The Holocaust Memorial, unsurprisingly, was not built without controversy. Largely in its name. Technically, it is called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, though many find that inappropriate as so many other groups were targeted and persecuted. It seems to be more colloquially referred to as the Holocaust Memorial, even being called that on many maps. However, many other memorials have been built around town to recognise other groups.
One of the nearest ones is the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism. This is one of the more controversial ones, given they weren’t even formally recognised as a persecuted group until the 1980s. I was quite shocked to learn it was so late.
To be honest I’m not sure that I agree with the “solution” to the controversy of dividing up the victims in to groups, given that all of the terrible events of the holocaust were as a result of targetting individuals by lumping them in to groups and making assumptions about them. Some argue that certain groups (i.e. the Jews) had it worse than others so you can’t put them on the same level. But I would have thought that the big lesson we should have learned is to focus on equality.
As it turns out, we had one of those dodgy, oversimplified maps (serves us for not shelling out to pay for one) and when I thought I was looking at the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism, it was actually some other monument, and I have only just discovered as I do my usual fact check to make sure I’m not writing lies, that I was looking at the wrong thing! So no photos for this post unfortunately.
Still though, in my opinion the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism was the one that best sums up what I see as one of the largest ongoing problems: it is rare to come across someone who hasn’t acknowledged that anti-semitism is awful and what happened to the Jews was absolutely horrific. Holocaust deniers are few and far between, yet whilst people (largely) seem to agree on that front, there are so many who can’t seem to translate that same realisation to all races or groups. The same people who will tell you how awful it all was that the Jews were persecuted for no reason, will turn around and say “that’s so gay” or “no homo” or any of those kind of phrases that have become horrifically normal. The same applies to many other races and groups, not just homosexuals.
In my mind, that is a huge case of cognitive dissonance. But maybe I am really naiive about how many people have accepted that discrimination and persecution are wrong.