Just across the street from the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, this austere grey cuboid that sits in a quiet corner of Berlin’s Tiergarten was commissioned to pay tribute to the long-ignored thousands of homosexual individuals who were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered in the Holocaust.
Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazi regime carried out a campaign against male homosexuality. They harassed Germany’s gay communities and arrested thousands of gay men under Paragraph 175, the statute of the German criminal code that banned sexual relations between men. More than 50,000 men were convicted of the “offense” of homosexuality, and between 5,000 and 15,000 were sent to concentration camps.
After World War II, the homosexual victims of Nazi Germany were not officially recognized. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code was reformed. It was finally abolished in 1994.
The memorial, unveiled in 2008 after years of planning, was designed by artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. It is a large concrete cube, a shape designed to pair with the nearby Jewish memorial. On the side of the memorial, visitors can look through a small window where a video showing gay couples kissing is displayed on a loop.