Berlin | Germany | Klaus Wowereit | News

Major Monument to Gay Holocaust Victims Unveiled Today in Berlin

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A monument remembering gays persecuted by the Nazi regime was unveiled in preparation for a ceremony today in Berlin which was presided over by Germany's federal commissioner for culture, Bernd Neumann, and openly gay Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit.

Below, Neumann and Wowereit peer into the monument.

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The monument consists of a 3.6 meter-high, 1.9 meter-wide pillar containing a small window through which can be seen a one and a half minute film loop of two men kissing, directed by the Danish director Thomas Vinterberg. Vinterberg directed the 1998 film The Celebration.

A still from the film loop is below.

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And here's another shot of the monument, which sits half a block from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin's Tiergarten Park, across from the Jewish Holocaust memorial.

According to Deustche Welle, "Originally it was debated whether homosexuals should be included in the larger memorial before the decision was made to give homosexuals their own monument. But the design corresponds to the Holocaust Memorial's field of steles, a series of concrete blocks of varying sizes. While the Nazi persecution of the Jews is well known, for many years there was little public acknowledgement of Nazi atrocities towards homosexuals. Estimates put the number of homosexuals arrested by Nazis at about 54,000 with 7,000 being killed in concentration camps. 'It is not easy for a gay man to live in this country and this society. It's important to remember that this society punished homosexuality for 20 years after National Socialism ended,' said Günter Dworek of the Federation of Gays and Lesbians in Germany (LSVD), a driving force behind the project."

The monument was designed by Berlin-based Norwegian-Danish artist duo Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen (below).

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One more shot AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. I think it's a great gesture by the government to erect this remembering the homosexuals who died during the holocaust. That being said, I'm not a very big fan of this monument. It just looks like a concrete bunker to me.

    Posted by: Matt | May 27, 2008 9:05:37 AM


  2. Yes because a reminder of the murder of thousands of homosexuals should be "pretty".

    Posted by: D.R.H. | May 27, 2008 9:20:10 AM


  3. I think it's ugly and vulgar. I'm not so sure that it's a heartfelt effort to pay homage to those who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazi's and then continued to be humiliated for some 20 years after "the Fall", or just some cheap way to try and make amends to the Gay community. I don't think it should be "pretty", but I think there could be a greater artistic expression of that horrible time. A gray concrete box with a film loop of two men kissing just doesn't portray a lot of sorrow to me. If I just stumbled upon it on a tour, I might not even know what it was.

    Posted by: Bob R | May 27, 2008 9:34:01 AM


  4. No D.R.H.

    Majestic? YES

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | May 27, 2008 9:34:24 AM


  5. Right...a Holocaust memorial should be "majestic." This isn't a monument to glorious sacrifice in combat during a war. People were pulled out of their communities and starved and withered away in camps, often without a word of protest from their communities. I think this monument is pretty damn true to that reality.

    Posted by: scientitian | May 27, 2008 9:56:10 AM


  6. What the hell kind of ugly ass monument is that? If I walked past it I'd be looking for the quarter slot so I could take a pee. As for the film, if I wanted to watch a couple of twinks make out I'd head to the offices of Bel Ami. They'd have been better off sticking up a glitter ball with a constant loop of Cher for all the gay vibe I'm feeling from that grey box.

    Posted by: Stewart | May 27, 2008 10:29:38 AM


  7. Gott save us from memorials that take a back seat to "Art." It's a monstrosity. It looks like an oversized concrete outhouse. Another execrable example of the rape on capturing the essence of historical political events that "moderne artistes" typically commit.

    And the loop is equally loony. It shouldn't be of a contemporary couple but of photos of gay individuals and couples of the periods. The survive if their subjects haven't, either because of the Holocaust or simple passage of time.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 27, 2008 11:12:59 AM


  8. The Monument is like the others debatable. The most argument is on the separation of the memorials: one for the gays, one for the jews, one for the gypsies, one for the communists.... The remembrance is sperated along the discriminatory categoris of the Nazis instead of remembering them united as Victims of the dictatorship. This separation is a belated victory for the Nazis.
    It shouldn't be pretty, it should be offensive like men high monument of 2 gays or lesbians kissing intimately.

    Posted by: Alex form Germany | May 27, 2008 11:14:47 AM


  9. Fairly hideous, boringly didactic, and not terribly imaginative. I know I'm a troglodyte aesthetically, but why not a simple, handsome statue?

    Posted by: Muscato | May 27, 2008 11:45:14 AM


  10. An example of elite opinion triumphing over popular taste. Monuments often say too much about the era in which they were created. However, the rise of the Internet does allow anyone to create their own Holocaust memorial if they want to.

