99 Year-old Gay Holocaust Survivor Denied Compensation

An 99 year-old man who was imprisoned in Germany for his homosexuality years after fleeing the Nazi regime has been denied compensation.

Wolfgang Lauinger

Wolfgang Lauinger was imprisoned for five months in 1950, due to a law in existence at the time in Germany which made sex between two men illegal, and which had been strictly enforced by the Nazi regime. Paragraph 175 was part of Germany’s criminal code until 1994 and over 140,000 men were convicted.

Mr Lauinger’s was forced to flee Germany during World War II after his Jewish father was send to Buchenwald concentration camp.


Wolfgang Laungier (right) in younger days

In July this year, the German government announced that it would compensate men who were imprisoned under Paragraph 175 and set aside €30 million.  However, Mr Lauinger was denied compensation under the scheme, and was not given a reason why.

According to Pink News, to date the German government has recieved 63 requests for compensation. 31 have so far been approved, and three, including Mr Lauinger, have been rejected.

“Is that justice?” the 99-year-old asked.

“For a long time in my life, I thought my homosexuality was my personal affair – just as the sexuality of every heterosexual is his personal matter.

“At a ripe age, I had to revise this view.

“Unfortunately, as long as people are persecuted for this most personal thing in the world, it is not a purely private matter.”

Justice Minister Heiko Maas responded to questions about Mr Laungier’s lack of compensation, saying: “It concerns me that the law can not be applied in this case.”

He refused to comment on whether a change could be made to the decision.

© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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