Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg has been urged to ensure the inclusion of gay men and other persecuted minorities in Australia’s new Holocaust museums.
Last week, Frydenberg spoke at Hobart Synagogue to announce funding for one such museum in the Tasmanian city.
He spoke of the importance of remembering the horrors and atrocities of the Nazi regime.
“This is an example of what we can do, to ensure future generations say, ‘Never again’,” Frydenberg said.
“I remember growing up in Melbourne with my great aunt [who] survived Auschwitz and had a number on her arm.
“My wife’s grandmother lost both her parents and nine siblings. My wife’s grandfather lost his mother and eight siblings.
“The scale of the death and destruction must never, ever be forgotten.
“It can happen again.”
LGBTIQ advocate Rodney Croome has applauded the planned Holocaust museum in his home state and the ongoing remembrance of the Jewish victims.
“Our hope is that the museums will also present information about the other groups who were persecuted under Nazism,” he said.
“These include LGBTIQ people, people with disability, Roma, political prisoners, and various religious, racial, ethnic and language groups.
“Often the persecution of different groups intersected.”
After surviving the Holocaust, many gay men continued to suffer
Rodney Croome said the Nazi regime arrested as many as 100,000 gay men, with many then sent to concentration camps.
In the camps, the men accused of being gay were forced to wear a pink triangle badge for identification.
The Nazis also targeted some lesbian women, bisexuals and transgender people.
Writing for The Conversation, academic Mie Astrup Jensen said gay victims of the Holocaust receive little attention.
This is due to “limited research funding, the high death rate of gay men in the camps, and the stigma attached to homosexuality” even after the camps’ closure.
Under laws outlawing homosexuality, many gay Holocaust survivors were not only denied restitution payments but many ended up back in prison. Many survivors’ stories are lost.
Jewish Holocaust survivor Kitty Fisher lived in Sydney later in life. She credited her survival at Auschwitz to a man, imprisoned for homosexuality, who brought her and her sister food.
During the 1970s, the LGBTIQ rights movement adopted the pink triangle. During the AIDS crisis, activists flipped the symbol upside down and reclaimed it.
Today, the pink triangle is a powerful symbol of strength and remembrance for the LGBTIQ community.
In 2001, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial (pictured above) was installed in Darlinghurst, across the road from the Sydney Jewish Museum.
This month’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade featured a pink triangle-shaped stage in the centre of the Sydney Cricket Ground venue.
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