TEL AVIV — Israel’s cultural and financial capital has unveiled a memorial honoring gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.
Authorities in Tel Aviv unveiled the memorial Friday. It shows a pink triangle — the symbol gays were forced to wear in concentration camps. Writing on it in English, Hebrew and German reads: “In memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
City councilman and Meretz party member Eran Lev initiated the project, which received the blessing of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. The monument cost approximately NIS 150,000 ($42,000) to construct.
The landmark joins similar memorials in Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney dedicated to gay victims of the Holocaust. While Israel has scores of Holocaust monuments, the Tel Aviv memorial is the first that deals universally with Jewish and non-Jewish victims alike.
“This will be the first and only memorial site in Israel to mention the victims of the Nazis who were persecuted for anything other than being Jewish,” Lev told Haaretz. “As a cosmopolitan city and an international gay center, Tel Aviv will offer a memorial site that is universal in its essence. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a monument, but a place — a place of quiet that will invite visitors to sit, contemplate, reflect and be in solitude.”
Tel Aviv has a vibrant gay scene and is a top international destination for gay tourists.