Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany: Thirty Years of Collecting Our History - Or: How to Find Treasure Troves

"Reviewing some thirty years of research on the estate of Magnus Hirschfeld and of the Institute for Sexual Science, there is a very simple result: one thing leads to another."

Magnus Hirschfeld

In this paper Ralf Dose describes the thirty year long research on the work of Magnus Hirschfeld, the German sexologist and founder of the Institute for Sexual Science. Ralf Dose offers insights into how the Magnus Hirschfeld society retrieved some of the "Treasure Troves" of Hirschfeld's personal belongings and items from his institute, like his death mask, his exile guest book and a collection of Japanese dildos.

What do you think are the most valuable lessons to be learned from the 30 years experience of the Magnus Hirschfeld society? And whose "Treasure Troves" would you try to retrieve? The full paper can be read below. Feel free to read, comment, discuss and let us know you own experiences.

To read Ralf Dose's full paper click on "Read more"

Thirty Years of Collecting Our History – Or: How to Find Treasure Troves

Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld Society, Berlin

When founded in 1982/83, the Magnus Hirschfeld Society’s aim was to preserve the heritage of the sexual scientist Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) for posterity, and to do research on his work. At that time, this was connected with the aim of the GL(BT) movement, which was  to claim a history of its own. When looking more closely into the matter of the work and achievements of Dr. Hirschfeld, we soon noticed that the focus on GL(BT) history was far too narrow to capture the importance of Hirschfeld both for sexual science and for cultural history.[1]

My paper explores some of the steps we took in finding the material remnants of Hirschfeld’s cultural heritage over some thirty years of research and collecting. It should be read together with the corresponding paper by Don McLeod on “Serendipity and the Papers of Magnus Hirschfeld: The Case of Ernst Maass,” where he gives a lot of detail about one of our joint searches. And, please, keep in mind that my English is not as good as my German. Thus, the German version of this paper sometimes is more specific than this one.[2]


When we started to look for Hirschfeld’s heritage, it was a common belief that hardly anything of Hirschfeld’s personal belongings or items from his Institute for Sexual Science would have survived. Manfred Herzer compiled a preliminary short list of single Hirschfeld letters which survived in various archives, libraries, and private collections. It was known, too, that some single books from the library of the Institute had survived in private or public libraries. But no whole collection was known or could be expected to exist in a library or an archive. This was due to the political and personal situation at the time of Hirschfeld’s death. The Institute’s furniture and assets, as well as all the equipment of Hirschfeld’s private rooms and his personal papers, were thought to be lost forever.

Members of our society had been in contact with a few contemporaries who had been active members of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (SHC), had worked for awhile in some position at the Institute, or had taken part in the work of the World League for Sexual Reform, for example, Kurt Hiller[3], Erhart Löhnberg[4], Günter Maeder[5], Bruno Vogel[6], and Herbert Lewandowski[7]. Others had been clients of the Institute. We got their stories.[8] But how should we proceed from there?

The first step in a probate case is always to search for the legal heirs or heirs who are mentioned in a will. In the case of Dr. Hirschfeld that meant: What happened to his Foundation (the Institute), and where did his personal belongings and assets go? Since Hirschfeld had died in exile, at least those items in his possession could have been given to his heirs. All the assets of the Foundation, of course, did not belong to Hirschfeld any more, and, even worse, were located in (Nazi) Germany. He was not in a position to leave those assets to his heirs.[9] Thus, there might be archives which could have more information, or even possess items.

One of the first sources was found by Manfred Baumgardt: German restitution and compensation files.[10] But they contained little information about the Institute’s archive and library, and for other items, such as paintings or other works of art that had been in the Institute, they offered nearly nothing—so that already the restitution authorities had dropped that part of the case. Concerning the Foundation, it became clear that German courts in the 1950s ruled that it was dissolved legally, so that there was no chance of a simple re-establishment.

These files contained a copy of Hirschfeld’s last will and testament, filed in Nice, too.[11] There were two heirs named—Karl Giese, and Li Shiu Tong—and several persons listed who should get a legacy, which consisted of an amount of money. Those legacies were given to members of the larger family, to friends, and to long-time servants for their services. In addition, there was the name of a storage company in Paris, where Hirschfeld had stored away items. This was much more than outsiders could expect, because in Germany wills are not public records and access is restricted to legally entitled persons. So we were lucky to find a photocopy of that will as part of the restitution files, which were in an archive with less strict access rules.

Soon we realized that we knew hardly anything about the Institute for Sexual Science—about the persons working there, or about the institutions they had created for their work, or about the scientific or social context in which they worked. Every name, every organization, and every political connection mentioned had to be looked up somewhere—if there was some reference material at all. There existed no manual for the history of sexual science.[12] There were no biographical dictionaries referring to those persons of interest to us.[13] Only the older generation had made it into the “Pagel”,[14] but the careers of most members of the younger generation of researchers or physicians ended before they could leave their mark in a dictionary. And where should we look up all those persons who weren’t physicians or writers, but jurists[15], politicians of the second or third tier, or just activists in lay movements, or even domestic personnel? And there was no way of systematically searching for people who had come as visitors, guests, or patients into the house, or had some relation with its collaborators.

Our research method was not a systematic one. Instead, we tried to grab every clue and loose end we could find. Only from today’s point of view can we describe more systematically what we did.

Some questions to start with:

a) What are we looking for?
            Objects: Books, pictures, photographs, letters, manuscripts, documents
            Personal memories (diaries)
            Official memories: Files, (public) records
b) Whom do we look for?
            Legal heirs
            Family members
            Correspondence partners
c) Where do we search?
            Libraries and Archives–Topic catalogues, Finding aids
            Private Collections
            (Auto-)Biographies (Dissertations!)
            City directories, telephone directories
            Newspaper articles
            Cemeteries, and virtual cemeteries (e.g., databases of Yad Vashem[16] and JewishGen[17])
            Recently: genealogical databases and Internet searches in general

I’ll restrict myself to some details and stories referring to questions b) and c): Whom, and where do we search?—The answer to the first question would have been “Everything!” in the beginning of our work. It was only through accumulated findings and knowledge that we were able to be more specific about what to expect in a special place.

The Heirs

According to Hirschfeld’s last will and testament, there were two heirs—Karl Giese and Li Shiu Tong—but searching for them turned out to be difficult from the beginning: Karl Giese had committed suicide in Brno in 1938, and the lawyer Karl Fein, who would have been able to inform us about Karl’s estate, did not survive the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. For us, research in Czechoslovakia was complicated due to the language barrier. Details about Giese’s life after Hirschfeld’s death were found later in a correspondence with the domestic worker Adelheid Rennhack (see below), in a correspondence with the Institute’s physician Max Hodann, as well as—much later—in a correspondence with Ernst Maass (see below). But from those letters we could only learn that Giese did not get his share of the Hirschfeld assets (or only got it very late). At least, he did not have access to the Hirschfeld diaries in 1936. We expect to learn more from the research that Hans Soetaert recently conducted in the Czech Republic.

As for Li Shiu Tong, we knew that he had lived in Zurich but had avoided any contact with Germans and especially German authorities. In the beginning of 1960 he had relocated to Hong Kong. To search for a Chinese with the name of “Li” in Hong Kong seemed impossible to us, especially as we did not know the Chinese characters of his name. But even after we had his name in his own handwriting, the search turned out to be fruitless.[18] Unexpected good luck (and the Internet) helped with this:[19] From time to time, I do a routine search for “Magnus Hirschfeld”. One slightly drunken night, this routine search went astray into a newsgroup search (where I normally did not search): Entries came up upside down, the oldest on top, entered shortly after the creation of the WWWorld (17 March 1994).

As you may easily see, it took some efforts to find the author: Somehow, I managed to find out that the author was a certain “Adam Smith”, but you cannot reasonably search for “Adam Smith” on the Internet, and ten-year-old e-mail-addresses are useless. I spent a sleepless night on many trials to find a clue, and finally found a website where the words “steakface” and “datapanik” showed up. I sent an e-mail to the owner, and after ten minutes, I had a response from Toronto. Yes, that request was posted by me, and everything is still sitting in my cellar. You can imagine that I was close to a heart attack. Funny enough, the real name of the person was “Adam Smith”. The next day, he sent me some photographs of a suitcase and its contents, which gave me another heart attack: There was, among lots of other things, the Hirschfeld death mask, a booklet named “Testament. Heft II”, there were photographs, and copies of rare journals.

