1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German police probe homophobic attack on Berlin monument

August 15, 2023

The memorial to homosexuals persecuted under the Nazis was the target of an attempted arson attack, police say. The perpetrator also attached biblical quotes condemning homosexuality to the monument.

Cubic gray memorial with person looking in a window in one of its sides
The Nazis persecuted and killed thousands of people because of their sexual orientationImage: Markus C. Hurek/dpa/picture alliance

German police said on Tuesday they were investigating an incident in which an unknown person attacked a monument in the capital, Berlin, that is dedicated to the tens of thousands of homosexual people persecuted by the Nazis.

During the incident, which was observed by a security guard overnight to Saturday, the person attached slips of paper with Old Testament quotes condemning homosexuality to the monument.

The suspect, who fled the scene without being apprehended, also threw a burning object at the monument, but it failed to catch fire and suffered no damage.

What is the Memorial to Persecuted Homosexuals under National Socialism?

The memorial was unveiled in 2008 and is located at the edge of the famous Tiergarten park.

The concrete cube structure features a small window through which a film showing a romantic same-sex scene can be viewed.

This window was already the target of three apparently homophobic attacks within nine months of the unveiling of the monument, being smashed twice and badly scratched once.

Under the Nazi regime in Germany from 1933 to 1945, homosexual people were systematically repressed and persecuted, with some 50,000 being convicted on account of their sexuality.

Many thousands of them were deported to concentration camps and large numbers murdered there.

Further attack

Another Holocaust memorial in Berlin was also the target of an arson attack on the weekend.

An unknown man set fire to a former phone booth converted into a book box containing publications about the Nazi era that police said were almost entirely destroyed.

The book box is near the "Platform 17" memorial, which honors the Jews who were sent to their deaths from the Grünewald train station.

"We are shocked by the inflammatory energy of both acts and hope that the person responsible in both cases will be caught quickly," the Berlin-Brandenburg Lesbian and Gay Association said in a statement.

Police said they have not yet established whether the two attacks are related.

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing. 

tj/rt (AFP, dpa)