Germany has decided to compensate more than 50 thousand men who were jailed for their sexual orientation under a historic law. The plans, which will see 30 million euros ($33.6 million) set aside to compensate homosexuals convicted under a historic law for their sexual preferences, up to the 1960s, were revealed by the German daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ) on Saturday.
Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democrats told the paper that compensation would “depend on concrete individual cases,” taking sentence duration into consideration.
A draft law, set to be formally announced this month, will provide for “relatively uncomplicated” individual claims, Maas said. It also allows for collective compensation. Convicted homosexuals would also have their names cleared. The minister told “SZ” that he expects more than five thousand men to have a personal claim.
The infamous Paragraph 175, which was part of Germany’s criminal code from 1871 to 1994, made homosexual acts between men a crime.
Over 140,000 men were convicted in total, with around 50,000 of them having been prosecuted since the end of World War II.
The anti-gay code was tightened during the Nazi era, which saw thousands of gay and bisexual men rounded up and taken to concentration camps. After the war, gay men were often arrested again. As well as being jailed, they often lost their jobs and homes and suffered social exclusion.