Nick Clegg calls for gay victims of Nazi genocide to be recognised on Holocaust Memorial Day

The Deputy Prime Minister is the first senior politician to join campaign to remember LGBT victims

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Nick Clegg has said "we must never forget" the many gay people murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Speaking to Pink News on Holocaust Memorial Day, the Liberal Democrat leader said: "Today we remember the millions of innocent people who lost their lives in the Holocaust, one of the worst genocides known to man. Their crimes, nothing more than the way they were born.

"As we pay tribute to them, we must never forget the tens of thousands of gay people who were so brutally persecuted and executed at the hands of the Nazis, simply because of their sexuality."

He added: "Any memorial remembering the Holocaust should recognise the persecution of non-Jewish victims whilst maintaining the centrality of the six million murdered Jews."

Historians estimate that 11 million people were killed in the Holocaust, carried out by the Nazi regime in Europe. Jewish people, gypsies, priests, disabled people, communists, ethnic groups including Poles, trade unionists and gay, lesbian and transgender people were among the groups marked for extermination.

 

Gay men and women were forced to deny their sexuality. It's thought that around 100,000 were arrested and up to 15,000 were sent to concentration camps. It's thought that hundreds of gay men were chemically castrated.

Clegg added that the pink badge gay people were forced to wear now stood for "freedom and pride".

 "The symbol of the pink triangle, once intended as a badge of shame, today stands as an international symbol of freedom and pride," he said. "From the dark shadow of history rises a neon emblem of diversity and hope."