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The ultimate Hirschfeld revelation:Magnus Hirschfeld:
Nazis Paved His Way
Once again, BIFFF... - celebrating 20 years of conducting independent research that doesn't receive (or give) outside support - finds itself in the position of being the only institution willing to look at an uncomfortable truth. In this particular case, the Jewish Museum in Berlin would have been the natural institution to conduct and publish this research. For in the museum the eugenicist Magnus Hirschfeld, who advocated for the extermination of people deemed unfit to live, is uncritically celebrated in a display case where he is called the greatest Jewish researcher of sexuality and advocate for sexual minorities. The museum will not dig further, so we, as always unchecked by consideration and constraint, completed a meticulous investigation into the organizer of Hirschfeld's trip to America – his good friend, the German-American Nazi George Sylvester Viereck. Our investigation led us to the mainly extreme right-wing cast “honorary committee” that greeted Hirschfeld in the US and to the context for Hirschfeld's work and his political efforts, which came out of and took place within these circles. Our analysis is the first that exposes the full picture and understanding of Hirschfeld's work – and it is a picture that is diametrically opposed to the one that Hirschfeld acolytes have celebrated for the last thirty years in Germany. We now have documentation of the political inclinations of Hirschfeld's associates: They were German nationalists, extreme right-wingers, and they were against the Weimar Republic. And we can prove how Hirschfeld apologists have not admitted these facts, and in some cases have even tried to hush them up.
When the well-known “sexologist” traveled to the US in 1930-31, his trip was organized by right-wing German chauvinists.
BIFFF... has discovered that a quote from a letter allegedly written by Hirschfeld, which was printed in a book by today's well known German Sexologist Volkmar Sigusch, is wrong.
The truth: Hirschfeld sought to create a rigid, authoritarian “formed” society.
The terrible truth: We are the first ones to discover the similarities between the Protocols of the Wannsee Conference and the quotes from Hirschfeld's five volumes book "Geschlechtskunde" (Sexual Knowledge) found in Sigusch's work.
BIFFF... has analyzed the writings of the Nazi George Sylvester Viereck, a friend of Hirschfeld. Our analysis shows that what Hirschfeld-apologists call his “Jewish messianism” actually came from the Conservative-Revolutionary (i.e. "Alt-Right") ideas of the Pan-Germanic Viereck and his father, both lifelong friends of Hirschfeld. The German-American G. S. Viereck is still an object of hate in the United States today because of his support for the Kaiser and then Nazi Germany during the World Wars.
This is not the first time that there has been a German national hero whose right-wing extremist ideology is ignored or played down. And that's for sure: Graf Stauffenberg was of course the deeper rogue, a perpetrator of the war of extermination. For almost five years this army officer backed the crimes of the Nazi army; for three years he was part of the “campaign against the Jewish-Bolshevist system” for the “atonement of the Jewish Untermensch” in Eastern Europe, as Wehrmacht generals put it at the time. In WW II, the war of extermination, he covered SS-murderers' asses – with full enthusiasm for war against the Polish “mob,” against the Polish “Jews” and against the East European “mixed people” (as he himself called them), and also out of German chauvinism and military obedience. He admitted that he was anti-Semitic – and despite all this he is honored every year by German heads of state from all parties – despite the fact that he was an insurgent only in the last hours, after everything that he as a soldier of Hitler's Wehrmacht had tried to achieve in the war was already lost, an insurgent only after huge numbers of Jews and Roma had been killed in a biological delusion in the name of his “holy Germany”.
In contrast, Hirschfeld hated anti-Semites. By the beginning of the 1920s he had already been a victim of their violent acts, and even earlier he was victim of their more subtle agitations. During the terrors of 1932 - 1933 he couldn't return to his home in Germany out of fear for his life. The anti-Semites made Hirschfeld, who came from a Jewish family, into a "Jew", an identity he himself - who was a Nietzscheanist and a follower of the social Darwinist Ernst Haeckel and member of Haeckel's pantheistic evolutionary-biologistic cult "Monistenbund" - did not want. He did not get a chance to make a stand against the Nazis in power, and he was too soft for this task, too effeminate, a fairy, which is why he is loved today by not a few followers. And his weakness is not the worst reason to love him. It's a piece of humanity amidst his contempt for the “biologically unworthy”, defined as "disabled persons", whose physical existence he too wanted to eliminate using politics.
Now the German state is honoring him. They have established a foundation which is supposed to serve as collective reparations for the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany (and also, though this is admitted not until the year 2017, in Adenauer's Germany). This foundation received his name.
Is he a man worth honoring? It is impossible to reconcile the inconsistencies within Hirschfeld. Should one? Should one try? He broadly concealed his own homosexuality until the middle of the 1920s. Even close co-workers like the psychologist Arthur Kronfeld, with whom he operated a medical practice at the Institute for Sexology starting in 1919, knew nothing of his sexuality. Hirschfeld thought that homosexuals were “degenerated," and had bad, sick genes that he wanted to “weed out” through eugenics – what did he think about himself? He justified his support for the legalization of homosexual relationships between men by saying that the ban would make sexually desperate homosexual men enter into heterosexual marriages, where they would pass on their bad genes and biologically perpetuate the traditions of “degenerating families.” This idea shows just how far Hirschfeld was from any goal of sexual emancipation, any recognition that a free sexual life is a human right.
Hirschfeld, who came from a Jewish family, was affiliated with the neo-pagan nature-oriented “Monism” religion, in which intellectual "Germanics" rubbed elbows with Social Darwinists. He was an avowed fan of the monist founder Ernst Haeckel and joined his Monistic Society ("Monistenbund"). A direct path leads from the intellectual beliefs of the sect to Nazism and its crimes. Many of its participants let themselves be part of the “Gleichschaltung,” the consolidation of Nazi power, before their religion was outlawed. Haeckel himself, as a “philosopher,” agitated against the idea of equality and that “Judeo-Christianity” should be the foundation of the ideas of a civilized society. He was posthumously accepted by the Nazis as one of their own, as an early proponent of the idea of “lower races.” Hirschfeld's Jewish background was not known for a long time by many of his extreme right-wing colleagues in “sexology,” a new discipline of psychology and medicine that began as an attempt to further the "German warrier race" through racial cleansing and eugenics. Sexology was founded by those who wished to weed out everyone who didn't meet the romantic ideal of a warrior, and Hirschfeld, who was not a scientist but “only” a private physician for general medicine, who kept his secrets of being gay and an offspring of a Jewish family well, a “sissy,” cozied up to them in order to gain recognition.
Hirschfeld, who greeted the outbreak of World War I with excitement, saw sexuality as a means to further the "German race" as competitions between different peoples broke out, in a time when a division between sexuality and reproduction was unthinkable. Did he himself have fun having sex? He never wrote out the answer to this question, despite his many writings, which today are poured over by so many of his followers. But he did write again and again about his belief that the main goal of sexuality was a biologically strong people. For example in the foreword to his "Weltreise"-book ("World Journey") in 1933 he wrote that sexology, as he practiced it, should make possible the “selection” of people, “the purposeful preference of hereditary factors that are beneficial for the bodily health and mental aptitude of posterity, and on the other hand, by shutting out undesirable characteristics.” No one yet knew anything of gender theory, any idea about the right of sexual self-determination would have conflicted with “marital duties,” and the suggestion of adjusting criminal law regarding the right of sexual self-determination would have met only derision. Cultural relativism had not yet entered into the definitions of health and soundness; anyone who was “disabled” should just vanish. Hirschfeld seemed to have a clear idea of which people were “worthy” and which were “unworthy.” Worthy for whom? For themselves, for capitalism, for Kaiser or Führer? Or perhaps “for the graves, Mother, for the Graves,” as Kurt Tucholsky's anti-war song from the 1920s answered why mothers bore and raised their children. Hirschfeld remained silent on the question of “worth for whom.” He left the decision to others, including the Nazis.
