At 2 pm today (26 January 2012) the new film at the Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted under the National Socialist Regime was screened to the public for the first time. A large number of guests attended the screening at the Information Centre at the Holocaust Memorial. Prof. Dr Susanne Baer, judge at the Federal Constitutional Court, gave the keynote speech. Günter Dworek from the Federal Committee of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Germany opened the event. Dr Klaus Müller, who is a member of the jury that selected the film and European representative at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), gave an introduction to the film. After the artists Gerald Backhaus, Bernd Fischer and Ibrahim Gülnar had thanked those present, all guests went to the Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted under the National Socialist Regime, where a wreath was laid. Over 200 guests attended, along with a large number of members of the German parliament and of the Berlin Chamber of Deputies.
The Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted under the National Socialist Regime was inaugurated in Berlin on 27 May 2008. The impetus for the memorial came from the initiative »Remembering the Homosexual Victims of National Socialism« and the Gay and Lesbian Foundation in Germany. It was designed by the Danish-Norwegian artistic duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. The memorial shows a film that is periodically replaced by films by other artists.
Jury and competition
A seven-member jury consisting of one representative from each of the federal government, the Land Berlin and the initiators of the memorial, along with four independent experts, selected the film by Gerald Backhaus, Bernd Fischer and Ibrahim Gülnar.
The film in the artists’ words
»The black and white film, which is screened on a continuous loop, shows a sequence of five same-sex pairs kissing. The couples are of various ages, origins and backgrounds and are presented in different settings. As the shot of one kiss fades out the next is faded in so that the kisses overlap and the viewer can see the kiss moving from one couple to the next. The effect is achieved by using a dissolve at the moment that the lips of the couples meet – this is shot in close-up. The film returns to the beginning after about two minutes and starts again without a pause. Viewers can start watching the film at any point.«