Wednesday, 6 June 2018

German President apologises for Nazi atrocities to gays (video)

Despite the likes of the late Bill Leak depicting us in recent times as gay Nazi's (see cartoon below) in the long lead up to the postal survey, gays were anything but in Nazi times. 

We were rounded up and sent to concentration camps to die, as was stated during the postal survey debate itself by a Melbourne radio caller to the ABC who said Hitler got it right to do so. Hear audio of that at the link.

Or as was stated also by Lyle Shelton when he was the failing captain of the Australian Christian Lobby, that we were like the Nazi's because we dared to want equality. Watch Shelton say so in the video at the link.

All those three things were in the lead up and during the marriage equality postal survey. It was deeply offensive for any gay in Australia, who knew that our brothers and sisters in the past, on the other side of the world had been punished so badly and paid the ultimate price so casually by the Nazis, just for being who they were. But we had no choice at the time but to cop that bullshit, from so called Christians. Yes, the Nazi's thought they were Christians, attended church and all.

But now is the time of truth. Today I learned the German president has asked for forgiveness for what the Nazi's did to us. Using a monument that was erected a few years back in Berlin as the stage, he made his speech:
German President Steinmeier has apologized for the mistreatment of gays in the first decades of the German Federal Republic. He said the injustices committed by the Nazis should have ended with their rule.

 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday asked forgiveness for the suffering inflicted on homosexual men by the German state not only under Nazi rule but also in the years after 1945.

Speaking at a ceremony in Berlin to mark the 10th anniversary of a monument to commemorate homosexuals who were persecuted by the Nazis, Steinmeier said mistreatment of gays had continued after the war in both East and West Germany.

 "The German state has inflicted heavy suffering on all these people, particularly under the Nazis, but also after that, in East Germany and also under the Basic Law," the Federal Republic's constitution, Steinmeier said.

 Steinmeier said that the commemoration was for "the many tens of thousands of people whose private spheres, lives, love and dignity were infringed upon, denied and violated." He evoked the more than 50,000 men persecuted by the Nazis, who were "tortured, sent to prisons and to concentration camps."

 But he said the time after 1945 also had to count when remembering the persecution of homosexuals.
"For this reason, I am asking for forgiveness today — for all the suffering and injustice and for the long silence that followed," he said.

 He noted that homosexuals had continued to be punished under the same rigorous application of Paragraph 175 instigated by the Nazis for more than 20 years after the Nazi era had ended.

 The paragraph, which made homosexual acts between males a crime, was a provision of the German Criminal Code from 1871 to 1994 and led to the conviction of some 140,000 men overall. The Nazis tightened the law, increasing the maximum penalty and widening the scope to include even non-physical indications of homosexuality. DW
Perhaps it's because of the above three things at the beginning of this post that this resonates so strongly down under for us, even though it's 70 years+ since WW2 ended. My own father fought in WW2 against the fascism of the Nazi's so that I myself, his son on the other side of the world, would have the ability to live life in freedom. He was damaged from the war and wasn't a good father, I guess he paid the price for me. At times I wish he was still alive, albeit it'd be impossible at the age he died in the '90's. I'm sure he'd be happy for David and I, knowing he'd helped us be so. He fought in North Africa for a time before going to Europe. 

To have us called Nazis last year, when we gays suffered so badly under them, by the far right here in Australia just because we wanted the same human rights as them was horrible in the extreme. It would have been anathema to what Dad fought for in WW2. Whatever he may have thought about me, he'd have been happy that I was able to have the freedom of my life. However bad he was as a father, I'll never forget that gift.....

It was the lengths they went to last year in Australia trying to stop David and I marrying. What an obscenity. What an abusive twisting of history. And for what? To back up and throw their own bigotry at us. 

Recently I had an American comment online that what they saw coming out of the postal survey against us was the worst stuff they'd seen ever against gays. I replied that that meant a lot given how difficult it gets for gays in the US.

So the President of Germany went to this memorial and used the platform to apologise for all the above. In some weird way I consider that includes an apology for the way we were treated last year in Australia when they invoked Hitler against us. Getting a bit lost for words here but it makes sense to me.

The monument itself in Berlin has been around for some years. It has been playing a looping video for quite a few of those years, However it's changed at times.

The new looped film is to start showing on June 3 in the framework of an official ceremony with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to mark the memorial's 10th anniversary.

 The large grey concrete cuboid set up near the Holocaust Memorial in the heart of the German capital has a small square window on its front side, through which visitors can watch a short looped video that is swapped out every few years.

 The very first film showed men locked in a kiss. It was replaced in 2012 by a film that showed people's reaction to kissing gay or lesbian couples. Since 2014, the original film has been showing again. DW
This is the video that's been playing mostly throughout the years.

The legacy of  Bill Leak