London, May 28 : A controversial monument honouring the many thousands of homosexual men and women persecuted and killed by the Nazis was unveiled in Berlin on Monday.
The stark, box-like construction is just across the road from the sprawling Holocaust memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe and only a short walk away from the buried remnants of Adolf Hitler's concrete bunker.
Designed by the Danish-Norwegian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, the monument is about four metres (13 feet) tall. One side has a small window through which viewers can see a 90-minute black and white film of two men kissing.
The film was the first cause of conflict in the ten years of argument that preceded the opening of the gay cube. Lesbian activists complained that they had been excluded because the film showed only men. Now, it has been decided to replace the film footage in two years and show women kissing.
Germany's Culture Minister Bernd Neumann represented the Government at the opening ceremony.
According to Stefan Maiwald, the author of a book about sexual manipulation in the Third Reich, some 10,000 gays lost their lives in the concentration camps. Other estimates suggest about 54,000 homosexuals were arrested by the Nazis and 7,000 were killed in the camps.