Hirschfeld's Testament.  © Adam Smith
The Death Mask © Adam Smith  
Adam told me that he had known Mr. Li only from meetings in the elevator of the building, exchanging a friendly “Good morning, Mr. Li”. He had come across these items because as a student, he earned some money by cleaning out the dumpster of the building once a week. And one day, after Mr. Li’s death, he found all those strange things in that room, which he thought should not be just thrown away. He could not read German, and, of course, not at all old German handwriting—but nevertheless, after asking a family member for permission, he put those items into a suitcase and took everything home. His later wife, Nancy, at that time a medical student, had heard the name of Hirschfeld, so they knew that they had found something important. Adam, belonging to a younger generation, was ahead of time when he posted his findings on the Internet: in 1994 researchers in the field of history would not really use this medium. Thus, he got some strange answers, but nothing that convinced him of donating those items to anyone.

                                                                                     The suitcase. © Adam Smith

Now, with the address of Li’s last residence, I wanted to find his family. And knowing the year of his death, I started to look for his will or a probate file. I am now a professional probate researcher, but at that time, I did not know anything and had to learn how to do such a search. I knew from Adam that Li owned his apartment. In Germany, with an address, you can easily find information about a real estate. But in Canada, I had to learn, you need to know the name of the present owner, and in addition, you should know whether the building is on federal, provincial, or communal ground. As additional information, Adam had heard family rumours that Mr. Li had given parts of his collection to local archives. Thus, I started an Internet search for “Li collection” in British Columbia archives and libraries—to no avail. Since I did not know the name of the present owner of Mr. Li’s apartment, I asked a friend who was going on a holiday to Vancouver to check the building’s inhabitants. Being German, I had expected the names of the inhabitants to be listed at the entrance intercom, not just apartment numbers. But Adam had provided us with the apartment number so my friend could ask the building manager for the name of the inhabitant, and got it—but that did not help, since she had rented the apartment.

Later, I myself had some correspondence with the building manager, and she directed me to a former neighbour of Mr. Li, with an incomplete address somewhere in Canada—a name, a city, and a postcode; no street address. Nevertheless, my letter reached her, and she was very polite and gave me more information about Mr. Li, who had loved to travel, and with his wife had often visited his son in New York City. It was only after some more research that I found out: Mr. Li was never married, and there was no son in New York City. (I had identified a possible person from some Internet searches, but did never get an answer from that one.)

At the same time, through Internet research, I had learned that it was possible to get access to Canadian probate files, but a death date would be needed. I did not have an exact death date, just a year and a probable month. Canadian probate court websites suggested engaging local researchers, but their cost per hour was far beyond my means. So I sent a request to the probate court I had identified as the one that might have the file of Mr. Li myself, offering reimbursement for any copies. For about half a year, there was nothing; and I even forgot that search. Then, one day, I had a big envelope from Canada in my mailbox. It contained a complete copy of the probate file of Mr. Li, without any charge. Maybe, there was some queer person on duty at the Probate Court? The file contained the addresses of all those family members who had become heirs of Mr. Li. Again, addresses of 1994 were outdated in 2003, but it was easy enough to find an actual address of the executor—one of the younger brothers of Mr. Li, who had some 24 siblings.

I sent a letter, and received a fax confirming that the family had more items from their brother’s and uncle’s estate, especially books, and asked for a “reasonable offer” as they wanted to sell everything. I told Adam about this, and in his answer he came up with the suggestion that he and Nancy wanted to donate their suitcase to the Magnus Hirschfeld Society: “Should I send it or will someone come and collect it in Toronto?” At this point, I decided to go to Canada, though I did not have the money for such an excursion, nor did the Hirschfeld Society. I told Dr. Hermann Simon of the Centrum Judaicum in Berlin about this new development, and he kindly suggested that I should book a flight immediately and send him the bill. And so, with additional help from Canadian and U.S. friends who offered to invite me for lectures, I was able to go to Toronto and Vancouver in February, 2003. First, I visited Adam Smith and collected the donated suitcase, and then I spent a few days in Vancouver. Li Shiu Tong’s brother invited me to his office, showed me Chinatown, and later even invited me to his home to have a closer look at the books they were keeping. I made a list and later from home we offered a price we found reasonable. Unfortunately, the family expected much more—far beyond our means. So we had to wait. Later we were able to come to an agreement that was acceptable for both sides. And so all the books from the Hirschfeld estate that had been in Li Shiu Tong’s possession when he died came back to Berlin in 2006.[20]

I wanted to find out more about Li’s last years, but the family could (or would) not tell much. Mr. Li, the much younger brother, put it like this: “My brother was a strange man—he did not drink, he did not smoke, and he did not like women.” My answer to this was: “I’m a bit strange, too—but I drink.” Li Shiu Tong had lived alone in his apartment on Barclay Street, halfway between downtown and boystown, and he was as sportsman, playing tennis. I could not find out who was his tennis partner. But, I found his tomb, after calling all and every cemetery in Vancouver, and on my last day in Canada, I was able to put some flowers there in order to honour a true friend of Magnus Hirschfeld.[21]

                                 Memorial plate for Li Shiu Tong, Vancouver BC, Forest Lawn Memorial Park. © Ralf Dose

When talking about the search for the Hirschfeld heirs, I should mention, too, one of our big mistakes. Actually, we only found out this year that we made a mistake:
We had the information who was Hirschfeld’s executor, together with an address in Paris, France. The source included the information that Dr. Franz Herzfelder had closed his law office at the end of the 1960s, and therefore asked the Berlin probate court to name someone else as an executor (which was never done). Since we had no further information, we imagined this Dr. Herzfelder as of the same age as Hirschfeld, and supposed he was no longer alive when we started our work in the 1980s. At that time—without the Internet—researching a person abroad was much more difficult, and we did not really know how to proceed. Thus, we never consulted a Paris phone book (I am not even sure that such a phone book would have been available easily in Berlin). Only after the millennium were there a few entries on the Internet about Dr. Herzfelder, but still without any dates. The dates were only published in 2007[22]—and we consulted this book thoroughly only this year, when we were searching for someone else. There he was: Dr. Herzfelder died in Paris in 1998. We could have asked him, if only we had known.

Family Members

The next step when searching for an estate would be looking for offspring, and if there is no offspring of the testator one would look for the children of his siblings. In Hirschfeld’s case it was clear that it was the wider family which we had to look for. Which meant, in the first instance, we had to find out who (and where) they were.

A few connections (parents, siblings) are mentioned in Hirschfeld’s writings, but even there details are missing, and in most cases there are no exact data. Especially on his mother’s side there was nothing (even now, the date of his mother’s death is unknown). From the files of the compensation court we knew a few names of persons who had survived the Shoah, but, again, the addresses given were so incomplete that a search seemed useless: Where do you look for “Franz Mann, Africa”?

One of those strange searches for family members may be mentioned. In his part of the little booklet given to his sister Franziska for her sixtieth birthday, Hirschfeld mentions that their father had a beloved brother named Eduard. This brother had travelled to California around 1848, “to bring bodily nourisment, and above all nourishment for their souls” to the settlers and gold-seekers. On his way back to Europe in the 1850s he had drowned off the coast of South Carolina. As a memory to his brother, Hermann Hirschfeld had named his second son Eduard, and the name of Franziska, of course, had a connection to San Francisco, the last residence of this brother.[23] The question was: Could we substantiate such a family legend with facts? City directories of San Francisco for those years don’t exist, and the newspaper lists of arriving passengers only list First Class passengers and neglect the Steerage passengers. But, there was the sinking of the ship. In fact, there was a ship that sank in a storm in 1857 near the coast of South Carolina which was bringing passengers from the west coast to New York. The spectacular story of the rescue of the treasures of the SS Central America has been published,[24] and the passenger list has been reconstructed.[25] Eduard Hirschfeld must have made some fortune in California—he could afford First Class for his way back.

Completely out of the blue, many years ago a granddaughter of Hirschfeld’s sister Jenny left a message on our answering machine. She is living today in Melbourne, Australia, with her family, and one night had watched Rosa von Praunheim’s film “The Einstein of Sex” on local TV. She wanted to tell us that she was a grand niece of this great man. According to our research we knew that her father, Jenny’s son Günter Rudi Hauck, had escaped the Nazis to Australia, but we had no additional information about his family. When I called her back and said, “You must be a daughter of Günter Rudi Hauck,” she exclaimed in surprise, “How do you know?” Gaby and Leon Cohen visited us twice in Berlin, and gave us copies of family photographs and papers, and they have become good friends.

