Gay men branded criminals by Nazis are now officially pardoned

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More than 50,000 men were sentenced between 1945 and 1994 under the so-called Paragraph 175. And only yesterday (March 22), the German Government issued the law according to which all these people are officially cleared of all charges, whether they are dead or alive. Victims of the law, which was tightened under the Nazi regime, will also receive financial compensation. The German government is set to pay each of the men sentenced to prison €3,000, as well as an extra €1,500 for each started year of their sentence. In comparison to the similar law in UK, German gay men and their families will not have to apply for pardoning. Under the Nazi law, men could be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. They were also often sent to concentration camps. After World War II paragraph 175 was kept in both East and West Germany. Especially in the West, former Nazis still served as judges, leading to a further persecution of gay men. It was also extended by introducing paragraph 175a, which dealt with male rape, same-sex activity with a man under 21, taking advantage of a dependent relationship – for example boss and employee or teacher and student – and male prostitution.

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