    Posted by: anon | May 27, 2008 12:01:46 PM


  11. It looks like trash, should win award for trash art. Doubt they spent more the 5 minutes to come up with it. I won't say it was designed.

    Posted by: NY-Bob | May 27, 2008 12:04:57 PM


  12. A small askew closet for the homosexuals? A post-apocalyptic peepshow for the pervs? A dreary armored cubicle that utterly fails to speak to the enormity of the issue at hand? Sad. And not in a meaningful memorial way.

    Posted by: Timothy | May 27, 2008 12:14:13 PM


  13. Today is the 15th anniversary of Russia's revocation of article 121. There were still some men in prison in 1993 for being gay. Wonder if they'll ever get a monument?

    Posted by: Kevinvt | May 27, 2008 12:17:02 PM


  14. I think the monument is wonderful. From a distance it looks forbidding, a little scary, and, yes, ugly. In other words, exactly the way homophobes look at homosexuals/homosexuality. But when you get a little closer and look inside, you see love. (Though I do agree with MICHAEL BEDWELL's point that the film could have been footage of homosexuals who were victims of the Nazis.)

    Posted by: peterparker | May 27, 2008 12:33:34 PM


  15. Ugly is not enough.It is insulting.Means nothing and looks like a "pisour".People will probably dump garbage into it by the window.Germany could do better.Maybe paint the outside white with big pink triangules on every side.

    Posted by: Oscar | May 27, 2008 12:54:50 PM


  16. ALEX FROM GERMANY, MICHAEL BEDWELL and TIMOTHY above said everything that I was thinking.

    Somehow I get the impression that if Hitler stood in the middle of these memorials he would have a bit of a smirk on his face. Not only do the monuments to his victims reflect their "otherness" they also have the same grey, hopeless and dispairing image that he so effectively promoted in his Arian propaganda films.

    I can't imagine that anything would have given him more satisfaction than to know that long after his passing, ALL the people he persecuted, rather than being brought together (by horrible common historical circumstance) into a united front against the bigotry that the Nazis promoted, are still separated, ununified and all too often adversarial in their fights against bigotry, discrimination and oppression.

    The only positive that I find in this monument is in the fact that Hitler HATED modern art and anything visually unappealing. If he didn't realize that these structures were intended to memorialize people he hated his blood would have curdled at this monstrosity in the middle of Berlin.


    Very disappointing.

    Posted by: Zeke | May 27, 2008 1:01:27 PM


  17. I don't know. It's still a public admission of the murder of gay people--and many of them were "openly homosexual and trans", not closeted. It makes you think and be silent for a moment.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 27, 2008 1:21:05 PM


  18. I don't get it either, is it because it looks like a gloryhole? Just kidding.

    Posted by: yvespaul | May 27, 2008 2:49:08 PM


  19. This "thing" is doing such a great job in hiding and concealing what it is about. Why not create something that openly and in a more obvious way communicates the topic homosexuality - which also would express that something about the perception of gay people by society has changed?

    Maybe because every monument we built dedicated to the victims of the nazi-regime is still expected to be gray and terribly sad looking - more to emphesize and reassure that we still feel terribly guilty than to really commemorate the victims.

    We should not be creating monuments for our own conscience, but for the people they are ment to remind of.

    Posted by: Ulrich | May 27, 2008 7:55:15 PM


  20. WTF???i just saw this.revolting.at first glace i thought it was the entrance to hitlers bunker??cmon.....fuk off!!! a grey box with a window showing????
    lo and behold ..two men kissing..as unoriginal uninspired and lacking in taste and foresight.this is SUPOSED to show pain indifference-persecution -hatred,homophobia-and pure evil,grey is i suppose symbolic but methinks as one said'majestic"or a fil of actual interviews or something THAT ACTUALLY documents real stories.not just some arty farty kiss.what does that say??just a gay kiss says nothing except for its own sake.so after 100 years do you think someone will look at that and go...oh yes...i feel that!!puhhleasee

    Posted by: MS BITCH | May 28, 2008 3:19:30 AM


  21. A poorly executed monument. If I had constructed a monument, it would be a group of statues standing in a circle facing outward--men and women and children holding hands with heads bowed, each wearing one of the emblems--Jew, homosexual, and political prisoner alike.

    Posted by: mason | May 28, 2008 3:38:44 AM


  22. I have to agree with Yvespaul. I couldn't help but think this looks like a gloryhole! Come on, that crossed someone else's mind too! Admit it!

    Posted by: gregnsf | May 28, 2008 6:06:12 AM


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