                                                           Gaby Cohen at the tomb of her great aunt Franziska Mann,
                                                           Berlin-Weissensee, September 2009. © Ralf Dose

Even “Franz Mann, Africa” could be found recently. A member of his family had the (wrong) idea that there might be a connection with the family of the writer Thomas Mann (because of the married name of Hirschfeld’s sister Franziska). We had to disappoint her, but could replace the expected famous relative with another one, and in exchange got a lot of information about the complicated family life of Franz Mann.

During the last twenty years, the possibilities of family research have improved very much, and more improvements are to be expected through ongoing digitalization of more sources. Using a lot of various genealogical databases and combining the results with data from already digitalized registers, it is now possible to get plausible results even from a beginning with very fragmentary data.

A good example for such a search and its result is the search for Ernst Maass, a second grade cousin (and great nephew). Don McLeod helped us out when we had made a bad research mistake, and subsequently he found another treasure trove. He tells this story in his paper “Serendipity and the Papers of Magnus Hirschfeld: The Case of Ernst Maass”.
We are grateful for the result of this search, since we were given a large amount of correspondence, photographs, documents, and genealogical notes by Ernst Maass.[26] Those genealogical notes made it possible for the first time to add the side of Hirschfeld’s mother to the family tree,[27] which leads to a fascinating insight: many more members of the larger family had been involved in the work of the Institute for Sexual Science than we had expected. They worked there as students or as physicians, or they helped securing finances.

Background Searches

Background searches and social settings quickly combine the search for persons with the history of institutions. The name of Hirschfeld leads to the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, the Society for Sexual Science (and Eugenics, and Sexual Politics) (Gesellschaft für Sexualwissenschaft (und Eugenik/Eugenetik, und Sexualpolitik)), the Institute for Sexual Science,[28] and the World League for Sexual Reform[29]. Attention, too, has to be given to publications like Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen (Yearbook for Sexual Intermediates), Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft  (Journal of Sexual Science), Mitteilungen des WhK (Newsletter of the SHC)[30], Die Aufklärung (Enlightenment)[31]. The co-authors of Hirschfeld’s books, and the journals edited by collaborators (e.g., Die Ehe/Marriage), should not be neglected —all of them add a crowd of involved people.

Thus, it is not really surprising that after some ten years there was a moment in our research when we got the impression that though we had a growing mass of material we were losing the overview. This happened when—due to political developments in Germany after 1989—we were able to employ a larger number of researchers for a limited time with labour office money. With the help of these colleagues we created a chronological table of events at the Institute, where we tried to compile all the details we knew already, including the sources. We never published this chronic, since its fragmentary character was completely clear to us. Anyway, this was a good working instrument for our upcoming research: To keep track of what we already knew, and how we knew it.

This is the place to remember a defunct institution and its former director, to whom we owe much for this period of our research: the Library for Medical and Science History at the Humboldt University and Dr. Kasbohm—she always knew in advance what we needed. The library has become part of the Humboldt University Library. Before the computer age, this library had one big advantage: There was not only a highly sophisticated topical catalogue, but an extensive personal name catalogue, too. It contained the sources for even minimal notices like “Professor X was called on the chair for Y in Z”. Jubilee notes and rare essay collections were easy to find there—and regularly you could fetch the original from the shelves immediately.

Two early examples for searches before the Internet age may be presented here:
a) in a letter by Hirschfeld written in exile in Paris he mentions: “Zammert has gone to Wiesbaden.” The physician Edmond Zammert—this was known—had made it possible for Hirschfeld to open his Institute again in Paris. So we pondered why someone who was safe from the Nazis would go back to Nazi Germany? He must have had strong reasons—maybe family? Looking into the phone book of Wiesbaden in the 1980s showed nearly a dozen namesakes. We wrote letters to all of them, and got several answers: They did not know Edmond Zammert. But then the last answer came from an elderly lady who presented herself as Edmond Zammert’s daughter. She invited me to her house—one of the best neighbourhoods in Wiesbaden on top of the Neroberg, and after a talk over the coffee table on a beautiful balcony, she finally placed a little wooden box with Japanese dildos between the cups and plates, saying “I do like those, but you cannot have them on the piano—people would talk!”

In this case, it was even very easy to find out that the little box had been in the Institute’s collection: there is a photograph in one of Hirschfeld’s books.[32] Today, the box is on loan from the Magnus Hirschfeld Society to the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Ms. Zammert had got more items from her father, but when she was in need of some money she sold them to a Wiesbaden antique shop run by Otto Valentiner, a friend and a tenant in her house. Otto Valentiner sold his firm around 1992, and is said to have lived in South America later. We never got an answer to our request to whom he had sold those items. Ms. Zammert, who needed nursing during her last years, left her house to a family that cared for her. We asked for permission to search the attic for more treasures, but did not get any answer.

                                                                  From Hirschfeld/Linsert: Liebesmittel. Berlin 1930

b) With the World League for Sexual Reform, Hirschfeld had organized a series of international conferences (Copenhagen 1928, London 1929, Vienna 1930, and Brno 1932). There were always local organizers. The congress volume for 1930 was edited by Norman Haire, but most of his correspondence from those days did not survive. Ilse Kokula alerted us about Dora Russell’s autobiography,[33] which includes a section about the London congress.[34] It was very clear from that book that Dora Russell had done most of the organizational work for the congress. Organizing a conference at that time meant writing letters. The resulting question was: where are the papers of Dora Russell? The few obituaries we found did not say anything about that. We sent a request to Sheila Rowbotham, and got in return “Oh—that is an interesting question.” It seemed that nobody had cared so far for those papers at all. My last idea was to send a recommended letter “To the Executor of the late Mrs. Dora Russell” in Porthcurno—a small Cornwall village where she had lived. The idea behind this was simple: In such a small village the postmaster will know (or can easily find out) who cares for the estate of such a prominent former inhabitant. Against all hope this trick worked: It was only ten days later that I had a letter from Dora Russell’s daughter Kate. She had come to her mother’s house from Canada in order to care for the last steps of the estate’s distribution. She told us that they were waiting for the government’s permission to export the papers to Amsterdam’s IISG/IISH. If we needed access to the papers immediately, she offered to do that the same winter in Porthcurno—but we should keep in mind that everything was packed, and there was no heating in the house. The keys would be with the village mayor. Due to financial reasons, I was not able to accept this kind offer right on the spot.

We waited until the papers had reached Amsterdam, and with the kind help of Heiner Becker I was the first one to have a closer look at those fifty mover’s boxes of correspondence, which were not catalogued at that time. Thus, I found lots of details about the WLSR which cannot be drawn from the printed congress reports.[35] In addition, there was some correspondence with German emigrants after 1933. The Institute’s physician Max Hodann, whose daughter Renate attended Dora Russell’s Beacon Hill School for awhile, had lived there in 1936 himself when he was struggling for some kind of new existence in Britain. His letters to her lead to many other archives, where there were more details about this emigrant’s fate.[36] Lots of papers in the Dora Russell collection (which has been catalogued since) still wait for readers.[37]

I may add an example from recent times. Over many years, the writer Kurt Hiller was one of the most important collaborators of Hirschfeld in the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. Access to his papers was one of the idle desires of literature historians of all kinds, as well as ours. Hiller’s last companion, Horst H.W. Müller, denied access for everyone, and did not even answer letters. The Kurt Hiller Society eventually got hold of those papers[38] after Horst H.W. Müller had committed suicide—no one had known about it, so the circumstances of saving Hiller’s papers make an adventurous story of sorts. Since we are on very friendly terms with the Kurt Hiller Society, we were able to make use of many parts of that correspondence. One of the projects that profited much was the biography of Bruno Vogel[39], a young writer who had been working at the Institute for awhile. But the most intriguing find was a couple of letters by a certain former lawyer Eugen Wilhelm—under the pseudonym “Numa Praetorius” he had for decades written articles for the Yearbook for Sexual Intermediates. Finally, there was a chance to find out something about the fate of Eugen Wilhelm, which had looked  impossible before.

