail sentences; at least seven committed suicide. One nineteen-year-old man jumped from Frankfurt’s Goethe Tower, while anotherpoisoned himself in a movie theater. The president of the American Civil Liberties Union, Roger Baldwin, visiting Frankfurt at the time, protested it was “incomprehensible that such treatment of innocent, adult persons was still possible in the 20th century,” as reported in Der Spiegel.

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