“By producing better and happier people, eugenics aims to create a better and happier humanity. Ultimately sexual ethnography and this, a book dedicated to it, also serve this aim,” he wrote in 1933 at the close of the foreword to his book "Weltreise eines Sexualforschers im Jahre 1931/32" (World Journeys of a Sexologist in The Year 1931/32), his best known work. It seems that he knew who was “good” and who “better,” even who was “happy.” He wanted to define these things, offering him an authoritarian and rigid position that seemed to be a backbone for this “sissy” in the turbulences of the world wide economic crisis. His delusional hope was the “new human kind,” who the Social Darwinists, who saw themselves as gods, wanted to create.
The delusions of the world leader Magnus Hirschfeld:
The end of the foreword from Hirschfeld's book
"Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers".
At the beginning of the 1980s, a Hirschfeld Renaissance began in West Germany. This was surprising after the movement of " '68" criticized the continuence of Nazi traditions in Adenauer's Germany, after the sexual revolution that finally discovered the idea of sex being fun as a social phenomenon, and after the proclamations of revulsion against any sort of human selection (which had as its very goal the possibility of the targeted selection of foreign workers, preferably ones without any sort of sexual needs!). Why Hirschfeld, who wanted to select superior people? In 1985 the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel published an article by sexual researcher Volkmar Sigusch. This article introduced to a wide public for the first time, if still in a very restrained manner, the idea of Hirschfeld as a biological determinist and eugenicist who did not condemn the 1933 “Hitler Experiments” on people who were “unworthy for life,” but called for waiting before passing judgment on them (Sigusch, quoting Hirschfeld). Sigusch criticized this and the “New Person”/"New Humanity"-ideology of the whole group of German sexual researchers who in the first thirty years of the 20th century had dreamed of breeding those they deemed “worthy of life” and killing those who were “unworthy of life.” They justified this as being in the service of a higher purpose, which aligned as nicely with the goals of war and capitalism and the deconstruction of social services and health insurance as the Pan-Germanic romanticism served the Kaiser and Führer. Sigusch's article also questioned Hirschfeld's praise of “war craft” as “artwork” at the beginning of World War I, and quoted from Hirschfeld's 1915 tract celebrating the outbreak of war, “Why Do People Hate Us? A Reflection on the Psychology of War,” in which Hirshfeld wrote: “As the deployment of our troops in August 1914 brought the sleeping power of our people's army to life, we felt – to quote Goethe - 'How everything weaves itself into the whole, One in the other works and lives!'” Sigusch criticized the beginnings of the naive Hirschfeld-Renaissance, that wanted to remain silent about the “racial cleansers” and eugenicists that paved the way for Nazi crimes under the guise of Hirschfeld's “sexual reforms.”
Excursus: Volkmar Sigusch, Evangelist of the Hirschfeld Religion
At the time of his Spiegel article, Sigusch knew only fragments about Hirschfeld's life, and couldn't see the big picture: Hirschfeld's work as a logical part of the build-up to the Nazi crimes. He just wanted to further polish the legacy of Hirschfeld, the founder of the "Institut für Sexualwissenschaft" (IfSw, Institute for Sexology or Institute for Sex Research) in Berlin, as a shining model of sexual emancipation, which he had never been. It was not until our 2003 investigation of the members of the IfSw that the facts about the circle of people around Hirschfeld came out. In that investigation we showed that many of Hirschfeld's colleagues and close coworkers longed for and praised the First World War, and even in 1917, after other war mongers had long renounced their praise, still called the youth of Europe to follow the Kaiser Wilhelm II as their leader. These were the people with whom Hirschfeld ran the "Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee" (WhK, "Scientific Humanitarian Committee") starting in 1899, and the people with whom he founded and ran the IfSw in 1919, five years after his praise for the war. Not today's Hirschfeld apologists ever did this research on the politics and sexual politics of the Hirschfeld group in the early 20th century, but BIFFF… did and still does.
Sigusch's failure to adequately categorize and criticize a “sexology” that arose out of a legacy of eugenics and racial cleaning ("Rassenhygiene"), whose goal was not sexual emancipation but rather a selective breeding of a people, stems from the fact that he did not have an understanding of anti-fascist thought, and was not familiar with the anti-fascist understanding of society, although he claimed to be a follower of Adorno. In order to understand the responsibility that (and how) the biological-medical “sexual sciences” bore for the crimes of fascism, one must first fully understand the way that different forms of intellectual fascism developed, and how practically-applied tenants of Fascism and its crimes developed in turn from these seemingly harmless intellectual currents. One must also understand how necessary anti-fascist thought is to a critique of Stalinist eugenics. And such knowledge is also necessary in order to understand Hirschfeld's friendship with Nazis, the work of Nazi race theorists at the IfSw, and Hirschfeld's deference to Nazi health politics. More careful research shows that there is a clear lineage in Hirschfeld's work and behavior that is in no way contradictory or inconsistent, despite the desire of current Hirschfeld apologists to obscure his obvious culpability in Nazi crimes.
Since his initial article Sigusch has distanced himself from his earlier critique of Hirschfeld, claiming that it is misunderstood, and has accused others of having turned against sexology. He did so vehemently in his 2008 book "Geschichte der Sexualwissenschaft" (History of Sexology), a popular science text that – although it is painful to say given Sigusch's many services to the emancipation movement – is largely trash. An even better-known example is his most recent interview with Der Spiegel, in which he offers a view into his own psyche – a lonely, deeply disappointed, threatened-feeling man whose life's work was destroyed by the conservatives. (“König Sex,” in Der Spiegel Nr. 9/2011) Sigusch was always half naive and half vaguely on the left, and today his naiveté has fully overpowered him.
With his pronouncement in the Spiegel interview that sexual fantasies always have to be dirty, and that cleanliness, conscience, and rationality are poison to eroticism, he continued on the path that he had traveled for 30 years: away from civilization, back to the law of the jungle. The person is seen as an animal and should be allowed to remain that way, and his bedroom supposedly offers him a free place to be that way. This ignores that society follows human, not animal rules, and that even the erotic realm is planned along rational profit-driven principles of “marital hygiene,” through the consumption of commercial and pay-per-view TV, porn and sex-toys. The bedroom is not a place of freedom, but in actuality is just another place where - through the curtain - the constraints of the sexual-industrial complex rule, because Adorno's imagined “enclaves of immediacy” remain nothing but make-believe. “Dirtiness” has long been transformed into a commodity, the freedom fight of the formerly ostracized has now been reclaimed: see the German television broadcast "Wa(h)re Liebe" (“true love/love as ware) in which Ernie Reinhardt, alias Lilo Wanders, sold the capitalization of sexuality, disguised as exactly the same act of freedom as his participation in almost every CSD demonstration, to a wide audience. To be driven by the unknown – it was Sigmund Freud's horror. Sigusch has to admit that Freud, unlike Hirschfeld and his consorts, never spoke of those who were unworthy of love. But he has not admitted to it because eugenics is the law of the jungle, which seeks to replace the failure of natural selection in civilized society, it is the jungle in which cattle breeders who need suitable human material feel at home. This is in direct opposition to Freud, who wanted to free human individuals, who was not interested in consumers. Eugenics and the sex industry are two sides of the same coin, because in both human worth bows down to the logic of capitalist value realisation.
