Members of the LGBT community have taken part in official Holocaust memorial services in Israel for the first time.
While an estimated 5000 to 15 000 homosexuals were sent to the gas chambers during the Second World War by the Nazis – along with millions of Jews – gay men and woman, as a group, have traditionally been excluded from official Israeli events commemorating the Holocaust.
But this week, on Holocaust Remembrance day, two members of Jerusalem Open House were invited to place a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto rebellion monument at Yad Vashem.
The wreath was laid in the name of the LGBT community and in remembrance of the gays and lesbians that were persecuted and murdered during the war.
Amir Sumakai Fink and Yitschak Shnoor, the board members of Jerusalem Open House who placed the wreath, attended the memorial ceremony along with Israeli officials, including the President, Moshe Katsav, and the Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.
Jerusalem Open House is an activist organisation representing the interests of LGBT people in Israel.