With nearly 10% of the local Cologne residents identifying as gay or lesbian (according to Cologne’s official gay travel information), the city has quickly become one of my favorite German cities. Maybe it’s the upbeat attitude of the local residents in Cologne. Maybe it’s the innate friendliness that seems to define the city. Or maybe it’s the fact that people will actually start conversations with strangers on the street. This open-minded attitude and friendly atmosphere makes Cologne a friendly and fun place to visit — and it’s why I’ve been back twice in the past six months!
When researching gay things to do in Cologne, Germany, one of the things I kept coming across was a memorial for gay and lesbian victims of Nazism (National Socialism as the Germans say). The memorial was inaugurated in 1995, well before the more popular one in Berlin, but still later than a similar memorial in Frankfurt. The memorial’s official name is the Rosa Winkel Mahnmal and it’s conveniently located along the Rhine River within walking distance to Cologne’s most important tourist attractions. With the Museum Ludwig and the Cologne Cathedral in the distance, it’s a rather photogenic spot as well.
The memorial is also located near the steps up to the Hohenzollern Bridge — where thousands (millions?!) of love locks have been left by locals & tourists from around the world. This same area was once a meeting place for gay & queer Cologne residents when being gay wasn’t quite as open. That’s in line with the same Holocaust memorial in Berlin located in Tiergarten park — a once-popular meeting ground for gays.
The monument is reminiscent of the pink triangle which was used by the Nazis to identify gays in the concentration camps.
More information on the official website: rosa-winkel-mahnmal.de
Memorial for Gay and Lesbian Victims of Nazism
Excellent! I had no idea that memorials for gay victims existed! Thank you…again! We will be traveling thru Europe in a couple weeks, so now I have a base for some research on these memorials.
In Germany I know of the ones at least in Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt. Amsterdam also has one called the Homomonument.
We didn’t know that, Adam. Thanks for letting us know. Cologne seems to be pretty gay-friendly, although probably not as much as Gran Canaria.
Cologne is Germany’s most gay-friendly city. Or so they like to say. I still think Berlin can give it a run for it’s money. Gran Canaria is a place I’d definitely like to visit one of these days!
I’d been meaning to mention this to you, but my bad, I forgot. However, I’m glad you found this, Adam, and doubly glad you wrote about this, too!
Thanks Henry! I still haven’t seen the one in Frankfurt yet but hope to get there soon…
During a chorus tour to Germany in 1991, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp outside Berlin which was the camp where most gay men and lesbians were interred. At the end of the visit which included songs and speeches at the site of the crematorium, we presented an inscribed brass plaque with a text honoring “the homosexual victims of national socialism.” The Sachsenhousen representative promised that this plaque would be mounted on the wall near the entrance of the camp. Since our chorus moved on to Prague the next day, I have always wondered if our plaque was ever hung. Has anyone ever seen the plaque with the chorus name at the bottom there?
Wow….thanks for the post. That is an interesting piece of history that I was unaware of.