Sexual researchers like Sigusch and Hirschfeld, who are rooted in pathological sexuality and who practice therapy as social control and domination, do not explain why they take sexuality out of civilization. Sigusch coined the phrase “normopath” for those whom he despises: the civilized people who follow the norms, whose opinions on sex are driven by a “toiletry-kit” mentality and thus destroy the “aura of mystery” that must be preserved in human relations (Sigusch). Against the rationality of capital, which still governs “behind the back,” unrecognized through the closed door of the bedroom, he, who was deeply affected and made insecure by his own failure as a liberator, sets -- the secret! The humble, unassuming, old secret. Sigusch became anti-enlightenment, not a critical enlightener like his teacher Adorno; an esoteric who exercised power in his therapy sessions with his secret knowledge. And so he belongs then with Hirschfeld, the know-it-all able to pass judgments on whose biology and psyche were worthy of life and whose were not. The conceited observer Hirschfeld, who advised lovers that it was better to divorce based on a questionaire about eugenics, and also made a killing on the side at the beginning of the sex industry by selling sex pills.
It was an insight of critical theory that attempts to defend a primal area of freedom within prevailing circumstances must fail, because the attempt just further cements the existing circumstances. It is now clear that Sigusch never fully understood this idea: emancipation is not a one-way street. Emancipation requires the individual to seek to (self-) civilize the last formerly secret corners of his psyche, because 'there is no right life in the wrong one.' The dialectic of societal- and self-change may not be fully understood today, but “secrets” do not solve that problem. Even before Adorno many doctors knew that – the ones who closed themselves to the eugenics craze and insisted that they had sworn their oath to the wellness of individuals, not to a “higher” breeding of an anonymous people or class body. It is a lie that eugenics was fully embraced in the first half of the 20th century. This lie is propagated in modern Germany by Hirschfeld fans above all, in order to relieve their guilt. There were always alternative ethical actions by those who served human rights.
Sigusch's portrayal of the IfSw in his history book is euphemistic to the point of making the reader sick. One would like to turn Sigusch's 1985 observation that Hirschfeld “at best [was] social and liberal” against its author. Sigusch is at best a Social Democrat of the middle, if not the “New Middle” of Germany's "red-green" utilitarian pro-capitalism Chancellor Gerhard Schröder! As if it were nothing, he writes sentence like “Here [in the IfSw] questions of eugenics such as 'suitability for marriage,' 'natural selection' and 'certificates of health' were discussed,” without even once asking the critical questions about these practices: suitable for marriage according to whose criteria? The criteria of the lovers themselves did not play a role for Hirschfeld, nor did love as a creteria, as his articles in the US press during his 1930-1931 trip to America showed.
Sigusch's chapter on the IfSw mythologizes the Hirschfeld-Institute along the well known legends and is completely ignorant about the more recent research about the political and societal world view of the Institute. His personal profiles of Hirschfeld's coworkers are not only full of holes, but are marked by a complete lack of knowledge about the true background of their world views and politics. You only have to look at his portrait of Arthur Kronfeld, whom Sigusch discusses at great length but completely ignorantly (359). There is nothing about the idealogical foundation of Kronfeld's work and research, nothing about his reliance on the mythical German-chauvinist volks-philosophy of the anti-Semite 19th century philosopher Jacob Friedrich Fries. There is nothing about Kronfeld's later homophobic diatribes (which we published in 2012, when the Kronfeld papers entered into the public domain.) Sigusch merely repeats Ingo-Wolf Kittel's outdated portrayals of Kronfeld. Kittel is an Augsburg residented psychiatrist and the head of a “philosophical practice” for psychotherapy based on esoteric meditation techniques. He is credited for plucking Kronfeld out of obscurity by writing articles in “sexology” journals, but he doesn't understand anything about what Kronfeld thought and did. (Read allabout Kronfeld here on the BIFFF…-website!). Sigusch writes, in order to make Kronfeld seem more important, that he studied under the psychiatrist Karl Bonhoeffer after his time at the IfSw. But he does not explain that after that Bonhoeffer was among the euthanasia doctors of the Nazi regime, whose opinions cost people their lives. He doesn't explain that Kronfeld, in Moscow exile since 1936, participated in the Stalinist persecutions, disguised as psychiatry, as BIFFF... will soon document in a new investigation of Kronfeld's work. Without further comment, Sigusch introduces the anti-Semite and National Socialist Carl Müller-Braunschweig, who in 1933 was one of those responsible for the expulsion of Jewish psychoanalysts, as someone who “of course” was “allied with the IfSw and the things for which it stood” when the Institute was founded.
Lonely Sigusch uncritically spouts the propaganda of the Hirschfeld apologists, attempting to curry their favor and looking for new allies. He offers them this: that the IfSw was a “sanctuary” for persecuted people – but Sigusch forgets to mention how Hirschfeld personally exploited needy young men, going so far as to use them for prostitution. In order to explain away Hirschfeld's cooperation as an expert witness during many prosecutions of sexual deviance in Berlin court proceedings, Sigusch says that he only participated “in order to reach a milder penalty or an acquittal.” (Hirschfeld apologists still remain utterly silent about this chapter in his life – they have never looked into the matter, although the transcripts of the trials are in archives in Berlin!) But take the case of Hirschfeld's evaluations of transvestites. He sought to enable them to change their gender on their identity papers. But this very process merely enables the smooth integration of deviants as cogs into the unquestioned machine. The people were supposed to seem ordinary when the police asked for their documents. But why, one would like to ask Sigusch and Hirschfeld, should a police officer at all check a “M” or “F” on a personal ID and then arrest those who are not wearing clothing that the officer finds suitable for their documented sex? Emancipation through blending in with oppression? Hirschfeld was not actually in pursuit of the civilizing or emancipation of (non-normative) sexuality during his court appearances, but actually sought its forced adherence to the categories of the Wilhelmine magistracy-society.
Under the heading “Sanctuary” Sigusch presents, completely without criticism, the sentence: “The [IfSw] archive and Sex Museum presented perverse, fearful/lustful sexualia the way that a museum of natural history stuffs and displays exotic animals.” Aren't there any critical comments necessary here? But Sigusch thinks the opposite: the IfSw was “a, if not the center of the professionally-based and left-liberal motivated sexual reform movement during the Weimar Republic.” Hirschfeld, on the other hand, thought that homosexuals were “degenerating” carriers of bad, sick genes!
Alpha and Omega:
The person as materal, presented:
Useful? Not useful? For whom? For the person himself or for the drivers of the World Wars? A patient serves Hirschfeld (above left, the fumbler) to pompously draw attention to himself and his "Zwischenstufenlehre" (doctrine of intermediate stages). The Berlin-based Magnus Hirschfeld Society shows this picture without further comment on their online exhibit The Institute for Sexology (1919-1933). (BIFFF... screen shot from the CD edition.)
The person, whose humanity was taken away by being an object of (special) treatment, presented by inhuman perpetrators:
Picture from Czewslaw Pilichowski: Es gibt keine Verjährung,
Warsaw 1980; Archive of the main commission for the investigation of Nazi crimes in Poland.
“Of personally integrity”?!