From his letters to Hiller we learned that he had survived the Second World War  and a period of incarceration in a concentration camp (Schirmeck-Vorbruck). He had spent his last years with his niece and his nephew “on our property in the Vosges mountains”—no proper names, no exact place given. But, the dates of the letters made it possible to determine a period within which Wilhelm must have died. So we asked a colleague from Strasbourg, Régis Schlagden­hauffen, to look for a tomb at local cemeteries and to search for persons who might be in charge of that tomb. He came up with a large family tomb carrying so many names and dates that little additional genealogical work was needed to identify the family. One of the great nieces had the papers we were looking for, in another suitcase, that originally was kept by Eugen Wilhelm’s sister, who was very fond of her gay brother. It had been handed over to her daughter, and subsequently to her granddaughter, with the words: “Some day someone will come who is interested in that stuff.” “And now you are here,” said the great niece when our emissary rang at her door. Among many other items, Eugen Wilhelm had kept a diary between 1885 and 1951, the fifty-five volumes of which survive. The Magnus Hirschfeld Society is working on an edition.[40]


There is only one archive worldwide that has an original collection under the name of Hirschfeld. The collection is known as “Hirschfeld scrapbook” and is at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana.[41] The name is a bit misleading, since the “scrapbook” is not a notebook or something like that kept by Hirschfeld. Instead, it is a huge folio album containing press clippings, correspondence, minutes of meetings of local SHC groups, pictures, posters, brochures, and so on. Most of this originated from the papers of the Hamburg SHC-member Carl Theodor Hoefft (1855-1927), and may have been in the Institute after Hoefft had died. Additional loose items may have been put into the album after the ransacking of the Institute.[42] How this convolute came into the possession of Alfred Kinsey we could not find out. Ernst Maass may have taken it after Hirschfeld’s death; or was it with Li Shiu Tong, who for awhile lived in the U.S. during the Second World War (first at Harvard University, then Washington, DC). A quite different way into Kinsey’s collection is well possible.

It is commonplace that there is always more material in archives than one had expected. Expert archivists are invaluable in finding those treasures. I remember the fun it was to exchange faxes (that was before the e-mail age, but after the letter-writing ages) with Lesley Hall at the Wellcome Institute in London, when I was preparing for a short stay there. As an answer to each and every fax I sent I got something like, “If you are searching for X, you should have a look at Y too, and in addition, we have Z”. Due to very limited financial means and time I could only work with a small fraction of their holdings, and I could only browse additional sources at the Department of Western Manuscripts of the British Library.

Of similar helpful expertise was Bianca Welzing at the Berlin State Archive. We knew, of course, about the impotence remedy called “Titus Pearls” and its connection with the original medication called “Testifortan”, manufactured in Hamburg by Promonta. It was known, too, that the files of “Promonta” had been lost during the war, and that the site of the “Titus” firm in East Berlin had been filled with new buildings. What we did not know: The “Titus” files had survived due to the fact that this pharmaceutical enterprise had been socialised after the war in the German Democratic Republic and thus had become a state firm. That was why their files ended up in the State Archive (normally, the files of private enterprises are not within the scope of German State Archives). This voluminous collection contains many details about the connection between the “Titus” firm, “Promonta” in Hamburg, and the Institute for Sexual Science. It is even possible to calculate the exact amount of money the Nazi authorities squeezed out of the looted “Titus” licence.[43] No restitution ever has been given for that.

From time to time, searches in archives need a follow up. We knew for many years that the German Literature Archive in Marbach has two items in their collection: the Hirschfeld exile guestbook, and a correspondence with the writer Kurt Tucholsky. When I recently experimented with their new online database to find out how it works, I suddenly got three matches instead of the expected two. There was an additional Hirschfeld autograph among the papers of the writer Erich Kästner, together with a completely unknown private photograph of the cinders of the Berlin book burning in 1933. Marita Keilson-Lauritz and I published this little extra recently.[44]

Things Found by Chance

In the early 1980s, an antiquarian book dealer offered two volumes to a friend that had been in the former possession of Hirschfeld. Their provenance was clear, since they were dedicated copies. And even more: The thief had entered his name into the books: “Looted on May 6, 1933, by Fritz Krönker” is written in pencil on the flyleaf. Unfortunately, we could not find this Fritz Krönker until now.

Other rare book dealers offer books from the Institute’s library or from the estates of former collaborators, friends, etc., every now and then. If the prices are reasonable and our means allow the purchase, the Magnus Hirschfeld Society buys such items.

While the Nazi book burning was in preparation, one could read in the German press that, of course, no works of scientific value would be burned, but only “dirt and smut”.[45] If this is true, in the case of the Institute’s library there should be more undetected items somewhere in libraries. It was only very recently that we got one of those from the Berlin Public Library. They are doing a complete revision of their holdings and found that book on their shelves. It had been given to the Public Library after the war together with many others which did not belong to the Hirschfeld Institute. Unfortunately, the accession book has no information where this book was between 1933 and 1945.

To make the libraries’ research for the provenance of their books easier, we recently published the typical library stamps and the shelf marks used by Hirschfeld, by the Institute for Sexual Science, and by the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee.[46]

                                          Typical Shelfmarks and Library Stamps Used at Hirschfeld's Institute

Prominent Objects

Magnus Hirschfeld’s exile guest book is, of course, one of the most important and most interesting objects. It was even discovered twice, independently. Our discovery story goes like this. Sometime after the death of a close common friend, his partner packed his books. Among those, he found a copy of the catalogue “Industriegebiet der Intelligenz”, which had accompanied an exhibit at the Literaturhaus Berlin (25 Sept to 30 Oct 1988).[47] We all had missed that exhibit. This catalogue, I was told over the phone, contained a photograph of a Hirschfeld guest book. Not believing what I heard, I nevertheless headed for the Heinrich-Heine-Bookstore at the Zoo station—the only bookstore in West Berlin at that time that was open at night and could be expected to have everything you needed in arts and literature. Of course, they had it high up on their shelves. And there it was: Hirschfeld’s exile guest book, on loan in Berlin from the German Literature Archive in Marbach, and we had missed it. But, this mistake became an inspiration, and we brought the guest book to Berlin again for our exhibit on the 75th anniversary of the Institute’s foundation (Schwules Museum, Berlin, 1994).

There is a different discovery story by Marita Keilson-Lauritz, and she has told it herself some time ago, together with the fascinating story of the guest book.[48] Her working copy of the guest book has been on display in various exhibits[49] (and I do hope it will be here at the ALMS conference, too). It is such a huge amount of work to decipher the about 200 autographical entries (many in foreign languages and foreign alphabets), to identify their authors, and to reconstruct their biographies and their connections with Hirschfeld. From those connections, on the other hand, it is possible to reconstruct missing parts of Hirschfeld’s biography.[50] At the end of this immense amount of work we hope for a facsimile edition of this unique document. The newly founded Federal “Magnus Hirschfeld” Foundation[51] will have one of its central tasks here.

              Marita Keilson-Lauritz' Working Copy of the Hirschfeld Exile Guestbook on Display in Berlin, 2011/12 © Ralf Dose

I already mentioned the second important ego-documents—Hirschfeld’s hand-written “Testament. Heft II”, kept between 1929 and 1935. It is not exactly what one would expect as a last will and testament, but contains additional notes that Hirschfeld wanted to leave for those who would continue his work. From time to time, there are intersections offering reviews of things that had happened during the past months. This is especially true for the time of the trip around the world and the years in exile. The book was not written continuously, and sometimes Hirschfeld only took down names. Nevertheless, this booklet offers a deep insight into Hirschfeld’s life and his feelings during the last seven years of his life. I am preparing an annotated facsimile edition, amended with letters and documents from the second suitcase donated by Rob Maass—e.g. Hirschfeld’s passport (1928-33), and a scrapbook with notes from Ascona and the French exile. Financial help from the Federal “Magnus Hirschfeld” Foundation will be needed for this edition, too.

