Lesbians, gays visit Auschwitz, march in Krakow

May 10, 2004

Police arrest a protester against a march of gays and lesbians in Krakow May 2004
Photo - AFP
WARSAW — Some 40 gays and lesbians from across Europe laid flowers in front of the notorious "death bloc" at the former Nazi German Auschwitz death camp Friday, as part of the ongoing Days of Gay and Lesbian Culture for Tolerance in Poland, reports said.

"We want our visit to remind people that homosexuals also perished in concentration camps," Samuel Nowak of the Krakow-based Campaign Against Homophobia said, quoted by Poland's PAP news agency.

The group also carried rainbow coloured flags, the internationally recognized symbol of the homosexual rights movement.

Twelve German homosexual men are on record as having been killed in Auschwitz while records also show that at least 48 of it's prisoners were homosexual.

Homosexuals were forced by the Nazis to wear pink triangles, much in the same way as Jews were made to wear arm-bands with the Star of David.

Upwards of 1.1 million people, mostly European Jews, perished in Auschwitz, the most notorious of Nazi Germany's death camps. Poles, Roma and Soviet soldiers were among the other victims.

Gays and Lesbians also marched through the nearby southern Polish city of Krakow later Friday calling for the legalisation of homosexual partnerships and respect for other rights for homosexuals, Poland's TVN24 news channel reported.

A bill aimed according legal status to homosexual partnerships similar but not identical to heterosexual marriages is expected to be reviewed by the Polish parliament.

Members of far-right groups, among them the "All-Poland Youth", ultra-nationalist sympathizers and what appeared to be unruly football supporters opposed to the march distributed leaflets calling for homosexuals to be "kicked out" of Krakow. – Sapa-DPA

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"Love is one" say Polish gays [16/02/2004]



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