On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the President of the Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, called for commemoration of the people who were persecuted and murdered during the Nazi era because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. “Anyone who did not conform to National Socialist norms lived in fear and distrust,” said the SPD politician at a memorial service in the Bundestag on Friday. “The hardest hit were the many thousands of women and men who were deported to concentration camps because of their sexuality – sometimes under pretexts.”

Many of these people were exposed to omnipresent violence without protection. “Many were misused for medical experiments,” said Bas. “Most died after a short time or were murdered.” It is the task of every generation to deal anew with the crimes of history and to tell the story of all those who were persecuted. Sexual minorities had waited in vain for a long time to be recognized as victims of the National Socialists.

Also with a view to today, Bas warned to take a closer look at discrimination against queer people. “Queer-hostile crimes are increasing,” said the SPD politician. “Gay, lesbian and trans people are insulted, harassed and attacked.”

January 27 has been a day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism in Germany since 1996. It is the anniversary of the liberation of the survivors of the German death camp Auschwitz in 1945 by soldiers of the Red Army.