The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is outraged at the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that took the lives of five people, injured 19 others, and has reverberated across the LGBTQ community and beyond. The Museum expresses its condolences to the many families and friends who lost loved ones in this horrific act. Prosecutors are pursuing hate crime charges as the suspect’s motives are still being investigated. This tragic event occurs in a climate of increased group-targeted violence.
While the US is vastly different than Nazi Germany, history offers important lessons about group-targeted violence. During the Holocaust, hate started with the Jews, but did not end with the Jews. Jews were the primary targets of the Nazis, but other groups were also persecuted, including gay men. Beginning in 1933, the Nazi regime harassed and dismantled Germany’s gay communities. They arrested large numbers of gay men under Paragraph 175, the statute of the German criminal code that banned sexual relations between men. Some 50,000 were sent to prison and between 5,000 and 15,000 were incarcerated in concentration camps where many died.
A nonpartisan, federal educational institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust dedicated to ensuring the permanence of Holocaust memory, understanding, and relevance. Through the power of Holocaust history, the Museum challenges leaders and individuals worldwide to think critically about their role in society and to confront antisemitism and other forms of hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.
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