Germany is set to overturn the convictions of 1000s of gay men who were prosecuted under historic laws.
Until 1994, homosexuality was not fully legalised and the convictions given were never lifted, as some 20 years later there are 1000s of gay men still have these convictions on their record.
Heiko Maas, the justice minister, announced the plans to overturn the convictions: “The historic convictions are wrong. They are deeply hurtful to human dignity. We can completely completely undo these outrages of the rule of law, but we want to rehabilitate the victims. Homosexual men who were convicted should no longer have to live with the stain of a criminal record.”
Between the period of 1946 and 1969, 50,000 men were convicted of homosexuality under laws that were toughened under Nazi reign and remained unchanged after the War. Before the law was repealed in 1994, there were a further 3,500 convictions between then and the partial legalistion in 1969.
The repealing of these convictions is in response to recommendations made in a report by the Anti-Discrimination Agency.
Christine Lüders, the head of the agency, said: ““More than 50,000 victims have been violated in the very heart of their human dignity by prosecution and conviction.”
She then went on to describe it as a “shameful special case in German legal history” and that it was time to heal the “open wound in the rule of law”.
Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Association urged the government to not delay, pushing for a repeal of the convictions while people are still alive to be rehabilitated.
They said: “Time is short to overturn these unjust convictions and restore the human dignity of the victims of the persecution of homosexuality.”
It is unlikely that the victims will see compensations, however, as the report recommended compensation in the form of funding for educational projects.