German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday asked forgiveness for the suffering inflicted on homosexual men by the German state not only under Nazi rule but also in the years after 1945.
Speaking at a ceremony in Berlin to mark the 10th anniversary of a monument to commemorate homosexuals who were persecuted by the Nazis, Steinmeier said mistreatment of gays had continued after the war in both East and West Germany.
"The German state has inflicted heavy suffering on all these people, particularly under the Nazis, but also after that, in East Germany and also under the Basic Law," the Federal Republic's constitution, Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier said that the commemoration was for "the many tens of thousands of people whose private spheres, lives, love and dignity were infringed upon, denied and violated." He evoked the more than 50,000 men persecuted by the Nazis, who were "tortured, sent to prisons and to concentration camps."
But he said the time after 1945 also had to count when remembering the persecution of homosexuals.
"For this reason, I am asking for forgiveness today — for all the suffering and injustice and for the long silence that followed," he said. He noted that homosexuals had continued to be punished under the same rigorous application of Paragraph 175 instigated by the Nazis for more than 20 years after the Nazi era had ended. Read more via DW