The German government just announced that it will pardon approximately 50,000 men convicted of having homosexual relations under the Nazi regime. The laws criminalizing homosexual acts were legal before the Nazi era, but were tightened under their rein. Many thousands were imprisoned and died in concentration camps under their rule. The discriminatory laws also remained in place until 1994, and although there were fewer cases between the end of the war and its repeal, there were still 14,000 cases from 1969 and 1994.
Men who are pardoned will also receive monetary compensation for their ordeal, but only around 5,000 are eligible because the remained are dead at this point. The UK passed a similar measure in January to pardon 65,000, but no compensation is involved.
This issue raises questions surrounding both the financial implications and the longterm effects of the Nazi regime. Although compensation is nice, it certainly does not make up for the lost time, lives, and freedoms these individuals suffered. At the same time, the state does not have many other options in terms of providing the victims with some sort of material or physical compensation. Personally, I think the sum offered is small, 3,000 Euros plus 1500 Euros for each year spent imprisoned. I imagine a few thousands Euros cannot truly alleviate the agony of the experience. In addition, the fact that this is such a recent measure shows how relevant and contemporary WWII and the Holocaust truly is, reminding the world of past mistakes in an effort to avoid future ones.