Wreath laid for GLBT community at Yad Vashem on Israel Holocaust Remembrance Day

May 05, 2006

JERUSALEM — On April 25, as part of Israel’s annual national Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, the traditional wreath-laying ceremony was held at Yad Vashem, at the foot of the Warsaw Ghetto rebellion monument. For the first time a wreath was presented, as part of the ceremony, by the Jerusalem Open House (JOH) in the name of the GLBT community.

The ceremony takes place annually on this national remembrance day and participants include the President of the State of Israel, the Prime Minister, Chairman of the Knesset, President of the Supreme Court, senior diplomats, Mayor of Jerusalem, public figures, representatives of organizations of Holocaust survivors, students and delegations from Israel and abroad. Yad Vashem is Israel’s national Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.

The JOH was represented at the ceremony by two of its active leaders, Board of Directors member Mr. Yitschak Shnoor, and Mr. Amir Sumaka’i-Fink. Fink said, “As a gay man and as the son of a family of holocaust survivors, I felt that I was closing a circle by participating in the ceremony in the name of the JOH, as a representative of the GLBT community.”

The Nazi regime did not stop at the murder of millions of Jews in the Holocaust. Among the other minorities that were pursued by the Nazis were homosexuals, who were systematically persecuted. Tens of thousands gay people were murdered from the middle of the 1930s until the end of the Second World War. The “legal” base for this persecution was “Paragraph 175” of the German legal code, which made homosexuality illegal.

About the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH)

The JOH is the largest GLBT organization in Israel. A grassroots organization for social change, it operates since 1997 for community empowerment, strengthening of democracy, and advancement of human rights. JOH leads an ongoing struggle for a Jerusalem in which all can live together in pride, peace, and equality. The JOH community center, located in the center of Jerusalem on the Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall, offers a variety of programming and services, which include a youth program, activism initiatives, support groups, Palestinian GLBT community programming, social and religious events, health projects, and more.

Since 2002, the JOH leads the annual Gay Pride events in Jerusalem, which have earned prominent international attention, and in which thousands participate under JOH’s “Love Without Borders” banner. At the 4th march, held on June 30, 2005 there were already nearly 10,000 marchers, making it the largest human rights demonstration in Jerusalem in recent years. In August 6-12, 2006, the JOH will host the Jerusalem WorldPride Events. These will be the 2nd WorldPride events, following the first held in Rome in 2000.

For more information: www.joh.org.il. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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