These two documents from Hirschfeld’s life proved to be really a challenge when searching for Hirschfeld’s cultural heritage. He travelled the world, and left traces everywhere. Already before he left for his trip around the world (1930-32) Hirschfeld had travelled frequently throughout Europe for lectures abroad, and we are sure that we do not know all the local reports and reactions to these events. We get to the limits of our language skills, too. In Europe alone we would have to search from Moscow to Spain. For his sojourns and his exile in Switzerland, Beat Frischknecht managed to find an abundance of details.[52] Hirschfeld’s traces in India were followed by Veronika Fuechtner.[53]

Domestic Personnel

A bourgeois household before 1933 relied on domestic personnel. Searching for those persons is extremely difficult, and only in cases of long-time servants is there some hope for results. If no names are known, sometime the old inhabitant’s registers—kept by the local police—can help. If domestic personnel lived in the household of the master, they would be on his index card. The same is true for tenants without a household of their own, who had just rented one room in a bigger flat.

Berlin’s inhabitant’s register is a special case: the original central card index at the Police President’s office at Alexanderplatz was destroyed by fire during the war. After the Second World War, American occupation authorities ordered the reconstruction of  the card index from duplicates kept at the local police precincts. As many local police stations had been destroyed in wartime, there are necessarily huge gaps in the reconstructed card index. And it is not in alphabetical order, but organized according to the American soundex system. This reconstructed card index can be consulted at the Berlin State Archive;[54] a special application is needed, and there is a fee, even if the request leads to nothing.

In the case of Hirschfeld, there is no index card left. From the testament written in Nice we knew two names: Hirschfeld’s personal servant before he left Germany was Franz Wimmer, and then there was the old cook, Hinrike/Henrike/Henny Friedrichs. We now know a bit more about the two, though not enough. A few letters by Franz Wimmer to Hirschfeld we got by chance among the “additional items”[55] in an auction. Henny Friedrichs knew that Hirschfeld wanted to pay her a small pension out of his estate, and she tried to claim that pension from the Nazi authorities. There are a large number of other members of the domestic personnel, of which we only know the names, and sometimes what kind of job they had. Some of the names we were able to verify in the Berlin city directories.[56]

In the course of our research, we got clues that a former domestic servant of the Institute was still alive, but she lived a very remote life and avoided contact. Given her increasing age, a common friend eventually arranged for an “informal” meeting (a pre-Christmas Carol singing event). Thus, we had a chance to express our interest in a more detailed conversation, which she granted soon after. Adelheid Schulz—her maiden name was Adelheid Rennhack—served in the household of the Institute between 1928 and 1933, and she turned out to be an invaluable source of details from an everyday perspective.[57] In addition, she had preserved a lot of letters, postcards, and photographs from those years, which she called the happiest time of her life, because “I was respected there as a human being”. She was present when the Institute was ransacked in May, 1933, and she was able to save a few items from the Institute. Adelheid Schulz passed away four months before her 100th birthday. Her daughter and her granddaughter gave us some of those items from the Institute, some of them are now on permanent loan in the Schwules Museum in Berlin.

       Adelheid Schulz Explaining the Institute's Rooms, Using a Model of the Building. In Front: Her Granddaughter Alexandra Ripa.
       © Manfred Baumgardt, Schwules Museum Berlin 2002


One person who connected us directly with the 1920s and 1930s was the German emigrant gynaecologist Hans Lehfeldt (1899-1993), of New York. Only half a year after we had started our work, he contacted us and offered a lecture. We happily agreed, though we had no idea at all whom he was nor what he really had to offer. As a young physician, Dr. Lehfeldt had worked in one of the early Berlin birth control clinics. He had been a member of the 1929 congress of the WLSR, became a good friend of Norman Haire,[58] and was even closer with Margaret Sanger[59]—thus, he knew everyone personally whose names and importance we carefully had to collect from the journals of the time. From then on, Hans Lehfeldt gave us a lecture every year, and he was our honoured surprise guest when we opened our research unit in summer, 1992.[60]

The journalist Kristine von Soden, when researching for her dissertation project on the birth control clinics of the Weimar Republic,[61]came across Erika Kwasnik in Denmark. Her grandmother had done repair needlework for Hirschfeld and for the Institute, and had taken her little Erika with her many times. From Erika Kwasnik we got a report about her childhood with “uncle Hirschfeld”[62], and a rare photograph from 1917 showing Hirschfeld with a crowd of children of the domestic personnel under a Christmas tree.

                                                                   © Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft e.V., Berlin

Yet another contemporary we met thanks to Kristine von Soden was Lilo Laabs (born Hehner). As a young professional woman, Miss Hehner had worked as a social worker with the prostitutes at Alexanderplatz. From time to time, she had accompanied clients to the Institute.[63] Talking with her, she told us about a friend of hers of the same age, who in 1933 had studied languages in Paris. She could go back and forth between Berlin and Paris, and she served at least once as a courier for Hirschfeld. She never opened the packages which were given to her in confidence. There was only one item she could tell us about: a big lampshade decorated with images from Pomerania. Hirschfeld had asked for that one because he longed for something from his home. This lampshade, too, has vanished.

Actor Michael Rittermann (1910-1989)—he escaped the Nazis in 1938 from Austria—was one of the first contemporaries whom we could interview. He had a first engagement in Berlin around 1928. Being beginners, we only knew a few names of persons—mainly those of elderly physicians. And, thus, our questions did not lead to much. Michael Rittermann eventually burst out into: “Had I ever known that you would ask me all this one day, I would have taken some interest in those guys. See, I was young then and only interested in holding hands with Karl Giese and the other young ones frequenting his rooms. These old chaps in the Institute weren’t of any interest.”

Quite a different kind of contemporary we would have liked to have met—but he escaped. In our first exhibit at the Berlin State Library in 1985[64] we showed as a key item a big photograph of the ransacking of the Institute. One sees two uniformed men in boots standing in a big heap of books, brochures, and journals. One day, an elderly gentleman had his wife/partner take a photograph of him in front of this picture. When they left, he told our guard: “The left one [or did he say: the right one?] of those two guys, that’s me.” Before our guard could recover from the shock, he had run away. Maybe, one day, we can acquire that photograph of 1985?

Clients and Patients

In two cases, we were able to obtain personal memories of Institute patients about their treatment at the Institute.

Through a radio broadcast, a former Hirschfeld patient who lived some place outside East Berlin heard about us. Letters were exchanged, and, from time to time, telephone calls (at that time between West Berlin and some places outside East Berlin you still had to call the switchboard and pre-announce your call, the line itself came hours later), and visits. Gerd Katter, a trans* person in modern terms (f to m) had preserved some important proofs about his treatment at the Institute, among those a so-called “transvestite pass”, which we got after Katter passed away in 1995.[65]

A more negative view on experiences at the Institute can be found in an interview that Rosa von Praunheim conducted with Dr. Hanns G., who as a teenager had been brought by his father to Hirschfeld for examination and treatment.[66]

From Adelheid Schulz’ tales we knew that the painter Toni Ebel had been a patient at the Institute, but we did not have any vital dates. We did find some data at the archives of the East Berlin Academy of Arts. Later, there was more from a file at the State Archive—Toni Ebel had claimed compensation as a Nazi victim. But, there was nothing about the Institute or her former existence as a man. Then, incidentally, we got information that the State Archive kept some 40.000 files about legal name changes in Berlin between 1912 and 1945. Only about a thousand of those names have been indexed so far; the rest are waiting for processing. I could not find the name of “Ebel” in the index book. The friendly archivist suggested that I might process the rest of the boxes, which I had to decline. Seeing my disappointed face, he himself then opened one of those boxes and after ten minutes came back with the sought-for file: it lay on top of that box. In this file, there was another curriculum vitae: this time written by someone who was a male and had to argue why he wanted to be a woman. The complete story is ready for publication, though still unpublished.  

The story of “Dorchen”, who had lived at the Institute for awhile and had worked in its housekeeping, as well as those of many other patients of the Institute, has been presented by Rainer Herrn in his thorough study on transvestitism and transsexualism and the early sexual science.[67]


Autobiographies are always a good starting point, as long as one mistrusts all and every so-called “dates” and “facts”—better check yourself. In Hirschfeld’s case we had his notes— “Von Einst bis jetzt”[68]— which give a lot of details about the homosexual movement, but little about his private life. Then there is an “autobiographical sketch” in a sexological handbook from the United States.[69] About his family background, there was a bit in the little booklet published on the occasion of the 100th birthday of his father Hermann Hirschfeld, issued by Magnus together with his sister Franziska Mann.[70] “Women East and West”[71], too, gives some biographic details; and in the course of our ongoing research we have found additional brief pieces.

