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Gay Victims of Nazi Germany Remembered at Holocaust Ceremony


An estimated 650 gay people, mostly men, were interned at the Buchenwald concentration camp.

A ceremony was held Sunday at the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany to remember the people who were imprisoned there for being gay.

About 50 people gathered at the Buchenwald Memorial, near the city of Weimar, to commemorate the 650 gay people who were interned there between 1937 and 1945, the Associated Press reports. They marched through the grounds carrying a Pride flag and laid flowers at a monument to the prisoners.

The Nazi regime placed somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 people in concentration camps for the "crime" of homosexuality, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The persecution fell hardest on gay men. The number of gay people who died in the camps is unknown, but historians estimate the death rate at 65 percent.

"Prisoners marked by pink triangles to signify homosexuality were treated harshly in the camps," the museum's website notes. "According to many survivor accounts, homosexuals were among the most abused groups in the camps. ... Guards ridiculed and beat homosexual prisoners upon arrival, often separating them from other inmates." Gay prisoners were often given dangerous tasks to perform, and some were subjected to medical experimentation and even castration.

The Buchenwald ceremony was part of the Pride observance being held in and around Weimar over the weekend. Officials with Weimar's Christopher Street Day organization said they sought to "commemorate the prisoners who had to suffer because as men they loved men," the AP reports.

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