The Forum Queeres Archiv München e. V.– LGBTIQ* in History and Culture is an association that was started in 1999. We have made it our task to collect, promote and make accessible documents and testimonies from the everyday life, culture and history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people from Munich and the region. We are pleased that you are taking an interest in our work!
The Forum Queeres Archiv understands itself to be the ‘memory’ of the LGBTIQ* community in Munich. The archive is a place for people of different sexual orientations, gender identities as well as all ages to meet and engage in constructive dialogue. We currently have over 60 members aged between 26 and 83.
Some of our active members will introduce themselves in the following section:
Albert Knoll was born in 1958. After studying history as well as German language and literature, he now works as an administrative employee and an adult education lecturer. He organizes city tours delving into Munich’s past as one of the centers of the National Socialist movement as well as tours concerning Jewish history. Since 1997 he has been an employee of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Until 2018 he was responsible for archiving documents and photos, supervising and taking care of archive visitors, developing and updating the database system, processing academic inquiries and holding interviews with survivors; since 2018 he has been the head of the staff unit. Albert Knoll is a founding member of the Forum and has been a member of the board ever since. The main focus of his activities is giving gay history city tours as well as guided tours of the Nazi documentation center on the subject of homosexual persecution, organizing exhibitions, working on publications and nationwide networking and representation of the Forum. Since 1997 he has been publishing on Munich’s queer history as well as the fate of inmates imprisoned in Dachau Concentration Camp on the basis of §175. Among others his publications include Der Rosa-Winkel-Gedenkstein from 2015 (The History of the Pink Triangle Memorial Stone in Dachau)and also Splitter No. 4, 8, 11 and 13 – Splitter being the Forum’s own publication series. Currently Albert Knoll is preparing an event dealing with Magnus Hirschfeld’s work in Munich.
Dr. Sabrina Mittermeier, born in 1989, received her doctorate in American cultural history from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtiy Munich in 2018 and has continued to work in academia ever since, including at the University of Augsburg. Her work on a postdoc/Habilitation project on queer public history led her to the Forum, where she has also been on the board since 2019, and offers guided city tours on Munich’s queer history.
Sabrina Berndt was born in 1955 and is working as a CAD technician. She stepped into Munich’s gay scene in 1973 and transitioned from male to female in 1990. She has been an active member of the political party Rosa Liste since 2013 and ran for city council twice. In 2013 she was on the committee for the election of the Blessed Munich May Queen. Since 2019 Sabrina Berndt has been on the board of the Forum.
Linda Strehl, born in 1969, studied classical philology and library science. She has been working as a freelance editor of non-fiction and specialist books. In 2012 she became a volunteer at the Forum and has been working there as an archivist since 2012. Her focus: Sighting, archiving and documentation of written material (books, journals, documents, posters). She is also working on an extensive LGBTIQ* city history and offers guided tours through the archive. Since 2019 she also leads city tours focusing on the queer history of Munich.
Nicholas Maniu, M. A., was born in 1985 and is a graduate student at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. He is currently writing his dissertation with the working title Iconography of Male-Male Desire in the field of Art History and Gender Studies. After working for many years in various renowned art galleries (Galerie Sabine Knust, Artsation etc.), he has been working as an archivist at the Forum since 2015. At the Forum his responsibilities include the archiving and digitization of video media as well as handling the social media presence.
Christine Schäfer, born in 1944, was a secondary-school teacher for English and German, then a freelance educational and cultural worker. Since 1974 she has been involved in the women’s and lesbian movement and from 1991–1995 she was the managing director of the Frauenkulturhaus München e. V. As a feminist historian she has also been giving lectures and wrote several books concerning the history of the women’s and lesbian movement including Zwischen Nachkriegsfrust und Aufbruchslust. Lesbisches Leben in München in den 1950er bis 1970er Jahren, 2010 (Between post-war frustration and the desire to start anew. Lesbian life in Munich from the 1950s to the 1970s). From 2003–2019 she was a board member of the Forum. During this time. In 2013, she initiated the creation of a lesbian archive (Raum für Lesbengeschichte). She also offers guided tours on lesbian history in Munich. In 2011, she co-founded LesbenSalon “Sappho goes 60” as well as NadA (Nicht aus den Augen verlieren), two initiatives focusing on older feminist lesbians.