Many of the prominent visitors of the Institute wrote autobiographies, or had a biography written about them. From those, we got at least momentary insights, and sometimes even clues for estates where a search might be useful. One well-known example may be mentioned: Christopher Isherwood. His autobiographical novel Christopher and His Kind[72] reveals that he had lived for awhile at the Institute; and there are names mentioned (like Erwin Hansen) that cannot be found elsewhere.[73] Any attempt to find out more details about his stay seemed useless. Allegedly, Isherwood himself has destroyed the diaries of those years.[74] Huntington Library staff kindly sent us a collection of Isherwood’s photographs from Berlin. Unfortunately, we could not identify anyone in these pictures, and there was no picture of the Institute’s building. Much later we found out that such photographs exist nevertheless: at least one portrait of Karl Giese must be in Isherwood’s papers.

This makes very clear that in spite of all of the kind help by local archivists, personal examination is crucial in the case of such papers. Only the researcher himself/herself can produce all the necessary associations in order to find more stuff. This necessity, then, hints to a general and structural problem: non-university GLBT history research simply is not funded in a way that would make a three-week-trip to Los Angeles possible. Let’s change that.

Bibliographies and Reception

When we started, there was no bibliography of Hirschfeld’s writing. James D. Steakley provided a much needed first compilation.[75] I know that this little book was at hand at the help desk of the Berlin State Library. I remember very well the disappointed look in the faces of the librarians on duty, when they learned that we not only knew this booklet but had helped to publish it, and were now searching for something that was not in their book.

A complete bibliography (including reviews) is still a desideratum. Jim Steakley’s database for a second edition of his bibliography is growing and growing. A complete list of all the expertise given in court by Hirschfeld and his colleagues from the Institute will never be possible. Though the Hirschfeld Society was able to do some preliminary work on the reception of Hirschfeld’s writings and theories,[76] there is a lot of work still to be done.

Items Which Are Missing and Which We Are Looking For

From his world trip, Hirschfeld sometimes sent home items he had collected locally. According to Adelheid Schulz’ tales (confirmed by others), there was a big Indonesian phallic stone statue, which was displayed at the Institute. She still chuckled about the faces of the customs people when unpacking this item. Simply because of its weight the Nazis must have had problems moving this statue. This one is still missing, as well as many other objects from the Institute. Among those missing objects is the door of a men’s house from New Guinea, which had been in the Institute’s collection earlier. It was last seen seen in Nice in 1936, at that time possessed by a certain “VB.” Where is it now, and where are all the other things that “VB” had in his hands in 1936?

Some background information may be needed. All patients and visitors of the Institute were asked to fill in the so-called Psycho-biological Questionnaire. How many of these questionnaires existed is not clear. Ludwig Levy-Lenz gives a figure of some 40,000. Hirschfeld mentioned in 1935 that it had been possible to save those questionnaires from the Nazis, and that Karl Giese could bring more than 1,000 of them to France. It is unclear where they went. Presumably, many were destroyed, as Henri Nouveau/Henrik Neugeboren (1901-1959) noted in his diary, 14 February 1936:

Hirschfeld’s picture archive: Exactly eleven years ago I had visited Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin, who has died recently in Nice, but did not have a chance to see his ill-reputed collection.
  And now, on my first night in N. […], VB showed me Hirschfeld’s complete picture archive which had not been burnt in Berlin—as it was said—but was bought back by H.’s lawyer for the immense sum of 35-40,000 M under the condition that it was brought out of the country.
  I have never tried to understand how VB came into the possession of this part of the estate […] This whole heap was given to me as scientific worthless so that I should make photo montages or whatever I wanted to do. I made for VB and for myself some more or less well done montages, […] kept about 50 for myself and gave back the rest. VB gave me also a pornographic japan. woodprint, ‘the bark’, and possessed a lot of most beautiful pornogr. kakemonos. – Before I moved downstairs, I slept upstairs, […] under the magnificent entrance door of a Melanesian men’s house[77], which VB late had to give back… Days and nights the many 100s of filled-in questionnaires were browsed; I, too, read a lot of them after strict confidence had been asked from me. […] Much was burnt; I myself put several filled waste paper baskets, given to me by VB for a last search for “valuables” that might have gotten into them in error, into the central heating of the house. […] It was said that all this happened with approval of the French state attorney.[78]

Marita Keilson-Lauritz and I recently detected that “VB” was the the painter and musician Victor Bauer.[79] Maybe, the process how we traced “VB” within a two days correspondence is of some interest. It started with a copy of my paper for the conference on “Looted Books and Libraries of Former Jewish Possession,” which I had sent to Marita. The quotation above is included in this paper. In Marita’s reply, she alerted me about a finding from the Internet. In 1994, a certain Eberhard Berger had written a dissertation on Henri Nouveau and his “sexual diary”—when I read it later on, I found that it did not contain any helpful hints. In a second message, Marita suggested checking “Viktor Bausch”, a paper mill owner and antifascist, because there were some connections between him and the politicians and Nazi-resisters Theodor Haubach and Carlo Mierendorff, who on their side had contacts with the SHC. Finally she added to the list a “Viktor Brauner”, a Rumanian surrealist, from the index of Peter Gorsen’s book on “Sexualästhetik”. Brauner could be excluded quickly—he had moved to Bucharest in 1935 and therefore could not have lived in Nice in 1936. I could not find any hints concerning Viktor Bausch in Nice. After I did not find anything on Google searching for “Viktor Bausch” and “Nizza”, I omitted “Bausch” and searched again for “Viktor” and “Nizza”. This time, the websites of two art galleries showed up, representing a “Victor Bauer” who was said to have been connected with Wilhelm Reich and Hirschfeld. Additional literature searches quickly confirmed that Victor Bauer was “VB”. Alas, this did not solve the mystery of Hirschfeld’s estate. The artist’s widow, who was a friend of the Hamburg sexual scientist Hans Giese in the 1950s and 1960s, and had given part of the estate of her late husband, had been his second wife; they were married after WW II. She did not know (or did not tell) anything about what happened in 1936. We have not been able to determine the fate of Victor Bauer’s first wife—a certain Irmgard Strauss.

There is more to do: Where are Hirschfeld’s diaries? Where are those items he put into the storage room of Bedel & Co. in Paris?

Loose Ends

There are many more traces that we could not follow so far due to lack of time and money. Here are a few examples. Someone should check the papers of George Sylvester Viereck. There was not only a friendship with Hirschfeld, but an acquaintance with his sister Franziska, too. The evil role Viereck played as a Nazi representative in the United States makes this research even more necessary.

Even the papers collected by Erwin J. Haeberle for his Archive for Sexology[80] have not been read completely. With respect to the Institute for Sexual Science there are papers of Harry Benjamin, of Bernhard Schapiro, and of Ludwig Levy-Lenz.[81]

Finally, there was a newsreel showing Hirschfeld, which was made in New York early in December 1930 by Fox Movietone. This newsreel was screened shortly before Christmas 1930 in New York City at the “Embassy” theatre, but not nationwide. The newsreel seems to be lost, since very few copies may have existed. But, who knows?[82]


Reviewing some thirty years of research on the estate of Magnus Hirschfeld and of the Institute for Sexual Science, there is a very simple result: one thing leads to another. Any found bit of information includes some kind of extra detail which at the moment may not mean anything, because a name or a place does not trigger any association, or because there are no material resources, or because archival sources exist but have not been catalogued (or digitized), or because the Internet does not exist ….

Therefore, the overall rule is: write down and keep safe any bit of information. The next generation of researchers could just need this single detail to be successful. Mary (Maria) Saran, Max Hodann’s first wife, choose as the title for her autobiography Never Give Up.[83] That is a good motto for our work, too.