On one hand, Sigusch's view of the connections between sexual science, eugenics and preparation for the Nazi crimes of extermination serves to wash Hirschfeld clean, although Sigusch has to admit that in “special cases” the IfSw spoke out in favor of “forced sterilization” (which Hirschfeld apologists have continually denied.) On the other hand it just shows Sigusch's naiveté again. Sigusch seriously states that Hirschfeld's role model August Forel, “like most sexual researchers, had personal integrity and only wanted the best for the sick and for all of human kind.” Then he turns around and in the same breath cites Forel's clamor for “forced sterilization of the defective subhuman (untermensch).” Is it possible to have “personal integrity” when one speaks, like Forel, about a “defective subhuman (untermensch)?” Sigusch trivializes Forel's detractors: “His book Die sexuelle Frage (The Sexual Question), which was published first in 1905, went through many editions and was translated into many languages. The watchword of his book, and the entire era, was: betterment of 'human material,' extermination of useless and unfit people in terms of social aid and love.” Whose use? Whose fit? Sigusch, the scholar of Adorno, remains silent. And there it is again: Auschwitz as zeitgeist, as a “watchword of the entire era,” and according to Sigusch, who one would like to certify as deranged, this is also true in “social aid and love.” That is not a Forel quote, but a commentary from Sigusch on Forel's motives. Sigusch then further cites Forel, saying that he saw the “danger of the overgrowth that threatened human cultures through the great fertility of inferior human races,”(377). Sarrazin vobiscum! “Thereby,” Sigusch continues, quoting Forel, “he advised targeting 'especially the Chinese and other Mongols,' but also the 'Negro' and 'eventually' the Jewish race.” But behind this plan, he, “like most sexual researchers,” “had personal integrity?!”
Sigusch also cites Forel's list of those worthless lives that should be exterminated by “a painless death,” or the gracious alternative of being forcibly sterilized, and calls it “atrocious” (378). “Among those listed are 'first and foremost all criminals, insane, weak-minded, those with lessened sanity, the wicked, quarrelsome, ethically defective people,' and then later 'drug addicts,' 'those with a hereditary tendency towards tuberculosis, those with bodily sickness, those with rickets, hemophilia, the deformed and others who through inherited sicknesses or sick constitutions are not suitable for the procreation of a healthy human race.'” The haphazard nature of the list of victims mirrors the nature of those to be furthered. Sigusch quotes: “Forel had 'the socially useful people' in view in 1905, who would be 'especially good objects for [eugenic] propagation,' that is, 'those people who enjoy work, have agreeable and steady humors, and are good-natured and accommodating.'”
Forel belonged to the steering committee of Hirschfeld's "Weltliga für Sexualreform" (World League for Sexual Reform), a hodgepodge of eugenicists, and writers lacking notable education or trades who were sympathetic to the idea of eugenics – all of whom believed themselves to be the pride of creation. “No wonder,” says Sigusch, “that Hirschfeld continually vied for Forel's favor” and that Kronfeld was allowed to work at a clinic of Forel's son during his exile in Switzerland. It was also no wonder, though Sigusch doesn't mention it, that Hirschfeld followed Forel's ideas exactly in the forward to his 1933 book "Weltreise" (see our depiction above). Sigusch had already keyed his reader to this on page 350: “In today's view the [IfSw] relationship to the eugenic-racial cleansing movement of the time is problematic, which was misunderstood at the time to be forward-thinking and progressive” (emphasis mine). Here one notes again that Sigusch does not have any idea of the reactionary, extreme-right intellectual world of the IfSw participants that we already documented, and which exactly mirrors the extermination fantasies of the self-proclaimed elites against the “masses” of the “mob.” This “relationship” was in no way “problematic” as Sigusch wrote in 2008, but criminal and complicit! And not just “in today's view.” It was already criminal to forcibly sterilize people, or to offer “a painless death” to those whose agency and decision-making ability were taken away through psychiatry, and to clothe these actions in the ideology of eugenics (“good breeding”). Sigusch doesn't problematize the criteria used by these self-proclaimed brilliant people to measure those whom they saw as mere pebbles. Moreover he does not address who determines these criteria (through today, see the German politician Thilo Sarrazin).
Sigusch, who was searching for comrades, wants to see the positive in the gruesomeness they caused, because despite everything he feels that be belongs with them. “For me Hirschfeld is not an 'intellectual predecessor of fascism,'” Sigusch writes (386). “I have never asserted that he espoused Nazi or fascist ideas. But even if he had done that, to me he would still not be a 'predecessor' in the sense of a subject who is thinking ahead, as far as that can be isolated epistemologically, because he was far too insignificant a theorist.” The Nazi had merely “used” it. That is not logical or dialectical, that is the logic of the “secrets,” see above. The Setting Power determines who is the Brilliant, and it is the new epistemology not to question that. Sigusch's Hirschfeld apologism is old hat from pre-68 times. One is tempted to feel embarrassed for him. (Moreover, Hirschfeld did not need a theoretical-overhaul, because epistemologically viewed he was a functionalist; Sigusch also misjudges this.)
And Sigusch shows Hirschfeld as a Brilliant, politically pragmatic: “Which answers did Magnus Hirschfeld, the great defender of social democratic sexual politics, give? He never contradicted Forel. He called him 'the wisest and best of all modern Europeans' … In the third volume of his 'Geschlechtskunde' (1930 …) Hirschfeld declares himself for the 'weeding out of bad strains of humans,' for raising the people by using forced sterilization and castration.” (378)
Is Sigusch crazy? “Hirschfeld was not unscrupulous,” Sigusch writes farther, quoting Hirschfeld, because he worried about the “'large numbers' of those who needed to be managed”, who were suited for extermination. Sigusch also shows in a long quotation from the third volume of Hirschfeld's 1930 Geschlechtskunde exactly whom Hirschfeld believed should fill the mass graves (or crematoriums? or just sterilizing surgeries?), and how Hirschfeld's inexact terminology could have allowed him to put everyone in these categories: “calculations show 250,000 insane, just as many idiots and those with weak intellects, still larger numbers of psychopaths of all kinds. Moreover 90,000 epileptics, 120,000 alcoholics, 18,000 deaf, 36,000 blind, 70,000 recipients of welfare and additionally an army of cripples, vagabonds, prostitutes and criminals (every seventh grown man in Germany is previously convicted.) How heavily the hereditarily burdened portion of the populations weighs on the purse of the state" (it was 1930 – during the Great Depression, don't forget!) "follows from a calculation …" – we'll spare ourselves relating the monetary cost that Hirschfeld calculates “for the care of 33,000 inferior people in Prussia,” and instead quote from Sigusch's book, who relays Hirschfeld's conclusions from Geschlechtskunde: “Such numbers make it understandable that in Germany too the sterilization problem is increasingly drawing the attention of widening circles; on the other side are those who note the tremendous difficulties that would arise from forced sterilization, which actually would markedly relieve the entire body of people from the circles of people who are hereditarily burdened.”
Sigusch interprets this passage as if Hirschfeld was growing desperate of his own purposes of breeding a higher race of people. But there are no valid arguments for that point of view. Hirschfeld was a follower of Nietzsche – someone like that does not pause before a difficult task, but rather grows more resolved. You have to understand Hirschfeld's list – from which only escape the Jews (understandably), the Sinti and Roma, Social Democrats, Communists, Bolsheviks, Christians, homosexuals, etc. (except as they were included in Hirschfeld's formulation of “criminals (every seventh man...)”) - as a difficult task. And the Germans were actually undertaking this "task" quite soon ... Indeed before too long, after the government takeover by the Nazis, the racial cleansers and eugenicists addressed Hirschfeld's “tremendous difficulties.” And see: for the Germans it was actually possible to relieve their “entire body of people” of millions and millions of the “inferior” ones by executing Hirschfeld's list and more. And indeed at the beginning they even did so while Hirschfeld believed he should “wait out” the “Hitler experiments” to see what came of them as he wrote down in August 1933 (as Sigusch quoted in his 1985 Spiegel article).
