Let me explain: lots of people parrot the Nietzschean maxim that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger; Roman persecution, for instance, actually stoked the wildfire-growth of Christianity.
However, when you apply that same terrible irony to recent history and the groups that the Nazis tried to kill, well, people start to get uncomfortable: somehow it's not very politically correct.
But I've got to ask.
'In the long run,' I ask, 'do you think it was Nazi persecution that helped make Germany's gay movement as strong as it is today?'
|Berlin's monument to the homosexual victims |
of the Nazi regime
Karl-Heinz is speechless for a second, struggling to find the right words. 'I—I—I'm not a fan of arguing like that,' he says, gazing out the window.
'Because that gives all these activities a kind of shadow. It means that you're always reacting against something and you don't have your own ideas. If you want to live with all the rights that other people have, you should always fight for your rights.'
He mentions that this struggle is continually evolving.
'There is a new situation now, for example, with the children of immigrants who grew up with their religious thinking that does not fit in with our open thinking. And they would kick me out of this place if they could. So the forms of struggle and the aims will always change,' he concludes.
'There are always other questions and other conflicts.'
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