tockholm/Oswiecim -- The memorial museum at this Polish town -
at the gate of the Nazi concentration camp infamous for the extermination
of well over one million people -- has been awarded the International
Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network's special annual award for those
honouring gays and lesbians who perished in the holocaust.
"We are very happy that the state museum of
Auschwitz-Birkenau in Osweicim has been granted this human rights
award, the Orfeo Iris - 2000," says museum director, M. A.
Jerzy Wröblewski. "We thank you very much."
Orfeus Iris Award being presented to the Vice-director of
Auschwitz Memorial Site
This year's award winner was announced in the Swedish capital at
the late-January "Gays in the Holocaust" homo cultural
seminars and memorial concert arranged by the ILGCN, the Nordic
homo cultural organization, Tupilak, and Sweden's Homosexual Socialists
on the sidelines of the Swedish government's International Holocaust
Forum. The award pays tribute to the gays and lesbians who have
died in Nazi camps as well salutes the Polish museum's display of
the pink triangle on the uniforms of gay prisoners and provision
of information about homosexuals in the camps.
The first Orfeo Iris was awarded last
year, on the sidelines of the Berlin international film festival,
to the gay activists who have arranged homo-cultural programs at the
concentration camp museum in Sachsenhausen - known for the large number
of gay prisoners murdered there.
"We hope to hand over the prize diploma and
the sculpture work, created by gay Danish artist, Lars Denys,
at a ceremony in Auschwitz during the 3rd
World Conference on Lesbian and Gay Culture -- to be held
in Warsaw and Krakow this July 9-16," says Bill Schiller
of the ILGCN-Sweden.
"We will invite members of the Swedish government, which
has shown a great commitment to Holocaust information work, to
join us in this ceremony - as well as members of the Swedish parliament
who joined us for our own holocaust seminars," Schiller adds.
"We hope that even more Nazi concentration
camps and especially downtown city squares -- even in Scandinavia
-- make room for other sculpture work as a tribute to the homosexuals,
Romany, prisoners of war, dissidents, the disabled and other long-neglected
victims of the Hidden Holocaust," Schiller concludes.
"Such visible cultural monuments can
also help focus the world's attention on the fact that gays are
still being murdered by neo nazis today .... and that homosexuals
are still being imprisoned and executed by intolerant regimes
-- a half-century after the liberation of Auschwitz."
The prize is named after the rainbow of the gay community and
the ancient Greek god -- who descended into the underworld where
he played music to calm the beasts and demons. One legend says when
Orfeo returned to the surface of the earth, he turned his love to
Colin de la Motte-Sherman