Hirschfeld's “doubts” are found almost world-for-word in the Protocol of the Wannsee Conference, the meeting of mid-level German Nazi leadership on January 20, 1942 that is regarded as the deciding event in the murder of the European Jews. There is agreement in the content, and in part even the words, between Hirschfeld's 1930 Geschlechtskunde text and texts from the Conference, and it is astounding and horrifying that until now it has not seemed to occur to anyone except for BIFFF...! Here on one side we have Hirschfeld babbling about “the tremendous difficulties that would arise from forced sterilization, which actually would markedly relieve the entire body of people from the circles of people who are hereditarily burdened,” and Sigusch quoting his idol exoneratively and stating that “Hirschfeld was not unscrupulous.” Meanwhile, State Secretary Wilhelm Stuckart from the Interior Ministry (SS-member number 280 042 and co-author with Hans Globke of the legal commentary on the Nuremberg racial laws) revealed these same “scruples” at the Wansee conference, as the topic of prohibiting “mixing” between “Aryans” and ”Jews” came up (a difficulty for racists that Hirschfeld was familiar with from the USA in terms of white, Asian, and Black people). Stuckart was dubious about the “practical follow-through” of the “correction” of his “Aryan” body of people, because “this would bring with it an unending administration” and called for “proceeding to forced sterilization.” One can read this in the only copy of the protocol of the murder-conference that has yet been found.
"Wansee Conference" from 1942
The protocol includes passages that are almost word-for-word the same as part of Hirschfeld's 1930 work Geschlechtskunde:
Above: Excerpt from page 14 of the Protocol of the Wansee Conference of January 20, 1942, in which the possibilities of killing the European Jews were debated.
Below: Excerpt from page 11 of the Protocol of the Wansee Conference. The SS-murderer babbles about the “voluntary” sterilization of “mixed” children: “evacuation” was code for deportation into death camps:
The supposed “voluntary” nature of the sterilization that Hirschfeld advocated for unwished people is still used by Hirschfeld's fans at the Magnus Hirschfeld Society in Berlin to exonerate their idol. This despite the fact that Hirschfeld himself, as Sigusch quotes (see above) actually wrote about “forced sterilization” in "Geschlechtskunde".
Below: Those who have been in legal trouble, whom Hirschfeld included in his list of the unwanted who should be sterilized (“every seventh grown man in Germany is previously convicted...,”) are also included in the Wansee Conference protocols. People who fail “police judgment” are “equal to the Jews” (part of page 12).
(All BIFFF... screenshots are from the original Protocol of the Wansee-Conference,
as published by Der Spiegel in PDF form.)
Hirschfeld's criticism of the Nazi sterilization-craze, which he published in 1934-1935, was only concerned with the fact that the efforts of the racial cleansers and eugenicists were turned against the Jewish population; he shared a belief in the same principles as the Nazis. In 1935 he even decided that their 1933 eugenics “Gesetz zur Verhinderung erbkranken Nachwuchses" (Law to Hinder Genetically Sick Offspring) was too lax, because it left out the sterilization of Hirschfeld's favorite enemies, the “drug addicts” and “alcoholics.”
Sigusch, who does not see the parallels to the Wannsee Conference (or who perhaps does not recognize them or does not want to see them), does allude to Hirschfeld's support for the “Saxon Medical Officer Dr. Gustav Boeters,” one of the most aggressive propagandists for the extermination of people in the Weimar Republic, who taught Hirschfeld about the issue. Sigusch quotes from Hirschfeld's Geschlechtskunde, in which Hirschfeld remarked that Boeters applied to humans the principles “'>that every gardener uses on weeds<'”(380). And Sigusch further alludes to the fact that Hirschfeld is in agreement with Boeters' hatred of “human weeds” and “every freeloader,” and shares Boeters' complaint that “from year to year, taking care of the army of those unworthy for life devours ever-increasing enormous sums.”
“Since Auschwitz,” Sigusch now strangely thinks, “every note of animosity against humans must be taken at face value.” But that is wrong, because in 1930 and earlier such a “note” was already criminal and against human rights. Already in the 1920s several IfSw participants based their work on the ideas of the ideas of the philosopher Fries who was an anti-Semite focussed on the extermination of Jews, and Boeters' complaint (quoted by Sigusch in Hirschfeld's Geschlechtskunde), that “parliament and national government” rejected Boeters' suggestions of extermination, shows what the zeitgeist than actually was: the vast majority of the people rejected the anti-humanity politics of Hirschfeld, Boeters, Forel and all of the like-minded people in the "Weltliga für Sexualreform" (World League for Sexual Reform). That also goes for Hirschfeld's few intermittent collaborators in the Socialdemocratic Party SPD, who, unlike Hirschfeld, put aside their eugenics-politics when they couldn't find a majority in their party in the 1920s. Sigusch doesn't say anything about this episode, as he ignores the research and work of all but fans of Hirschfeld. But it was “those who do not participate” (Hannah Arendt), who are the true idols – who were against Hirschfeld and his consorts.
To be fair, one must note that Sigusch, despite his attempt to downplay its historical meaning, at least sees the relationship between sexology and racial cleansing/eugenics, which is actually impossible to overlook: racism always begins with sex. Sigusch's fellow Hirschfeld acolyte Christina von Braun, whom he mentions often and glowingly in his Geschichte der Sexualwissenschaft book, sees it entirely otherwise. The filmmaker at the Cultural Institute at the Berlin Humboldt University, who has issued many pronouncements (some say she gossips about everything and everyone), and whose garrulousness has even been mocked in the newspaper Die Welt, denied this connection in an interview with the leading Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel on the occasion of the 100th World Women's Day in 2011 with this synopsis:
(BIFFF...-Screenshot "Tagesspiegel" online March 8, 2011)
[translation:] around 1875 for the first time one could observe the fertilization of an egg with sperm under a microscope. From this arose on one hand the eugenics and the ideas of reproduction as a laboratory and on the other hand sexology, which was interested in sex without reproduction. The interest in homosexuality had to do with this second strain.
On the one hand, on the other hand, “… had to do with:” yes, it's true that everything in the universe somehow has something to do with everything else, but must Berlin really finance von Braun for this realization? And is it really so hard to understand why the conservatives took the chance to cut funding to Sigusch's Frankfurt Institute after he retired?
This kind of sexual science almost hits bottom in Sigusch's depiction of the “destruction of the first Institute for Sexology by the Nazis” in his 2008 history book. His only source is an anonymous “eyewitness” from Willi Münzenberg's extremely homophobic 1933 "Braunbuch über Reichstagsbrand und Hitler-Terror" (Brown Book about the Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror). Historians of all ideological stripes hold this text as completely unusable as a source. The text is interesting only on a meta level, in relation to the question: What did the exileds in Paris cook up, in an effort to mobilize the up to then sluggish world public opinion against the terrors of the new Hitler regime, a regime whose unabashed terrorism was actually an object of envy to many politicians in other countries? Sigusch continues today to take this understandable and, at the time of its writing, even may be sensible propaganda at face value. He doesn't once discuss the open homophobia of the Braunbuch.
Just how wrong he is about this “source” is shown in lines from the Braunbuch about the destruction of the IfSw. The Brounbuch claims that books by George Sylvester Viereck, an open Nazi, self-declared friend of Hitler and also a near friend of Hirschfeld (see below), were taken by Hitler Youth and Storm Trooper leaders out of the IfSw and burned (Sigusch 368). But at the time of the destruction of the IfSw Viereck was already in open service to the Nazis as the propagandist of their politics in the USA (see below). One can even assume that Viereck's name made it into the Braunbuch thanks to Hirschfeld himself. Hirschfeld arrived in Paris on May 14, 1933, where he met Willi Münzenberg, his tenant from 1918, when he lived in a house next to the IfSw that was owned by Hirschfeld. Münzenberg was working on the Braunbuch as the biggest publication attempt by the Paris exiles; the book was published in August 1933. Hirschfeld corresponded at least until October 1933 with his old friend Viereck, whom he hoped would offer him exile in the USA. The motivations were clear: to scare the extreme-right German-friendly circles around Viereck in the hope that they would turn away from Nazi Germany, when they heard that Nazi hordes burned even Viereck's books. But Viereck and his people did the opposite and threw their support fully behind the Nazis; Viereck himself explicitly agreed to a Nazi ban on some of his writings. And nevertheless Hirschfeld refused to break with his old friend (see below).
