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People with a History: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* History Sourcebook

Section IV Europe Since World War I

Editor: Paul Halsall


Section IV: Europe Since World War I

Go to the following pages for other parts of People with a History

Chapter 12: The German Gay Rights Movement



  • Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935): Berlins Drittes Geschlecht (Berlin's Third Gender) 1905, in German [At Faded Page] [Internet Archive version here]
  • Sigmund Freud: Letter to a Mother [At this Site]
    Although the psychoanalytic movement in the US became a major victimizer of homosexuals [through its dedication to the notion of ego-normality], Freud himself, as in this letter to the mother of a homosexual, was much more approving.
  • Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986): Christopher and his kind, 1929-1939 (1977) [Internet Archive borrow facility]
    Autobiographical account of Isherwood's time in Berlin in the 1930s.


  • WEB Magnus Hirschfeld Exhibit [Was at Compuserve, now Internet Archive]
  • WEB Institute for Sexual Science (1919-1933) Online-Exhibition by the Magnus-Hirschfeld Society [Internet Archive backup here]
  • WEB Schwules Museum Berlin/Akademie der Künste [The Gay Museum/The Academy of Arts]: Goodbye to Berlin? HUNDERT JAHRE SCHWULENBEWEGUNG - 100 YEARS OF GAY LIBERATION - CENTENAIRE DU MOUVEMENT GAI [Was ADK, now Internet Archive]
    An exhibition celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the TheWissenschaftliche-humanitäre Komitee (Scientific Humanitarian Committee) in May 1897 in Berlin. There are English and German versions of the site.

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Chapter 13: The Nazis and the Gays

At one time it was fashionable to claim that the Nazis accepted homosexuality. Partly this was a way to slur the Nazis [as if they need slurring], and partly a reflection of the suppressed homoeroticism of Nazi visual expression. What was overlooked until the 1970s, and the publication of a series of articles by James Steakley in the Toronto Body Politic (quite possibly the best bi-weekly ever produced by the modern gay community), was that the Nazis had directed laws, prisons, and the full panoply of the state against homosexuals; had deliberately destroyed the sex research institute set up by Magnus Hirschfeld; and added homosexuals to the list of those to be eliminated. In other words the world managed to "forget" the holocaust of homosexuals.

In recent years this forgetting has been overcome. Thanks to the efforts of Steakley, Richard Plant and Burchhard Jellonek, as well as the publication by Hans Heger [pseud.] of his memoirs, and the play Bent by Martin Shaw, the suffering of gays under the Third Reich has become well known. Now the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC makes sure to explicate the issues involved.

The total number of gays killed seems to have been about 15,000 [figures from Jellonek], mostly by being worked to death. Gays were not sent as gays to extermination camps. This is massively smaller than the devastation visited on Jewish, Gypsy and Serbian populations. But documenting the Nazi attacks on homosexuals is not part of a "catch-up" game with Jews, or other groups. It is rather an exposing of the possible effects of dehumanizing any group.

Recently some members of the American Religious Right [a diverse group that should no more be demonized than any other], have taken to denying the gay holocaust, and in fact asserting that the Nazi part was essentially homosexual. This is nonsense, and not one serious historian countenances the charge. Nevertheless the book - The Pink Swastika - which makes this charge has been subjected to a line by line refutation, available via here.


