By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com August 24 2013 10:59 AM ET
Israel is planning to construct the country’s first monument to gays who were persecuted by the Nazis, reports Haaretz.
The monument will be erected in central Tel Aviv’s Meir Park near the headquarters of the Gay Center before the end of the year. A pink triangle – the symbol Nazis used to mark homosexuals – will be displayed on a concrete triangle at the center of the monument along with a bench and plaque that will display information about how homosexuals were persecuted during the Holocaust.
The monument is the brainchild of attorney Eran Lev, who is a member of the municipal council from the Meretz party.
“This will be the first and only memorial site in Israel to mention the victims of the Nazis who were persecuted for anything other than being Jewish,” Lev told Haaretz. “As a cosmopolitan city and an international gay center, Tel Aviv will offer a memorial site that is universal in its essence. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a monument, but a place — a place of quiet that will invite visitors to sit, contemplate, reflect and be in solitude.”
“One of the first restrictions the Nazis imposed on the Jews was against going to public parks. We’re bringing that memory back into the public space. It’s very moving,” he added. “We felt it was important to present it as part of the park. It’s close to the Gay Center, but not inside it. It’s a public Israeli monument, erected by the municipality, and not something that belongs only to the gay community.”
Lev also said he hopes the monument will not become at target for antigay hostility and “will be received with understanding and not become a focus of strife between people.”
Similar memorials dedicated to gay victims who were persecuted by the Nazis also exist in Amsterdam, Sydney, San Francisco, Barcelona, and Berlin.