No, Ground Zero of this kind of sexual “science” is finally reached when Sigusch misquotes from a letter that is allegedly from Hirschfeld to Viereck (see below), thus giving him an opportunity to quote himself (which of course is much more important than checking one's sources!):
“But 'tragically,' so I said and will continue to say, Hirschfeld 'to the end didn't suspect' the ideas of eugenic extermination – which a letter, written from exile to his friend George Sylvester Viereck on October 30, 1933 and discovered by Atina Grossmann … in the collections of the Kinsey Institute, shows. In this letter he writes: 'Doubtless, the cleansing process that is presently being put through in Germany is in many respects that which we have long wished for, but the costs of these measures, the violence and especially the intolerance, are too high a price to pay for it.'” (emphasis P. K.)
Sigusch does not mention who the Nazi Viereck was, although Grossmann (a well regarded historian at the private New York college Cooper Union) introduces him with the words: “Viereck, who was seen as a Nazi-Apologist in the USA,” before she gives the alleged quote. Sigusch just remains silent, and Hirschfeld's incontrovertibly scandalous letter shows (much like the entirely scandalous decades-long friendship between the two men), that Sigusch's words “didn't suspect” hardly describe what was actually going on. Below we further place the letter into its context within Hirschfeld's efforts. The letter, by the way, is typed on Hirschfeld's Paris letterhead and is hand-signed with a signature that doesn't look quite like other Hirschfeld signatures.
But in any event, the quote is entirely wrong! A photocopy of the alleged document is in the Haeberle-Hirschfeld Archives for Sexology (HHA) at the University Library at Humboldt University in Berlin. BIFFF...-leader and psychologist Peter Kratz, former lecturer in psychology at the University of Bonn, was, in February 2011, the first who was interested in looking at this photocopy in the HHA, and was the first to recognize its meaning. The real sentence in the HHA photocopy runs: “Doubtless, the unification process that is now being put through in Germany is in some respects that which we too have long wished for, but the costs of these procedures, the violent measures and especially the intolerance, are stakes that are too high.”
The deviations from the Grossmann/Sigusch version are considerable; especially politically important is the difference between “cleaning process” [Reinigungsprozess] in the Grossmann/Sigusch version and “unification process” [Einigungsprozess] in the HHA photocopy of the original (if this copy and the original are real, see below.)
Hirschfeld's letter to George Sylvester Viereck (excerpt):
[translation]: "October 30, 1933 … Dear G.S.! It's too bad that we didn't speak during your visit to Europe. When I read in the newspaper that you [had landed] in Hamburg” ...
... "Certainly, the unification process that is being carried out in Germany in some respects is what we have been longing for, but the cost of this procedure, the violence and above all the intolerance are all too high stakes." ...
...“Personally I'm doing fine, only my health leaves much to be desired.
Dr. M. Hirschfeld.”
Pictures above: Screenshot excerpts from a photocopy of a two-paged letter, allegedly from Hirschfeld in Paris to Viereck on October 30, 1933. From the HHA, Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm Center, temporary archive numbers of both photocopied sheets: 128.8-1 and 128.8-2.
In the Grossmann/Sigusch version the sentence can be read simply in reference to Hirschfeld's eugenics politics, as Sigusch did: as a cleansing of the body of the people of “weeds,” like a gardener. But in the original, Hirschfeld's statement goes far beyond the narrow boundaries of eugenics (which Hirschfeld doesn't even address in the letter!), about which some would even say today: “Well, 'weeds' is indeed a mean word, but embryo screening, if used properly, is a good thing for parents!” But the national “unification process” of Germany into a total dictatorship points instead to a unified political and societal goal that both old friends openly shared. (Hirschfeld, the one who at the beginning of the 1920s had already been brutally beaten by Hitler Youth on the street, and who especially hated Adolf Hitler as the leading anti-Semite, and Viereck, the Nazi and self-declared friend of Hitler, who at the beginning of the 1920s had already personally interviewed his “Führer,” and who published the interview in his own US newspaper. He then, in 1932, published an edited version in a broschure and in the US newspaper Liberty - in which Hirschfeld, with Viereck's help, had wrtten in 1931 about his eugenics work at IfSw.) Yes, the friends shared the political goal of a “formed society," in which there was just as little room for Marxist class struggle as for the democratic struggle between parties of citizens as for the diverse freedoms of diverse minorities, including the sexual minorities that Hirschfeld and his at one point close co-worker, the psychologist Arthur Kronfeld, held for biologically “degenerate.” Thus viewed, Hirschfeld's connections to the politics of eugenics seem even more dangerous, because it becomes clear how the caprice of Forel's list of those to be exterminated reaches directly into politics and social politics.
It's interesting to look at the forgery of the quote from Hirschfeld's letter more closely, because it's a shining example of today's apologist Hirschfeld research and historical writing about Hirschfeld. It is no longer just revisionist history, but rather a broad falsification of history. Sigusch took the quote from Atina Grossmann's lecture “Magnus Hirshfeld, Sexualreform und die Neue Frau: Das Institut für Sexualwissenschaft und dasWeimarer Berlin" (Magnus Hirschfeld, Sexual Reform and the New Woman: The Institute for Sexology and Weimar Berlin,” which she delivered at the conference “Der Sexualreformer Magnus Hirschfeld: Ein Leben im Spannungsfeld von Wissenschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft" (The Sexual Reformer Magnus Hirschfeld: A Life Suspended Between Science, Politics, and Society), which took place in 2003 in Potsdam. It was organized in cooperation between the Moses Mendelssohn Center (MMZ) at the University of Potsdam, the Institute for Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt University, and the Magnus Hirschfeld Society of Berlin. BIFFF... openly criticized the conferece at the time. The talks at the conference were published in a volume, given the same title as the conference, that was edited by Elke-Vera Kotowski and Julius H. Schoeps (both from the MMZ). Sigusch took his quote from this volume (Berlin, 2004, Grossmann's lecture pages 201 – 216). He did not read the original of the alleged Hirschfeld letter to Viereck, and also did not see the photocopy, as BIFFF...-leader Kratz did.
We do not know whether Grossmann conducted her lecture in English and used an English text for the book that was then falsely translated back into German by the editors, her coworkers, or the publisher of the conference book. That would be one easy explaination for the errors: Grossmann had translated the Hirschfeld letter from the German original into English, and others translated it back into German without comparing it to the original. In English the difference between unification ("Einigung") and cleansing ("Reinigung") is much bigger than it is in German – they are two entirely different words. The errors would have been apparent. In any event neither the editors Kotowski and Schoeps nor the press took care to proofread the supposed letter against the original. This sort of slipshod research of Hirschfeld apologists is also indicated in footnote 14 of Grossmann's text in the conference book, in which she gives the source of the letter as the “Hirschfeld Collection, Konsey Institute, Bloomington, Indiana.” Yes, that's right, “Konsey Institute” stands there instead of “Kinsey Institute.” So much for the careful academic work of Kotowski and her boss at the MMZ, Schoeps, who for years has written more as an ideologue than a serious historian.