Baumgardt, Manfred (1984a): Hirschfelds Testament. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (4), pp. 7–12.
Baumgardt, Manfred (1984b): Das Institut für Sexualwissenschaft und die Homosexuellenbewegung in der Weimarer Republik. In:  Berlinische Galerie (ed.): Eldorado. Homosexuelle Frauen und Männer in Berlin 1850-1950. Geschichte, Alltag und Kultur. 1. Auflage. Berlin: Frölich und Kaufmann, pp. 31-41
Baumgardt, Manfred (2000): Die Abwicklung des Instituts für Sexualwissenschaft (I.f.S.): Die Prozesse und ihre Folgen (1950-1965). In: Schwule Geschichte (4), pp. 18–40.
Baumgardt, Manfred (2003): Kaffeerunde mit Adelheid Schulz. In: Schwule Geschichte (7), pp. 4–16.
Baumgardt, Manfred; Dose, Ralf; Herzer, Manfred; Klein, Hans-Günter (1985): Magnus Hirschfeld – Leben und Werk. Ausstellungskatalog. 1. Aufl. Westberlin: rosa Winkel.
Berner, Dieter (1989a): Zur Fundgeschichte von Tao Li's Namenszug. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (13), pp. 5–7.
Berner, Dieter (1989b): Eine Lektion in Chinesisch. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (14), pp. 5–8.
Bowers, Q. David/Doty, Richard G. (2002): A California Gold Rush History featuring the treasure from the SS Central America: a source book for the gold rush historian and numismatist. Newport Beach, CA.
Dose, Ralf (1991a): Aufklärungen über “Die Aufklärungˮ – Ein Werkstattbericht. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (15), pp. 31–43.
Dose, Ralf (1991b): Register für “Die Aufklärung” bzw. “Aufklärung und Fortschritt”. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (16), pp. 57–76.
Dose, Ralf (1993): Thesen zur Weltliga für Sexualreform – Notizen aus der Werkstatt. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (19), pp. 23–39.
Dose, Ralf (1994): Erinnerungen an Hans Lehfeldt (1899-1993). In: Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung 7 (1), pp. 70–78.
Dose, Ralf (1996): No Sex Please, We're British, oder: Max Hodann in England 1935 – ein deutscher Emigrant auf der Suche nach einer Existenz. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (22-23), pp. 99–125.
Dose, Ralf (1997): No sex, please, we're British o: Max Hodann en Inglaterra en 1935, un emigrante alemán a la búsqueda de una existencia. In: Anuario de sexología 3, pp. 135–159.
Dose, Ralf (1999): The World League for Sexual Reform: some possible approaches. In: Franz X. Hall Lesley Eder und Gert Hekma (eds.): Sexual Cultures in Europe. National Histories. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 242–260.
Dose, Ralf (2003a): In memoriam Li Shiu Tong (1907-1993). Zu seinem 10. Todestag am 5.10.2003. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (35/36), pp. 9–23.
Dose, Ralf (2003b): The World League for Sexual Reform. Some Possible Approaches. In: Journal of the History of Sexuality 12 (1), pp. 1–15.
Dose, Ralf (2004): Die Familie Hirschfeld aus Kolberg. In: Elke-Vera Kotowski und Julius H. Schoeps (eds.): Magnus Hirschfeld. Ein Leben im Spannungsfeld von Wissenschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft. Berlin: be.bra wissenschaft verlag (Sifria. Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek, 8), pp. 33–64.
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Dose, Ralf (2011): Es gibt noch einen Koffer in New York. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (46-47), pp. 12–20.
Dose, Ralf; Herrn, Rainer (2005): Um das Erbe Magnus Hirschfelds. In: AKMB news 11 (2), pp. 19–23.
Dose, Ralf; Herrn, Rainer (2006): Verloren 1933: Bibliothek und Archiv des Instituts für Sexualwissenschaft in Berlin. In: Regine Dehnel (ed.): Jüdischer Buchbesitz als Raubgut. Zweites Hannoversches Symposium. Frankfurt a.M.: Vittorio Klostermann (Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie. Sonderheft, 88), pp. 37–51.
Dose, Ralf; Keilson-Lauritz, Marita (2010): “Vielen Dank, Erich Kästner!ˮ Die Berliner Bücherverbrennung – am Morgen nach der Tat. In: Julius H. Schoeps und Werner Treß (eds.): Verfemt und Verboten. Vorgeschichte und Folgen der Bücherverbrennungen 1933. Hildesheim, Zürich, New York: Georg Olms (Wissenschaftliche Begleitbände im Rahmen der Bilbiothek Verbrannter Bücher, 2), pp. 169–176.
Dose, Ralf; Klein, Hans-Günter (eds.) (1992): Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft. Band I: Heft 1 (1983) - Heft 9 (1986) Band II: Heft 10 (1987) - Heft 15 (1991). Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft e.V. Second, revised, and amended ed. 2 vols. Hamburg: von Bockel.
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Hirschfeld, Magnus (1933): Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers. Brugg: Bözberg.
Hirschfeld, Magnus (1935): Women East and West. Impressions of a Sex Expert. English Version by O. P. Green. London: William Heinemann.
Hirschfeld, Magnus (1938): Le Tour du monde d’un sexologue.  Traduction: L. Gara.  Paris: Gallimard
Hirschfeld, Magnus (1986): Von einst bis jetzt. Geschichte einer homosexuellen Bewegung 1897-1922. Westberlin: rosa Winkel (Schriftenreihe der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft, 1).
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Katz, Jonathan Ned (ed.) (1975): A Homosexual Emancipation Miscellany, c. 1835-1952. New York: Arno Press.
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita (2004): Magnus Hirschfeld und seine Gäste. Das Exil-Gästebuch 1933-1935. In: Elke-Vera Kotowski und Julius H. Schoeps (eds.): Magnus Hirschfeld. Ein Leben im Spannungsfeld von Wissenschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft. Berlin: be.bra wissenschaft (Sifria. Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek, 8), pp. 71–92.
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita (2006): Hirschfelds Gäste. Eine Ausstellung zu einem Exil-Gästebuch. In: Hinter der Weltstadt. Mitteilungen des Kulturhistorischen Vereins Friedrichshagen (14), pp. 13-16.
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita (2008): “Ein Rest wird übrig bleiben…ˮ Hirschfelds Gästebuch als biographische Quelle. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (39-40), pp. 36–49.
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita (2011): Erinnerungspunkte. Überlegungen zur Arbeit am Exil-Gästebuch Magnus Hirschfelds. In: Subjekt des Erinnerns? Zwischenwelt 12. Theodor-Kramer-Gesellschaft (ed.) (= Jahrbuch  für antifaschistische Literatur und Exilliteratur, 12), pp. 59-70
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita; Dose, Ralf (2009): “Für die Echtheit der Handschrift verbürge ich mich.ˮ Ein Tagebuch-Fragment Magnus Hirschfelds im Nachlass von Erich Kästner. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (43-44), pp. 9–20.
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita; Pfäfflin, Friedemann (1999): “Unzüchtig im Sinne des § 184 des Strafgesetzbuchs”. Drei Urteilstexte und ein Einstellungsbeschluß. In: Forum Homosexualität und Literatur (34), pp. 33–98.
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita; Pfäfflin, Friedemann (2000): Die Sitzungsberichte des wissenschaftlich-humanitären Komitees München 1902-1908. In: Capri (28), pp. 2–33.
Keilson-Lauritz, Marita; Pfäfflin, Friedemann (eds.) (2002): 100 Jahre Schwulenbewegung an der Isar I: Die Sitzungsberichte des Wissenschaftlich-humanitären Comitees München 1902-1908. München: Forum Homosexualität und Geschichte e.V. (Splitter. Materialien zur Geschichte der Homosexuellen in München und Bayern, 10).
Kinder, Gary (1998): Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea. New York, NY: The Atlantic Monthly Press.
Klein, Hans-Günter (1986): Beiträge zu einer Bibliographie der unselbständigen Veröffentlichungen Kurt Hillers. 1. “Mitteilungen des Wissenschaftlich-humanitären Komitees” und “Der Kreis”. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (9), pp. 31–34.
Klein, Hans-Günter (1987a): Beiträge zu einer Bibliographie der unselbständigen Veröffentlichungen Kurt Hillers. 2. “Die Schaubühne” bzw. “Die Weltbühne”. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (10), pp. 39–48.
Klein, Hans-Günter (1987b): Streiter ohne Maß mit Ziel. Zum 15. Todestag von Kurt Hiller. In: rosa flieder (54 (August-September)), pp. 6–7.
Klein, Hans-Günter (1988a): Beiträge zu einer Bibliographie der unselbständigen Veröffentlichungen Kurt Hillers. 3. “Lynx”. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (12), pp. 44–49.
