Germany has just offered compensation and recognition to over 50,000 gay men who were convicted and persecuted over the course of the last century.

While 50,000 men were charged with the “crime”, only 5,000 are still living. In addition to their criminal records under article 175 of the penal code being wiped clear, however, the victims will be offered $3,300 in compensation, as well as an additional $1,600 for every year that they spent in prison.

The measure, which was approved by the German Parliament on Thursday, was celebrated by lobbyists who have spent years pushing for the act of justice.

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While it first came into effect in 1871, Paragraph 175 only became strictly enforced by the Nazis in WWII. The sentence for “engaging in sexual acts contrary to nature” resulted in 10 years of hard labor, although there was no legislation addressing gay women. The article was only repealed in East Germany in 1968, while West Germany also dropped the legislation in 1994.

The German Parliament reportedly overturned the sentences of the men convicted during the war in 2002, but they failed to forgive the convictions that followed – until now.

“More than two decades after article 175 was finally wiped from the books, this stain on democratic Germany’s legal history has been removed,” said Sebastian Bickerich of the government’s anti-discrimination office in a statement.

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