At the heart of this kind of Hirschfeld research rests a blatant lie: whatever doesn't fit into the idealogical concept is made to fit. Suspicion is properly directed at Grossmann, whose article (in which the word apologist is not strong enough to describe her admiration for Hirschfeld) also alludes to her family connections with Hirschfeld (203). Still more: Grossmann invents that Hirschfeld wrote the unification/“cleaning” quotation “in response to the sterilization law of the Nazis in 1933” (205). But there is no mention of eugenics or this Nazi law in the letter (see the entire text of the letter). The quote has much more to do with Hirschfeld's remark that his friend Viereck, as expected, had succumbed to “the Hitler suggestion.” Thus the thought process of the letter taken as a whole matches exactly our interpretation (see above). And here the question arises whether Grossmann, whose forgery has now been, with Sigusch's help, preserved in the literature, has ever even seen the letter, to say nothing of “discovering” it, as Sigusch claims that she did. The editors of the conference reader, Kotowski and Schoeps, gave no thought to that. But we are again vindicated in our critique of the conference (at which, by the way, Christina von Braun again had something to say, and indeed something that was almost word-for-word the same as she said in the Tagesspiegel interview eight years earlier) as well as our critique of the resulting book. A book that today is in almost every gay bookstore, in an effort to have something serious about the history of the movement next to the porn.
We at BIFFF... are not only the first ones to look at the photocopy of the original letter and prove that the quote was wrong, but also the first ones to question the overall authenticity of the letter. Grossmann claims that the Hirschfeld material at the Kinsey Institute, which HHA founder Erwin J. Haberle obviously drew on - he worked there for a long time in the 1980s, comes from Hirschfeld's friend Harry Benjamin, who preserved it for decades and then gave it over to the Institute (206). Benjamin is certainly one of our unreliable sources: nature-apostle and psycho-esoteric in the tradition of Gurdijeff, he worked as a resident physician in New York and San Francisco, conducted hormone experiments in an attempt to cure homosexuality, wrote about this and that and was hardly a great light of science, even if interested circles today credit him with the “discovery” of transsexualism. These are the same circles, by the way, in which the Hirschfeld apologists are found. How did Benjamin come to have a letter that Hirschfeld sent to Viereck? Benjamin could have falsified this letter in order to make himself, as a friend of Hirschfeld, important- and interesting-seeming, for example to Alfred Kinsey, with whom Benjamin became acquainted long after Hirschfeld's death. The letter is typed, and says that it's from Paris, but it has German umlauts in it. On a French typewriter? Maybe at the end of Hirschfeld's world travels, when he was in Austria or Switzerland (in 1932! And not, as J. Edgar Bauer wrongly states on page 271 of the Kotowski/Schoeps reader: “Hirschfeld's trip, which took place between November 1930 and April 1931;” the error is also on the HU-HHA website, which reprinted this text from Bauer – the apologists never get it right! In his text “Adam's Death,” which originally was published by Manfred Herzer in the collection of lectures 100 Jahre Schwulenbewegung (100 Years of the Gay Rights Movement) and is also – as a “revised edition”! - on the HHA website, Bauer even claims that Hirschfeld first started his journey to America in 1931: “1931, as he went to America,” – one can't believe that such people are taken as the legitimate interpreters of the “Hirschfeld œuvre!” (Bauer) Still more: Herzer himself, up to now the only German-language biographer of Hirschfeld, wrote in September 2011 in his unspeakably error-filled article Magnus Hirschfeld Lehre von den sexuellen Zwischenstufen und der Historische Materialismus (Magnus Hirschfeld's Doctrine of Intermediate Stages in Sexuality and Historical Materialism) in Volume 293 of the formerly Marxist publication Das Argument, that Hirschfeld traveled to the USA in 1931: “At the beginning of 1931, shortly before he left Germany, which was increasingly broken by Nazi terrors...” (566)! In his Hirschfeld biography's, “second, revised edition” in 2001, Herzer wrote correctly “November 1930.” What should one do with an Argument magazine, in which in the first paragraph of the first article from the first and only Hirschfeld-biographer such a central date in Hirschfeld's life is wrong? Throw it in the trash and cancel the subscription!) – To begin again: Maybe at the end of Hirschfeld's world travels, when he was in Austria or Switzerland in 1932 (!) he bought a typewriter with German letters in order to write his Weltreise World Journeys, and he brought it with him to Paris. The Hirschfeld signature on the Viereck letter is unusual compared to others.
Maybe there is no original at all, and the example that Grossmann is supposed to have found in the Kinsey-Institute is also just a photocopy, maybe one patched together by Benjamin. Who will go there and look?
Benjamin and Viereck were acquainted with each other and had contact with each other in New York, arranged by Hirschfeld. At the point of this letter Viereck was already in the service of the Nazi regime, and Benjamin was of Jewish heritage. But Benjamin in his eighties still referred to Viereck as “our mutual friend” (see below). There are evidently no more extant letters from Viereck to Hirschfeld, because there are none listed in the US archive where Viereck's correspondence is kept, and none were presented to us at the HHA. Hirschfeld's letter to Viereck on October 30, 1933 is still the last verifiable contact between the two (that is, if it is real). But who knows what may yet be found in the autograph market of US antique stores!
Perhaps Benjamin was not the source of the Kinsey Institute, as Grossmann, who never critically investigated the letter, believes, but rather Viereck himself. Because there is proof in US archives of correspondence between Alfred Kinsey and Viereck.
A critical examination of the Hirschfeld scene comes up against such ponderable and imponderable questions again and again. The apologists simply turn away.
Let's presume that the text is real. The original version with the “unification process” of the German people, which was finally “put through” in 1933, shows the continuity of Hirschfeld's thoughts: his wild celebration of the beginning of World War I as a unifications process of the Germans in a people's war against the French, which Sigusch explicitly quoted and critiqued in his Spiegel article in 1985 (see above), is a little bit more measured in October 1933. Hirschfeld at this point was older and not in good health – so one doesn't shout “Hurray!” quite as loudly as in 1914, when Hirschfeld quoted Goethe, saying “'How everything weaves itself into the whole, One in the other works and lives!'” The German “war Socialism,” out of which fascism and National Socialism developed as communal ideologies of national and economic forms (and in which Lenin, astoundingly, saw a model for the Soviet planned economy!) was always Hirschfeld's political goal: the “social eugenics” within the SPD were part of this, as well as Hirschfeld's contacts with the Noske-faction of the SPD. Hirschfeld's idea of the “people's community as a homogeneous body of people” from his plan for the “nationalization of health care” in 1919 fit in with this idea, as well as the goal that this plan should serve: “Germany [...], which from the hard calamities of these days will rise up to new fortune and new strength.” Sigusch missed his chance to understand this continuity through his unverified misquote.
The circle around Hirschfeld assembled in these anti-democratic and anti-liberal forms of society, a circle that overlapped with the circle around the authoritarian ideologue Leonard Nelson, Kronfeld's idol, as our study “From Antisemitism to Homophobia” proved. It also overlapped with the ideas of the Nelson circle's "Internationaler Sozialistischer Kampfbund ISK" (International Socialist Combat League) and their newspaper Der Funke, which in 1932-1933 fought against the “false” leader of the Nazis and fought for the supposedly “right” leader of the Nelsonites – and both were against the pluralistic Weimar democracy.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine FAZ newspaper has just reminded readers of the parallels in Spain under Franco's fascism, where a political eugenics developed against left-wingers and democrats. This eugenics espoused the biological and medical “unworthiness” of those who fought for human emancipation in the tradition of the French and American revolutions and Marxism. This was based on the work of the German biological constitution-psychiatrist Ernst Kretschmer, a Nazi and supportive member of the SS, who as the “judge of the court of hereditary heath” made decisions about forced sterilization, who was directly involved with euthanasia actions, and who, according to Sigusch (who remains silent on all of Kretschmer's connections with the Nazi crimes) was “friends” with Kronfeld (359).
