Opening of the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted by the Nazi Regime
On Monday, 5 June 2023 at 5 p.m., the new memorial to homosexuals persecuted by the Nazi regime entitled “ARCUS (Shadow of a Rainbow)”, backed by the National Fund, will be opened in Resselpark in Vienna’s 4th District.
- Martina Taig, Managing Director of Art in Public Spaces, Vienna (KÖR)
- Wolfgang Wilhelm, Head of the Vienna Anti-Discrimination Office for LGBTIQ Affairs (WASt)
- Hannes Sulzenbacher, Co-Director of the Centre for Queer History (QWIEN) & Jury Chairman
- Hannah M. Lessing, Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism
- Lea Halbwidl, Head of the 4th District of Vienna, Thomas Weber, Member of the Vienna City Council and Member of the Vienna Municipal Parliament
- Veronica Kaup-Hasler, City Councillor for Culture and Science
Musical accompaniment by Virginia Ernst.
The Long Road to Recognition
Homosexuals were not perceived or recognised as victims of the Nazi regime for a long time after 1945, especially in view of the fact that homosexuality remained criminalised in Austria until the minor criminal law reform in 1971. Discrimination regarding the age of consent was only abolished in 2002.
In 1995, the National Fund Law made it possible for people persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation to be recognised as victims for the first time. The grounds for persecution persecuted listed in the National Fund Law – political grounds, grounds of origin, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, the accusation of so-called social deviancy or other grounds on which people fell victim to typical Nazi injustice – express a broader definition of victimhood compared to earlier measures, enabling victim groups to be recognised whose victim status had previously been denied.
Official recognition of the injustices suffered was an important step, but for many it came too late: in practice, the possibility of receiving legal recognition as a Nazi victim was barely taken up by people who had been persecuted for their sexual orientation. The reasons for this lie not only in the fact that this option was created so late, but probably above all in the longstanding social stigmatisation. Nevertheless, the inclusion of this victim group by the National Fund Law has a strong symbolic meaning and sends a clear signal at a societal level. The Victim Welfare Act has also been amended accordingly.
The National Fund Logo in Rainbow Colours
For 28 years, the National Fund has stood for the recognition and remembrance of people persecuted due to their sexual orientation, which it supports by funding numerous projects. In this spirit, the National Fund is sending out a message of solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community this June by appearing on its website and social media channels in the colours of the rainbow.