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FTR #979 Nazism, Anti-Gay and Anti-Feminist Propaganda and the Fritz Haarmann Incident

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

[6]

Dr. Mag­nus Hirschfeld

[7]Intro­duc­tion: With the Trump admin­is­tra­tion mov­ing against gay rights and repro­duc­tive rights, and with the pub­lic atten­tion large­ly focused on yet anoth­er mass mur­der in Las Vegas, we delve back into the archives for the ben­e­fit of new­er and younger lis­ten­ers.

On 2/28/1988, we record­ed Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M13: Gay Rights, Repro­duc­tive Rights and the Third Reich [8], high­light­ing how the nascent, vig­or­ous gay rights move­ment in Weimar Ger­many was a focal point for Nazi pro­pa­gan­da and polit­i­cal action. Fur­ther­more, a mass killing by homo­sex­u­al Fritz Haar­mann ter­ror­ized Weimar Ger­many, fueled Nazi anti-gay pro­pa­gan­da and rein­forced the pub­lic per­cep­tion in the Ger­man pop­u­lace that the sit­u­a­tion was “out of con­trol.”

Dr. Mag­nus Hirschfeld was the lynch­pin of the strong gay lib­er­a­tion move­ment in Weimar Ger­many and, as a result, was a focal point of Nazi Par­ty pro­pa­gan­da, fueled with the addi­tion­al fod­der of the fact that Hirschfeld was Jew­ish.

(We note, in pass­ing, that the gay rights move­ment in Weimar Ger­many received con­sid­er­able sup­port from a seg­ment of the coun­try’s fem­i­nist com­mu­ni­ty grouped around Dr. Hele­na Stoeck­er.)

His­tor­i­cal­ly, Ger­man atti­tudes toward homo­sex­u­al­i­ty were mixed, with some regions man­i­fest­ing a rel­a­tive­ly lib­er­al atti­tude and enforce­ment pos­ture and oth­ers, an extreme­ly reac­tionary posi­tion in both respects. Para­graph 175 was the offi­cial Ger­man statute mak­ing sex between adults of the same gen­der ille­gal. Again, the enforce­ment of Para­graph 175 was high­ly selec­tive from a region­al stand­point.)

In a man­ner direct­ly fore­shad­ow­ing U.S. right-wing pro­pa­gan­da in recent decades, the Nazi Par­ty denounced Hirschfeld and homophile sex­u­al activ­i­ty as a prod­uct of, and a con­trib­u­tor to, the moral decay of the Weimar Repub­lic and democ­ra­cy in gen­er­al.

A major con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the impact of this Nazi pro­pa­gan­da was the Fritz Haar­man inci­dent.

[9]In the city of Cologne, Ger­many, a mass murderer/serial killer named Fritz Haar­mann ter­ror­ized the city with a grue­some series of killings in which young­sters were lured to his dwelling, killed and their corpses butchered, pack­aged and sold as “horse meat.” The fact that Haar­mann was homo­sex­u­al con­tributed to the out­rage of many cit­i­zens. The grue­some kil­ings and lurid head­lines they gen­er­at­ed helped fuel the per­cep­tion that “some­thing was wrong with soci­ety.” (Although there appear to have been many dif­fer­ences, we won­der about the Las Vegas shoot­ing and its effect on the Amer­i­can pop­u­lace in the con­text of the Haar­mann inci­dent.)

This rein­forced the Nazi anti-gay pro­pa­gan­da.

Adding anoth­er dimen­sion to the case were the facts that:

  1. Haar­mann was an infor­mant for the Cologne police depart­ment.
  2. Haar­mann car­ried a Cologne p.d. badge.
  3. The head of the Cologne police depart­ment was Gus­tav Noske, who, as the defense min­is­ter of the fledg­ling Weimar Repub­lic, had formed the mil­i­tary for­ma­tions that crushed the social­ist upris­ings that occurred in Ger­many after the First World War. Those for­ma­tions, the Freiko­rps, the Ein­wohn­er­wehren and the Zeit Frei­willi­gen Ver­bande crushed the upris­ings and laid the foun­da­tion for what became known as “The Black Reich­swehr.” Those “under­ground” [10] mil­i­tary for­ma­tions assas­si­nat­ed key polit­i­cal fig­ures in Ger­many (such as Walther Rathenau), lay­ing the ground­work for the rise of the Nazis [11].

The Nazi anti-gay pro­pa­gan­da fused with the par­ty’s anti-abor­tion stance, as gays, advo­cates for gay rights, women seek­ing abor­tions and abor­tion-rights advo­cates were tarred with the same ide­o­log­i­cal brush as being “anti-Ger­man” by virtue of the ide­o­log­i­cal con­cept that more births of “Ger­man stock” strength­ened the Ger­man nation.

Fur­ther­more, pro-gay rights and pro-abor­tion posi­tions were lumped into a larg­er, neg­a­tive ide­o­log­i­cal stance group­ing both view­points in with “Jew­ish” and “com­mu­nist” ‘ene­mies of the state.”