Queer Identities In Germany 1880-1945

Queer Identities In Germany 1880-1945
‘Queer Identities and Politics in Germany’ offers a fascinating insight into what it meant to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender in Germany between 1880-1945.

‘Queer Identities and Politics in Germany: A History, 1880-1945’ by Clayton Whisnant recounts the emergence of various ‘queer identities’ in Germany and the political strategies pursued by early gay and lesbian activists.

Drawing on recent English and German-language research, Whisnant enriches the debate over whether science contributed to social progress or persecution during this period. He also offers new information on the Nazis’ preoccupation with homosexuality.


READ – Matthew Mitcham: Twists and Turns


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TOP: The Eldorado Club, Berlin, 1932 BOTTOM: The Eldorado Club, Berlin, 1933, after being shut down by the Nazi party and covered with propaganda posters

Germany in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed key developments in LGBT history, including the growth of the world’s first homosexual organisations and gay and lesbian magazines, as well as an influential community of German sexologists and psychoanalysts. Queer Identities and Politics in Germany describes these events in detail, from vibrant gay social scenes to the Nazi persecution that sent many LGBT people to concentration camps.


“Cogent, well-researched and readable. Useful as a reader in a first year undergraduate course in the history of sexuality or alternatively as a reference work for a course on the Racial State or the Holocaust. This book is certainly also of interest to LGBTQ community groups and LGBTQ Resource Centers.”
Jennifer Evans, author of ‘Queer Cities, Queer Culture: Europe Since 1945’

“This is an outstanding survey book in all respects: intelligible to a wider readership while still pursuing an intellectual ambition, knowledgeable and precise, including stories and telling details while also offering interpretative food for thought and never losing the red thread. Different aspects and layers of queer history in Germany c. 1880-1945 are expertly covered, from Sexualwissenschaft to media scandals, from literary life to urban space. Recommended with enthusiasm.”
Moritz Föllmer, former reviews editor, ‘German History’, University of Amsterdam


Jumping off from discussions began in Robert Beachy’s ‘Gay Berlin’, ‘Queer Identities’ goes on to examine gay life in a range of cities beyond Berlin, including Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. It reveals various lesser discussed aspects of lesbian life at the time, while also addressing the sexuality of several well-known literary and artistic figures including Thomas Mann, Klaus Mann, Stefan George, and Wilhelm von Gloeden.

Perhaps most importantly, ‘Queer Identities’ concludes with a consideration of how the Weimar and Nazi past connects with gay and lesbian life in Germany today.


For more information, or to purchase the book, please visit the Columbia University website.

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