Vandals attack Berlin monument to gay victims of Nazis

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German politicians are dismayed about the desecration of a monument to tens of thousands of homosexuals persecuted under the Nazis that was opened less than three months ago in Berlin.

Police said they were looking for the perpetrators who attacked the monument, a large grey cube in the Tiergarten park in Central Berlin, at the weekend.

The vandals smashed a window through which viewers could see a picture of two men kissing and ripped down fencing. Police said it was unclear if the motive for the attack was political. “This cowardly and shocking act is an attack on the image we have of ourselves as a tolerant and open city,” said Frank Henkel, a senior politician in the Berlin assembly and a member of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrat party.

Green Party politicians also condemned the attacks, which they described as a warning sign that homophobia was still rampant in German society.

The monument to homosexuals persecuted in the 1930s and 1940s was unveiled in May. About 50,000 gay men were convicted by Nazi courts; some were castrated and thousands were sent to concentration camps. “This attack is shocking, appalling. To see such a thing today after all the suffering and horror we had to go through, it is cruel,” said Rudolf Brazda, who survived imprisonment in Buchenwald concentration camp for being gay. “People don’t want to accept that there are people who are different from them by nature,” he said in a statement issued by Germany’s LSVD gay and lesbian association.

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