Anti-Semitism and right-wing terror have become part of everyday life in Germany again. Munich cannot exclude itself from this development. A look into the past shows how long this dangerous tradition goes back.
These days, for example, we will remember the devastating Oktoberfest attack, during which a Neo-Nazi killed 13 people and injured more than 200 40 years ago. Another vile incident that occurred a hundred years ago in 1920 should be remembered here.
100 years ago the political situation in Munich was completely different: Right-wing terror was legitimized, the police hardly intervened and the Prime Minister openly opposed the democratic impulses coming from Berlin. The famous sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, a homosexual, social-democratic Jew, came to the „Ordnungszelle Bayern“ (‚Bavarian cell of order’) in order to provide the Bavarian capital with some sex education and also to express his demand for the decriminalization of male homosexuality. Numerous guests came to the venue where the lecture took place (the Tonhalle on Briennerstraße) – even uninvited guests, as the lecture was disrupted from the beginning. When Hirschfeld finished and left the house, he was brutally beaten. The news even reached the USA, where it was spread by the press as ‚the first pogrom in Germany‘. The right-wing national press, on the other hand, took up the topic with relish and vilified the seriously injured Hirschfeld – above all the Bavarian author Ludwig Thoma, who despite his political leanings is still popular today.
The Forum Queres Archiv München e. V. has taken up the topic. Together with the NS-Dokumentationszentrum it will host an online event on the anniversary of the incident on Sunday October 4th 2020. Accompanying this event, the Forum will publish a book commemorating the attack. The publication not only analyzes the political background of Bavaria and the social situation of homosexual 100 years ago, but it also delves into Hirschfeld’s lecture style and reconstructs the evening of the attack. In addition, a new artistic approach on how to bring history into the present will also be included. The paperback „The Attack on Magnus Hirschfeld. A look at reactionary Munich in 1920“ with contribution by Albert Knoll, Erwin In het Panhuis, Philipp Gufler and Ralf Dose will be available in October. It can be ordered online on the website of the Forum.