The artist Philipp Gufler has been a member of the Forum since 2013. The topic of queer history has been an important part of his work from the beginning. In 2014, he first showcased the video installation Projection on the crisis (Gauweilereien in Munich) and published an artist book under the same name shortly afterwards. Both artistic creations deal with Munich’s response to the AIDS crisis. Philipp Gufler is interested in how affects such as intimacy, sexuality, feelings, anger and fear, which are often excluded in state archives, are contained in the self-organized structure of the Forum. The Forum’s poster collection is the starting point for his installation I Wanna Give You Devotion, for which he invited artists and collectives to question and expand the Forum’s collection. He is also doing research in the Forum for his ongoing series of silkscreens called Quilt. The silkscreens are made of different, partly transparent layers of fabric and refer to artists*, writers*, LGBTIQ magazines and lost queer spaces. As a tribute to the legendary bars of the artist Cosy Pièro, Richard John Jones and Philipp Gufler recreated the essence of these bars in an art installation/bar called Bei Cosy in 2017 at the Rongwrong art space in Amsterdam. Philipp Gufler also contributes to the social media presence of the Forum and regularly organizes events as a member of the Forum. Most recently he organized an evening on the work and life of Munich based artist Lorenza Böttner. www.philippgufler.de
Ariane Rüdiger, born in 1958, has been a member of the Forum for more than 15 years. During this time, she has published two Splitter volumes on lesbian history in Munich (Splitter No. 12and 15). In addition, she organized various events and projects such as developing the Wegmarken initiative, which commemorates important places of the women’s and lesbian movement. The first implementation of the Wegmarken project was in 2018 in the form of a memorial plaque in front of the women’s therapy center – she also helped create an accompanying online presence. Ariane Rüdiger’s main profession is writing (from specialist articles about electronics to renewable energies). Besides numerous contributions to anthologies and a self-published novel she has also written an interview book and three novels dealing with topics affecting the LGBTIQ community for Berlin-based publishing house Querverlag.
Albrecht Müller, born in 1947, a technician, took his first steps into the gay scene in 1975 as co-founder of the Verein für sexuelle Gleichberechtigung (VSG). With his involvement in the VSG he was spearheading the gay emancipation movement of the 1970s. His activities included putting up information stands and book tables in Munich’s pedestrian zone as well as writing for the VSG magazine Kellerjournal. Albrecht Müller was a founding member of the Rosa Liste in 1989 and has been a member of the Münchner Löwen Club e. V. (MLC) for over three decades.
Fritz Letsch was born in 1954 and started his professional career as a Catholic community educator. After 1981 he worked as a freelance theater educator and travelled throughout Europe as part of the Theater der Unterdrückten (Theater of the Oppressed). Together with his colleagues, he established the Regenbogenstiftung Bayern, a foundation affiliated with the German Green Party, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall he contributed to the creation of the Bildungswerkstatt Brandenburg (brandung). Since 2005 he has been working as a Gestalt therapist, a job coach and a sex pedagogue. As part of his extensive honorary activities he was also part of the VSG group Rat und Tat (later Rosa Telefon) offering free telephone consultation for queer people. He was also part of the SUB, AIDS-Hilfe and the Bisexueller Stammtisch, a contact point for bisexual people. He has been a member of the Forum since its foundation in 1999. He moderated the Forum’s first Erzählcafés (public talks with older queer people) and was involved in setting up the office and communications. He is currently also on the board of Community e. V. and the Hannchen Merhzweck Stiftung. More about him can be found in the book Es gibt noch viel zu tun… by Ariane Rüdiger (Querverlag 2016) and at www.fritz-letsch.de