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Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin;Weimar Berlin: The Sodom on the Spree, and the HAUPTSTADT of Commercial Sex (p. 108). Unclear on the Role of Jews,

jan peczkis|Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Author Mel Gordon is identified as professor of theater arts at the University of Berkeley in California. (p. 305). This book has extensive, and rather graphic, details on the many forms of pornographic life in pre-Nazi Berlin. The author catalogues many different forms of prostitutes, gays, lesbians, transvestites, etc. This was no fluke. There were between 500 and 1,000 erotic establishments in Weimar Berlin. (p. 256).

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The book also features the gay lifestyle. Author Gordon mentions some Berlin police commissioners, who had estimated that the homosexual population of Berlin had grown to over 350,000 in 1930. (pp. 90-91).

Now consider nudism. The author elaborates on the NACKTKULTUR and its variegated manifestation. He writes, “Like many Central European social innovations, it fused modernist and reactionary beliefs in such a way that it defied easy definition and appealed to people on the political fringes who had little else in common. Hirsute revolutionaries, primitive Christians, Aryan mystics, middle-of-the-road Socialists, freethinkers, Nationalist academics, health fanatics, eye-fluttering gurus, unrepentant feminists, pseudo-Buddhists, and flat-out hedonists all joined arms to promote the cult of the naked human body.” (p. 131).

Let us put all this in broader context. Gordon (p. 203) estimates that some two-million Germans formally belonged to various non-conformist sects, and about eight million Germans expressed interest in them. These sects included Aryan brotherhoods, American-style Spiritualist organizations, “scientific” astrological circles, chic Satanist clubs, Freemasons, Gnostic associations, Buddhist and pseudo-Buddhist leagues, ascetic Sufi-like communes, Christian dissenters, Theosophical breakaway unions, Rosicrucians, and assorted occult-political movements. (p. 203).

A JEWISH DOMINANCE OF WEIMAR BERLIN?

In examining these issues, and as with my other reviews, I follow an objective Judeorealist approach that is a middle view between philosemitism and antisemitism. This avoids the twin extremes of Jews-are-always-unfairly-blamed (today’s politically-correct scapegoat thesis) and the Jews-cause-all-problems (Nazi message).

Author Mel Gordon does not address the question if most sexually explicit initiatives in Weimar Berlin had been owned or promoted by Jews. [Hitler had mentioned this in his MEIN KAMPF, and the implications of this have been evaluated by a prominent American rabbi. See comments.]

However, the author writes, “Weimar Berlin had a large Jewish population (around 9% if one includes OSTJUDEN [immigrants from Eastern countries] and thoroughly assimilated/converted/hidden Jews.) While they dominated certain cultural fields in pre-Nazi Berlin, especially publishing, law, medicine, theatre, graphic art, cinema, music, architecture, and popular entertainment, relatively few Jews were still involved in common prostitution with the exception of two picturesque types: KUPPLERINNEN (procuresses) and CHONTES—zaftig whores from southern Poland. In general, CHONTE-HARBORS (Jewish brothels) were not well regarded in Berlin’s sex guides but they appeared to attract a sizable working-class and indigenous clientele.” (p. 41).

Mel Gordon describes the erotic revue, which combined features of operetta and Music Hall in the old cabaret format. He elaborates, “In the mid-twenties, erotic revue, another Ziegfeld invention, supplanted cabaret as Berlin’s stylish Jazz Age destination…Although conceived in Paris and New York, the erotic revue blossomed in sensation-hungry Berlin…Each of the eight major revue-theatres had its own distinct appeal and style of presentation…INCIDENTALLY ALL THE REVUE DIRECTORS WERE JEWISH…” (p. 63: Emphasis added).

Some influential Jews definitely played the role later ascribed to them by the Nazis--that of calculated destroyers of everything proper and decent. For instance, the Austrian Jewish psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who moved his clinic from Vienna to Berlin in 1930 was, in Gordon's words, "A fervent Communist, anxious to establish an Institute of Sexual Politics (Sex-Pol)..." (p. 164).

WHEN THE NAZIS CAME TO POWER

The reining-in of Berlin erotica did not begin with the Nazis: It was also conducted earlier by the Socis (Berlin’s reigning Social Democrats). (p. 249). A few Babylon-on-the-Spree establishments worked out a modus vivendi with the Nazis, and the last such establishment was not closed until 1942. (p. 253).

Author Mel Gordon rejects the contention that SA Captain Ernst Rohm was killed for his homosexual sexual preference. In actuality, the “Night of the Long Knives” also claimed the lives of straight enemies of Nazism from the old Nationalist coalition, as well as recalcitrant Nazi intellectuals. (p. 251). In fact, according to Gordon, “Early Nazi edicts against homosexuality were uncertain and inconsistent." (p. 251).

MAGNUS HIRSCHFELD IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Author Gordon categorizes the famous German Jewish sexologist, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, as “The Einstein of Sex” (p. 152), and assesses him as follows, “Hirschfeld was widely credited in his lifetime and after as the primary inventor of marriage counseling, Gay Liberation, artificial insemination, surgical gender ‘reassignment,’ and modern sex therapy.” (pp. 152-153).

There is a section in the book about child prostitution (pp. 44-on). Magnus Hirschfeld reported on one such lucrative operation in Alexandrienstrasse. (p. 44).

No sooner had the Nazis come to power than they shut down the Magnus Hirschfeld Institute, and burned its books, even to the admiration of some foreign onlookers, who had despised its focus on sexual aberrations. (p. 250). Magnus Hirschfeld earned a spot in DER GIFTPILZ (THE POISON MUSHROOM). One of the cartoons therein shows Hirschfeld, with his caricatured Jewish facial features, partly hiding behind an open door while beckoning a teenaged German girl into his office. (p. 255).
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