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Report: Elmgreen & Dragset’s Berlin Monument to Gay Victims of Nazi Persecution Vandalized

Elmgreen & Dragset, Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism, 2008. Flowers were laid at the memorial on April 28, 2017, when the German justice minister paid tribute to those persecuted for homosexuality during World War II.

FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

A public artwork by Elmgreen & Dragset in Berlin’s Tiergarten neighborhood has been vandalized, according to the German publication Monopol.

The Monopol report said that the monument, which resembles a cuboidal concrete block with a small window carved into it, had been vandalized using black paint. Because the defacement was suspected to be politically motivated, Berlin authorities have reportedly begun investigating the matter.

Elmgreen & Dragset could not immediately be reached for comment.

The duo was first commissioned to do the memorial in 2003. Located near Berlin’s Holocaust Museum, the sculpture is dedicated to homosexuals who were persecuted by the Nazis during the World War II, when men could be arrested for even so much as kissing each other in public. Inside the memorial, a short looped video typically plays; the video is switched out every few years, with Yael Bartana having been the latest artist to have placed a work in the memorial.

This marks the second time the work, titled Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism, has been defaced since it was unveiled by the duo in 2008. A few months after the work was first erected, viewers ripped down fencing and smashed the sculpture’s window. “Obviously many people still have homophobic tendencies,” Frank Henkel, a German politician, told Reuters at the time.

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