The first Israeli memorial in honour of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who were killed by the Nazis was unveiled on Friday in a Tel Aviv park.
The triangular concrete plaque proclaims in English, Hebrew and German: “In memory of those persecuted by the Nazis regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity”.
Its shape represents the pink triangles that the Nazis forced LGBT people to wear.
The memorial was the brainchild of openly gay former Tel Aviv councilman Eran Lev.
At the unveiling, Mayor Ron Huldai said: “In addition to the extermination of Europe’s Jews, the Nazis committed many atrocities in an attempt to destroy anyone who was considered ‘different’.
“This monument reminds us all how important it is for us to respect every human being. It is only natural that such a reminder will exist in Tel Aviv – a city that warmly embraces all groups and minorities.”
The ceremony was also attended by the German Ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis.
The exact number of people who were persecuted during the holocaust because of their sexual orientation is unknown, but some estimates suggest that about 54,000 homosexuals were arrested by Nazis with 7,000 to 10,000 killed in concentration camps.
There are other LGBT holocaust memorials in LGBT friendly cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney.
Tel Aviv has been dubbed “the gay capital of the Middle East” and is known for being gay friendly and for its annual Pride Parade and gay beach.
While Israel recognises same-sex marriages licensed in other countries, it does not allow same-sex couples to marry on Israeli soil.