Virtual program commemorates LGBTQ victims on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Nazi persecution of gay people continued well after World War II
By , KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Thursday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by the Soviet army.

The day was established by the U.N. General Assembly in 2005. About 40 countries commemorate this date in January, with the goal of remembering all of the victims to prevent further genocide and support Holocaust education.

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Eszter Kutas, executive director of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, said commemorative days such as this one are particularly crucial in a global environment that has seen an increase in antisemitic incidents.

“We see that manifest in all sorts of antisemitic incidents, from hateful speech to murderous acts to our most recent episode of hostage-taking,” she said.

Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, but Kutas points out there were many other lesser-known victims, including the Roma-Sinti people and members of the LGBTQ community. Those groups did not get restitution and compensation for a long time after the war for the crimes committed against them.

“And that was because their discrimination through legislation continued after the war,” she explained.

To commemorate those victims, a virtual discussion, called “Count Their Names: The Nazi Persecution of LGBTQ People,” will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. over Zoom.

Photo credit Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation

Sophie Don, senior manager of programs and operations, admits even she didn’t know much about this post-war persecution.

"The Nazis arrested 100,000 men under the nation’s anti-gay law, Act 175, between 1933 and 1945,” she said. “But then West Germany actually arrested the same number of men with that same law after the war, between 1949 and 1969.”

Anyone interested in attending the program is asked to register online.

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