Sunday, May 6, 2012




On May 6th in 1933, the Nazis stormed and shut down the Institute for Sexual Science, the world's first gay studies institute, which had been founded by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin in 1919. Nazi Brown Shirts ransacked the institute and carted off books which were then torched in a bonfire at a Berlin university campus on May 10th.

The work of the institute had a reflection of the widespread gay liberation that prevaled in Germany after World War I. It was specifically targeted by Adolf Hitler as one of the foremost "degenerate depravities of the Weimar Republic" which the Fuehrer vowed to eradicate.

Dr. Hirschfeld had spent his career writing and lecturing around the world on the nature of homosexuality and other "intermediate" sexual types, including cross dressers. The word "transsexual" was coined by Dr. Hirschfeld to describe the phenomenon that he argued was a natural extension of human sexuality.

A plaster copy of the Villa Albani relief of Antinous-Vertumnus hung in the lobby of the Hirschfeld Institute in Berlin (above). Ironically, Vertumnus is the Roman God of the Changing Seasons and Changing Fortunes. Vertumnus has the ability to morph and change bad luck into good luck. The Ancient Etruscans believed Vertumnus was a shape-shifter who could change his form at will. He brought gifts and bounty to those who had the "eyes" to perceive him in his many guises. Vertumnus could appear to his followers in any guise, regardless of gender.

Hirschfeld's philosophy centered on the contention that there was a third sex, called the Uranian, which was neither male nor female, but a combination of both that was manifested in homosexuality, which was not to be considered an impure deviation, or even as an illness, but as a natural and phenomenal component of human nature.

For his work, the Nazis targeted Dr. Hirschfeld as an example of decadent Bolshevistic/Jewish influence infecting the purity of the German people, luring the Aryan race into impure and destructive perversity. He was ultimately driven into exile and burned in effigy as an emblem of evil. His institute was ransacked May 6th, 1933, and his books were confiscated. A bust of Hirschfeld was impaled on a pole and carried aloft to the bonfire on May 10th, 1933, where his irreplaceable scientific studies and books were burned.

In another ironic twist, homosexual members of Ernst Roehm's SA Stormtroopers hurled these books to the flames in 1933 — and would themselves face persecution and death when Hitler turned against Roehm only a scant year later during the "Night of Long Knives" in June 1934 when Hitler decided that Roehm had become a liability.

The storming of the Institute for Sexual Science was the first step in the persecution of homosexuals, who were later sentenced to labor in the concentration camps, the extreme cruelty of which usually resulted in death.

The symbol of the Pink Triangle, the homosexual form of the yellow star of the Jews, was born after the fall of the forward-thinking Institute. It is the symbol of our repression, just as the rainbow flag is the symbol of our freedom. The storming of the Institute was the beginning of the dark ages which were to last until the riot at the Stonewall in 1969.

1 comment:

  1. ...and so Gay men were the first in concentration camps since they violated the statute against homosexuality, and they were the last to be liberated since theirs was a "civil" crime, not a crime against humanity.