People attend a ceremony to inaugurate a memorial to thousands of gay Holocaust victims killed by the Nazi during the Second War at the Gan Meir (Meir Park) on January 10, 2014 in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
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Israel's cultural and financial capital unveiled a memorial Friday honoring gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis, the first specific recognition in Israel for non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.While Israel has scores of monuments for the genocide, the Tel Aviv memorial is the first that deals universally with Jewish and non-Jewish victims alike and highlights the Jewish state's rise as one of the world's most progressive countries for gay rights.Israel was born out of the Holocaust and its 6 million Jewish victims remains seared in the country's psyche."The significance here is that we are recognizing that there were other victims of the Holocaust, not just Jews," said Lev, who initiated the project during his brief term in office.As part of their persecution of gays, the Nazis kept files on 100,000 people, mostly men. Other Nazi targets included communists, Slavs, gypsies and Jehovah's Witnesses.Unlike their persecution of Jews, however, there was no grand Nazi plan to exterminate gays.
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