An investigation has been opened after arsonists targeted Holocaust memorials in Germany – one of which was dedicated to LGBTQ+ victims.
Police in Berlin said on Tuesday (15 August) that the monuments were attacked by unknown vandals who later attached quotes from the Old Testament, condemning homosexuality, to the vandalised areas.
The LGBTQ+ memorial, created in 2008 at the edge of Tiergarten Park, in Berlin, is dedicated to the systematic persecution of queer men and women from 1933 to 1945.
It is a concrete cube with a small window built in, through which footage of two men kissing can be viewed.
The vandals were reportedly spotted throwing burning objects at the memorial, by a security guard on Saturday (12 August). There was no permanent damage.
The suspect fled the scene without being apprehended, reports confirm.
On the same day, the Platform 17 memorial in Grunewald railway station was set ablaze after a man allegedly set a box that served as a free book exchange on fire.
Almost all the books were destroyed before firefighters extinguished the flames, officials reported. A majority of them were about Jewish life in Berlin during the Nazi regime, as well as about the persecution of other marginalised groups.
Grunewald station served as the main deportation point for more than 50,000 Jewish men, women and children – on 186 trains – most of whom who were later murdered in death camps in occupied Poland.
In total, the Nazis murdered more than six million Jewish people, as well as hundreds of thousands of members of other marginalised groups, including Roma and Sinti (who the Nazis referred to as gypsies), Slavs, Black, disabled, and queer people.
About 15,000 gay men were sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust, while large numbers of bisexual and transgender people – and to a lesser extent lesbians, as they were not specifically seen as criminals, or as easy to spot – were similarly detained and tortured.
In a statement, the Berlin-Brandenburg Lesbian and Gay Association said: “We are shocked by the inflammatory energy of both acts and hope that the person responsible in both cases will be caught quickly.”