Auschwitz Memorial Museum Receives ILGCN Homo AwardA-5-00-02-U-14-Orfeo-Press (E)  

Auschwitz Memorial Museum
Receives ILGCN Homo Award

From the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network - Nordic

PRESS RELEASE - February 8, 2000

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."

The 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.

"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 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.

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 men.

Colin de la Motte-Sherman

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