Compensation for those persecuted by homophobic law in Germany

Almost 250 people have been compensated for persecution under a homophobic law in Nazi-era Germany.

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The Paragraph 175 law refers to the criminalisation of homosexuality (specifically male homosexuality) and saw thousands of convictions of gay men in both East and West Germany, prompting compensation payouts to those affected.

The Federal Office of Justice has now paid out almost €860,000 to those who were prosecuted or investigated under the antiquated law.

As of August 31, 317 applications for this compensation were received, with 249 resulting in payouts. Of the 317 applications, 18 applications were rejected, 36 were withdrawn and 14 are still being processed.

This long-overdue compensation is an extension of a previous payout to those who were convicted and jailed, the process for which began in 1917 with the annulment of those convictions.

The compensation payment was €3,000 per conviction and a further €1,500 for every year started by those who faced jail time.

In 2019, this was extended to those who were put under investigation or taken into investigative custody without conviction, at a rate of €500 per investigation opened and €1,500 for each year of time started in pre-trial custody.

A further €1,500 was awarded as compensation for any disadvantages (professional, financial, etc.) faced as a result of Paragraph 175.

The compensation applies to those convicted in East Germany as well as West, where the archaic law was democratically retained, while communist East Germany saw a milder version of Paragraph 175.

The criminalisation of homosexuality saw the conviction of approximately 50,000 men in the twenty-year period between 1949 and 1969, with 68,300 people convicted in both states of Germany throughout the lifespan of the law.

In 1969 the law was, thankfully, abolished and homosexuality was decriminalised, but it was not until twenty-five years later that the legislation was entirely removed from the books in 1994.

The German parliament approved a resolution in 2000, regretting that Paragraph 175 was still enforced after the Second World War.

The application for this compensation remains open until July 21, 2022.

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