Germany has so far compensated 249 homosexuals who were prosecuted or investigated under a contentious law that banned homosexuality for nearly a century. Some 860,000 euros have been paid to them, reports the Federal Office of Justice. Until July 21, next year, victims have time to apply for compensation.
The law said sexual contact between men is a criminal offence. The Nazis sharpened this law. This also allowed homosexuals to be convicted without sexual contact. The contested law was used until 1969. From then on, an age limit of 21 for male sexual contact was applied. Four years later, the age limit went to 19 years. It was not until 1994 that the whole paragraph was removed from the Code.
More than 50,000 men were convicted in the past under paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code. The law, which dates back to 1871, was used by the Nazi regime of the 1930s and 40s to imprison (presumed) gay men. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 men ended up in concentration camps. Most of them died there.
In 2017, the German government turned back thousands of convictions made under the law and announced that victims are entitled to compensation. EUR 3000 per conviction is paid and a further 1500 euros per year the men were trapped.
Two years later, the compensation scheme was extended. Now people who were investigated on the basis of the law paragraph or who were detained and ultimately not convicted have the right to compensation.