Klein, Hans-Günter (1988b): Kurt Hiller – die zentralen Bereich seines schriftstellerischen und organisatorischen Engagements. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (11), pp. 7–16.
Klein, Hans-Günter (1990a): “Ich bin zum Denken verdammt; das trägt nichts ein!” Kurt Hillers Misere im Exil. In: Rolf von Bockel (ed.): Kurt Hiller. Ein Leben in Hamburg nach Jahren des Exils. Unter Mitarbeit von Wolfgang Beutin, Martin Klaußner, Hans-Günter Klein und Harald Lützenkirchen. Hamburg: Bormann-von Bockel edition hamburg, pp. 15–19.
Klein, Hans-Günter (1990b): Kurt Hillers strafrechtspolitisches Engagement und die Neugründung des Wissenschaftlich-humanitären Komitees 1962. In: Rolf von Bockel (ed.): Kurt Hiller. Ein Leben in Hamburg nach Jahren des Exils. Unter Mitarbeit von Wolfgang Beutin, Martin Klaußner, Hans-Günter Klein und Harald Lützenkirchen. Hamburg: Bormann-von Bockel edition hamburg, pp. 28–33.
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Russell, Dora (1989): The Tamarisk Tree. My Quest for Liberty and Love. 5. ed. London: Virago.
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Schlagdenhauffen, Régis (2011): Bericht über die Forschung über Eugen Wilhelm alias Numa Praetorius. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft (48), pp. 22–23.
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[1] See Wolff 1986. A short overview in German can be found in Dose 2005.
[2] This paper owes much to Don McLeod, who carefully read and edited my draft translation from German. Without his kind help parts of my paper would not be understandable in English. Nevertheless, all mistakes and misinterpretations are mine.
[3] Klein 1988b; Klein 1987b; Klein 1990a; Klein 1990b; Klein 2000. Also see his bibliographical essays Klein 1986, 1987a, 1988a, 1991, printed again in Dose, Klein 1992
[4] Herzer 2005
[5] Herzer 1997
[6] Krey 1977
[7] Lewandowski 1985
[8] Kokula 1984
[9] It was only later that we realized that those items came back into Hirschfeld’s possession through the dissolution of the Foundation and his efforts to buy them back from the Nazis, and thus became part of his estate.
[10] Cf. Baumgardt 1984b, Baumgardt 2000
[11] Baumgardt 1984a. The testament’s text is available online: http://www.hirschfeld.in-berlin.de/testament.html (last checked 28 May 2012)
[12] Sigusch 2008
[13] Sigusch, Grau 2009
[14] Pagel 1901
[15] For those lawyers whom the Nazis counted as “Jews” there are now Ladwig-Winters 1998 and 2007.
[17] http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/ (last checked            29 May 2012)
[18] Berner 1989a, and the correction in Berner 1989b
[19] In German, this story is told in Dose 2003a
[20] In recent publications available in the internet, a misinterpretation can be found: The papers of Li Shiu Tong are not in Minnesota but in the archives of the Magnus Hirschfeld Society in Berlin, Germany. The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis generously helped with the purchase, and they got all those items that were duplicates of printed matter.
[21] There is an article by Ron Dutton about my adventures in Vancouver on the internet: http://archives.xtra.ca/Story.aspx?s=2265328. To set the record straight: I never authorized or endorsed this article. I told Ron the story in confidence when I was in Vancouver, and urged him not to publish anything prematurely or without my explicit consent. He never asked for that, and so there is a lot of mistaken information, especially about my encounters with the Li family. I am sorry for this breach of confidence.
[22] Ladwig-Winters 2007
[23]  See Hirschfeld 1919
[24]  Kinder 1998
[25]  Bowers, Doty 2002
[26] Dose 2011
[27] With respect to this, my explanations in Dose 2004 are outdated, a revised version is forthcoming.
[28] Herrn 2004
[29] Dose 1993, English Dose 1999 and Dose 2003b
[30] Pfäfflin 1985
[31] Dose 1991a, Dose 1991b
[32] Hirschfeld, Linsert (1930), after  p. 282. The dildo box is presented here: http://www.jmberlin.de/main/DE/06-Presse/03-Fotodownload/06-Dauerausstellung_objekte/auswahl-dauerausstellung_objekte.php (last checked 28 May.2012)
[33] Kokula 1986
[34] Russell 1989, pp.  210, 217ff.
[35] See Dose 1999, Dose 2003b
[36] Dose 1996, Spanish: Dose 1997
[39] Wolfert 2012
[40] Schlagdenhauffen 2011, Dubout 2011
[42] Keilson-Lauritz, Pfäfflin 1999, 2000, 2002
[43] Dose, Ralf: Weimars Viagra. In: Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft. Forthcoming
[44] Keilson-Lauritz, Dose 2009, Dose, Keilson-Lauritz 2010
[45] Herrn 2010, see p. 150 for possible remainders of the picture archives.
[46] Dose, Herrn 2005, 2006
[47] Wichner et al. 1990
[48] Keilson-Lauritz 2004
[49] Keilson-Lauritz 2006
[50] Keilson-Lauritz 2008,  2011
[51] www.mh-stiftung.de (last checked  28 May 2012)
[52] Frischknecht 2009, a comprehensive publication is forthcoming.
[53] Fuechtner 2013, forthcoming
[55] In this case, the about 35 “additional items”, offered with a letter by Hirschfeld of 1905, turned out as to be even as interesting as the Hirschfeld letter itself. There was correspondence about arrangements for lectures of the SHC, and a few letters by clients of the Institute, asking for medical advice.
[56] The historic Berlin city directories are available online: http://adressbuch.zlb.de/ (last checked 28 May 2012)
[57] Ripa 2004, and Baumgardt 2003
[58] Lehfeldt 1991
[59] Engelmann 1999/2000
[60] Dose 1994
[61] Soden 1988
[62] Kwasnik 1985
[63] Sapparth 2000, Schmitt 2006
[64] Baumgardt et al. 1985
[65] More about this and other transvestite and transsexual patients of the Institute: Herrn 2005.
[66] Praunheim, G. 1991
[67] Herrn 2005
[68] Hirschfeld 1986
[69] “Hirschfeld, Magnus”, in: Robinson 1936, reprinted in Katz 1975
[70] Hirschfeld, Mann 1925
[71] Hirschfeld 1935; German ed.: Hirschfeld 1933, French ed. Hirschfeld 1938
[72] Isherwood 1985
[73] Page 1998 gives all the details about Isherwood’s stay in Berlin.
[74] On the other hand, there is at least one diary of 1933 in the library of the University of Tulsa, OK, as well as additional photographs, which we were not able to check yet. http://www.utulsa.edu/mcfarlin/speccoll/collections/isherwood/index.htm (last checked 28 May 2012)
[75] Steakley 1985, amended by Sigusch, Katzenbach 1996
[76] Cf. Seeck 2003
[77] This entrance door was demonstrated by Hirschfeld to the Ärztliche Gesellschaft für Sexualwissenschaft und Eugenik early in 1914; cf. Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft 1.1914/15, 2, p. 79
[78] Henri Nouveau, excerpts from an unpublished „sex. Tagebuch“, cited in a catalogue: Antiquariat Bernard Richter (1995): Sexualwissenschaft V perversiones. Berlin und Baden-Baden, at Nr. 203. My translation.
[79] Neumann 2011
[81] For my paper about Bernhard Schapiro, I used the holdings of the Archive for Sexology some years ago. (Dose 2000). As a result of this publication, we got additional parts of the papers of Bernhard Schapiro from his son, Raphael Schapiro.
[82] So far, I have checked with: Moving Image Research Collection (MIRC), University of South Carolina; UCLA Film and Television archive; Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; ITNsource.com
[83] Saran 1976


  1. Rolf, What an amazing story. Thank you! My question is this: Imagine that you had more financial resources, and many more people working on the hunt, what would be the finest result of your treasure hunt? What could you have that you don't have now? And would it be possible to find the people you need to complete the search?

    1. It is not a problem to find the people who could do the search, it's simply a problem of funding them for a longer period of time. This kind of research needs continuing basic funding, not project funding, since there is no guarantee that you can find something within a fixed (short) period of time. Might be possible to find the remainders of the library and the former collections of the Institute.

  2. For those of you who do not like to read some 30 pages online and without the footnotes working properly, I've uploaded my paper to the website of the Magnus Hirschfeld Society. There you can find my text as a pdf file. The direct link is:

  3. Amazing, Amazing work....Thank you for sharing.