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08/01/2013 10:39 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Gay And Jewish In Wartime Berlin: The Link Between Homosexuality And Zionism

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In his book “Ziffer and his Kind,” author and Haaretz correspondent Benny Ziffer quoted a letter he found among his records. In this letter he wrote to the Tel Aviv Municipality and suggested that the name of Independence Park, a seafront hot spot for gay pickups, be renamed for Jewish-German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), a leader in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights in pre-Nazi Germany.

Ziffer believed “there is a strong link between Hirschfeld and the founding of Zionism.” First, because Hirschfeld founded a group for gay and lesbian rights, called the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, in 1897, “the same year the First Zionist Congress convened.” Second, because these two revival movements had similar goals – to bring the Jewish people back into the family of nations, and to bring homosexuality back into the realm of humanity’s accepted practices. Third, after the two movements started and began to flourish, the Nazis came to power - and they abhorred homosexuality as much as Judaism.

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