‘The Holocaust teaches us what can happen when state-sponsored, group-targeted violence is allowed to go unchecked’
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum says it is ‘deeply concerned’ over reports that gay men are being targeted for arrest, torture, and, in some cases, murder in Chechnya.
‘The Holocaust teaches us what can happen when state-sponsored, group-targeted violence is allowed to go unchecked,’ Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield said in a statement Friday (28 April).
‘The reports about the targeting of LGBT persons in Chechnya combined with statements from Chechen officials seemingly endorsing violence are cause for great concern.
‘Both the Chechen and Russian governments need to investigate these allegations and ensure the safety of LGBT populations within the Russian Federation.’
The museum fears a grim history could repeat itself. They point out that Nazis persecuted homosexuals as part of their so-called moral crusade to racially and culturally purify Germany.
An estimated 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s law against homosexuality between 1933 and 1945.
Approximately 50,000 of those men were sentenced to prison and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 were sent to concentration camps on similar charges, where an unknown number of them perished.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has been reported to have said he wants to eliminate all gay men from the autonomous Russian region by the ‘start of Ramadan’ – or 26 May.
It is alleged that at least 300 people have been detained and tortured in the crackdown and at least four have been killed.
They are imprisoned in two former military jails in the Chechen villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt. Four more concentration camps have also been discovered.
The men face physical beatings, starvation and shocks in homemade electric chairs and are forced to promise to never return to Chechnya or be killed.