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Second World War

Israel builds first monument to LGBTQ holocaust victims

Work is expected to start next month

A new triangular sculpture will be Israel’s first Holocaust memorial to gay men and women killed by the Nazis during World War II. The monument is expected to be erected in central Tel Aviv by early 2009, according to city councillor Itai Pinkas.

Mr Pinkas spearheaded the project after a recent trip to Am­ster­dam, where he was inspired by the pink marble Homo­monument designed by Karin Daan. Mr Pinkas brought in Ron Assouline, a producer and museum consultant with the Tel Aviv firm Filmind, to design the memorial, after reviewing a number of proposals. Mr Assouline’s proposal was simple and elegant, said Mr Pinkas. “We didn’t want anything extravagant,” he added.

Mr Assouline’s design consists of three iron panels, partially buried, to form a hollow triangle. The names of known gay victims of Nazi persecution will be inscribed inside the triangle in Hebrew, although the actual number of victims is assumed to be larger than the list. An English-language inscription on an outer panel will also pay tribute to gay victims of Nazi persecution. “I buried the triangle in the ground; it’s a [grave] of names,” Mr Assouline said. Lights buried beneath the pit will shine into the distance. “The lights also have a message,” Mr Assouline added.

The plans for the monument have been placed before the city’s legal, memorial and building committees, since getting approval from Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.

During World War II, around 100,000 gay men and lesbians in Germany were arrested and approximately 15,000 were sent to concentration camps. They were forced to wear a pink triangle badge to distinguish them from the yellow star the Jews were forced to wear.

• Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper with the headline "…while Israel builds first monument to gay victims"