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Lesbian Kiss at Berlin Gay Holocaust Memorial Draws Protest


A plan to exchange an image of kissing men with kissing women at a gay Holocaust memorial in Berlin is drawing protest from some scholars.

Erected in May 2008, the memorial to the estimated 5,000 to 15,000 homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis is a gray concrete slab designed by Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgree and features a window through which viewers can see a looping video, currently of two men in an eternal kiss.

The original plans included changing the sex of the embracing couple in the video every two years, but Alexander Zinn and other Holocaust experts have protested via a letter to German culture minister Michael Neumann and gay Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit, claiming the proposed lesbian kiss video would distort history. The protesters claim that lesbians were not targeted for persecution in the Holocaust.

Neumann defends the planned video, set to debut in May 2010, saying in a statement, "The option of using a lesbian film motif in the memorial is in no way meant to put on the same level the persecution of homosexual men and women under the Nazi regime. Research shows that the persecution of lesbian women by the Nazi regime was not comparable to that of homosexual men. This is also clearly explained in a plaque on the memorial."

A decision based on the complaints is anticipated in the coming weeks.

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