  • James Steakley: Homosexuals and the Third Reich The Body Politic 11, January/February 1974 [At this Site]
    This was the first important article to discuss the Nazi attack on gays.
  • Christine Mueller: Refutation of Radical Right claims Connecting Gays and Nazis 1994 [Was at LGB Handbook, now Internet Archive]
  • Night of the Long Knives June 30, 1934, [At HistoryPlace] [Internet Archive version here]
    An account of Hitler's attack ond, and removal of Roehm, the SA leader who was homosexual. See also the Table of Contents and homophobic introduction to the book The Pink Swastika discussed by Professor Mueller.[Was at LGB Handbook, now Internet Archive]
  • Scott Lively/Kevin Abrams: The Pink Swastika [Was At Abiding Truth, now Internet Archive]
  • Citizens Allied for Civic Action (CAFCA): The Annotated Pink Swastika [At QRD] [Internet Archive version here]
    Extensive point by point refutation of the Lively/Abrams book. The effort is worthwhile, but it should be noted that no serious historian takes the Lively/Abrams book seriously as anything other than evidence about the modern American far right [a phenomenon of serious historical interest.]
  • Eugene Narrett: The Hidden History of Nazism, from The Wanderer, August 8, 1996 [Was At the Wanderer, now Internet Archive]
    An example of the way the Lively/Abrams book is popularized by the Radical Religious right. This is from the extreme rightwing Catholic paper The Wanderer, owned by Paul Weyrich. It describes the deaths by working to death of circa 6000 gay men, and then seeks to account for the Nazi's "leniency" by arguing that leading Nazis were gay.
  • Rictor Norton: One Day They Were Simply Gone" The Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals [At Rictor Norton's website] [Internet Archive version here]
  • Barbara Warnock: Persecution of gay people in Nazi Germany [At Wiener Holocaust Library] [Internet Archive version here]
  • Anna Hájková: Queer History and the Holocaust 2019 [At IHR] [Internet Archive version here]
    A possibly misguided effort to apply modern "queer theory" to Holocaust history by a historian whose language has proved offensive to some, including gay men. [See Guardian news report].
  • Anna Hájková: An Escape from Nazi Vienna: Heinrich Schrefel and Queer Holocaust history 2022 [At Notches blog] [Internet Archive version here]
    An account of  Heinrich Schrefel, an Austrian Jew who was persecuted by the Nazis for his homosexuality in 1938, after which he escaped to Britain.
  • Nathan Andrew Wilson: The Holocaust in Gay German and American Life. MA Thesis, Dalhouse University (2006) [PDF] [At GC] [Internet Archive version here]



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Chapter 14: Post-WW I Europe to 1990

Discussions: Entire Period

Discussions: InterWar Years

Discussions: Entire Period since WWII

Discussions: 1950s

  • WEB Alan Hodges: Alan Turing: The Enigma [At] [Internet Archive version here] [An a link to an much older version here]
    Maintained by Andrew Hodges, who wrote the important biography of Turing, The Enigma of the Intelligence. The site contains texts, plus scans and transcripts of original documents.
  • Wikipedia: Wolfenden Report 1957

Discussions: 1960s

Discussions: Gay Rights Movement

Discussions: Gay Rights Movement Since Origins

Discussions: 1970s

Discussions: 1980s

  • Hart Murphy: Foucault's Virtual Passion 1994 [Was At C Theory, now Internet Archive]
    Review of James Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. Pb: Anchor Doubleday, 1994.

Discussions: 1990s


Texts: Literary


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Chapter 15: The Lesbian and Gay Movement in Europe



  • Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto (London, 1971, as revised 1979) [At this Site]
    Classic example of Gay Liberationist analysis. Parts of it still read as provocative, other parts seem dated - for instance its attack on "butch/femme" culture!
  • The Alsop Review: Background Information on the Love That Dares to Speak Its Name [Was At, now Internet Archive]
    This page contains British press reports of the closing down of the LGCM website, and some obituaries of Denis Lemon, the editor of Gay News and chief defendant. It also links to the poem and to a picture of Kirkup.


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Chapter 16: Europe: Current Politics and Strategies




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People with a History: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* History Sourcebook is part of the Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Date of inception was 1997. People with a History is a www site presenting history relevant to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people, through primary sources, secondary discussions, and images. Links to files at other site are indicated by [At some indication of the site name or location]. WEB  indicates a link to one of small number of high quality web sites which provide either more texts or an especially valuable overview.

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 3 May 2024 [CV]