Lack of knowledge was always a tenant of religious education. Sigusch is beyond this stage and has moved into the stage of reinterpreting that which disturbs the belief but can't be denied away, even if it means having to push a few changed letters into the holy sentences. Yes, the enemy-loving Jesus can become capable of violence, but only for a higher purpose, against the money changers who desecrate God's temple with the earthly. Who would doubt Jesus' integrity on this point? Yes, Hirschfeld, Forel, and Boeters wanted to “weed out,” but just in “social aid and love” and with “personal integrity” (Sigusch). Hirschfeld, the contradictory, the enigmatic, the opaque, secretive, in holy naiveté, for many completely immaculate. So it has been constructed since the 1980s. But the religion of Hirschfeld can also be enlightened.
(BIFFF... screenshot, FAZ online, March 9, 2011, from the article by Paul Ingendaay,
“Stealing Children in Spain, Eugenics under Franco).
We claim that Hirschfeld was sympathetic to the pro-fascist (Noske) wings of the Social Democrats and in many instances (not only in his worship of Nietzsche and Haeckel) stood closer to the “Konservative Revolution" (conservative revolution, "Alt Right" in nowadays) than the Weimar democracy, that he had in mind a fascist-planned “modern” society and in no way the West-oriented left-liberal guarantee of individual freedom and the equal treatment of each individual before the law. This claim is supported not only through the correction version of his quote regarding national unity, but is also borne out by an investigation of his dealings with fascist and fascist-influenced friends in the USA, which whom Viereck brought his old friend Hirschfeld in contact.
One should never forget that large parts of the original fascist movement lacked the antisemitic factor.
The Nazi Viereck organized Hirschfeld's USA trip
Hirschfeld's world travels began in November 1930 with his departure for New York. His book about those travels, Weltreise eines Sexualforschers im Jahr 1931/1932 (World Journeys of a Sexual Researcher in the Years 1931/1932), begins with his trip away from San Francisco in March of 1931. The book was published in Zürich in 1933 and today is available for purchase in a new edition. His time in the USA from November 1930 through March 1931 has been until now mostly unknown and unresearched, despite the fact that he seems to have planned his further travels to Asia and the continuation around the world while he was in the USA. BIFFF... is the first to shed some light in this darkness with the first publication about Hirschfeld's statements and articles from this trip, and will publish excerpts of these articles with commentary. With the help of the German-American extreme-right writer and politician George Sylvester Viereck these articles of Hirschfeld appeared in US newspapers and periodicals that belonged to the Hearst corporation, Viereck's occasional employer. It emerges from these articles that Hirschfeld attempted to propagate his views on eugenics in the USA because he hoped for greater resonance there. He had reason to hope for this because in some American states there had come already eugenic laws about sterilization and forced sterilization of people who were defined as “disabled” into force; there were also legal prohibitions of marriage between whites and blacks or Asians. These laws were justified either using the veiled language of eugenics or in some cases, open racism.
Hirschfeld even opens the first chapter of his Weltreise book with the fact that he was seen off in San Francisco by the city's German Consul General. That was Werner Otto von Hentig, at that point already a known agent of the “national revolutionaries” in the “conservative revolution” in Germany. (That term was coined by Armin Mohler in his 1950 book, which offered an overview of the extreme-right anti-democratic strains that more or less quickly and completely flowed into National Socialism. The "Alt Right" of today refers to this.) (Werner Otto von Hentig was also the father of the well-known modern pedagogue Hartmut von Hentig.) Hirschfeld writes in a style that indicates how well he thinks of himself, noting that “23 people accompanied me on board, among whom was the German Consul General Hentig – known for his bold riding during the World War from Kabul in Afghanistan to the Chinese coast. He brought a parting gift for me of some books he had published and gave me his thanks for what I had done for Germany's reputation in America, as an advocate of German science.”
The diplomat von Hentig, an adventurer and a shifty character, had tried during the First World War to foment rebellion among tribal chiefs in Central Asia against British colonial rule, which the German Empire thought would weaken the British and offer Germany advantages in the European war. Hirschfeld and his colleagues were at the same time excited devotees of the German war policies and German Kaiser Wilhelm II, while Viereck advocated for these politics in the USA (see below). Hentig, who received the order of the “Cross of the Knight with the Swords of the Kingly Order of the House of the Hohenzollern” from the hand of Wilhelm II, left the diplomatic service off and on and was active with his brother Hans von Hentig in the German resistance to the beginning of the Weimar Republic against the republic. (His brother was also a national revolutionary of the first post-war hours, and wrote the book Das Deutsche Manifest The German Manifest. He then was an eugenic criminologist and advocate for racial cleansing, who held “Negroes” for especially biologically inclined towards criminality. After 1945 he fought for the “criminalization” of homosexuals.) In 1923-1924 the brothers were involved in the Thuringian communist uprising; at that point the KPD believed that it could ally itself with the “war Socialist” groups in the Weimar armed forces and the Noske-faction of the SPD, and military units held maneuvers in the Soviet Union, which was against the Treaty of Versailles. Later Werner Otto von Hentig became a close friend of the Nazi-dissenter Otto Strasser, who at the beginning of the 1920s moved from the SPD to the Nazis, developed his own version of a “German Socialism” (Prussian fascism) and left the Nazis in 1930 due to the pro-capitalist policies of the Hitler-Göring majority faction.
Returning to the foreign office, Werner Otto von Hentig led the Orient Division and was the Nazi contact person to Mohammed al-Husseini, the “Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,” a Hitler-fan and tireless helper of the effort to exterminate European Jews. During World War II Husseini aspired to expand that extermination to Middle Eastern, and especially “Palestinian” Jews of the Zionist settlement movement, with the help of Expeditionary Corps from the Wehrmacht. In April 1945 Hentig personally helped Husseini, the most important connection between the extermination antisemitism of the Nazis and the Islamic antisemitism of the Middle East, flee from Berlin (where he had lived since 1941) to Switzerland. On April 28, 2010 the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote that Hentig had championed the idea of publishing an Arabic translation of Hitler's Mein Kampf. He believed that its distribution would generate wide-reading sympathy in the Arab world, and that it would be of great propagandistic worth to Hitler Germany. Hentig received numerous Nazi Orders, including the “Romanian Remembrance Medal 'Crusade against Communism'” in 1943, and was graded as a “chief culprit” during de-nazification proceedings.
After a break Hentig again appeared in the diplomatic service of the foreign office in the 1950s, now for the Federal Republic of Germany, and made a name for himself as an opponent of Adenauer's policies of integration with the West. He kept in close touch with Nazis in hiding in Arab states. In the 1960s von Hentig, Wolf Schenke and other former Nazis formed extreme-right “neutral” political small groups that worked against Germany's entrance into NATO. Schenke was previously a functionary of the national leadership of the Hitler Youth, who worked at the Nazi Party Paper Völkischer Beobachter. He was the agent of Nazi Germany in Japanese-occupied Shanghai (one of the main sanctuaries for exiled European Jews, whom Schenke rooted out. For this he was brought before a war tribunal after the war by the USA, but was acquitted). Hentig also wrote anti-Israel articles in Schenke's paper Neue Politik, in which Otto Strasser also published. (More about this scene on this BIFFF…-website, just use the search function at the beginning of the entry side.)
One has to know something about Werner Otto von Hentig and his politics in order to truly read and understand Hirschfeld's Weltreise book.
Certainly one can not hold Magnus Hirschfeld, who died in exile in France in 1935, responsible for the development of his acquaintances and friends in the following decades. This warning will become even more important in our accounts below.
But it will also become clear that the political person Hirschfeld, who in the 1910s and 1920s was involved with many politicians, who made political demands and who helped write bills, was hardly unknowing and naive in 1931 about the anti-democratic national revolutionaries in service of the Weimar Republic that Werner Otto von Hentig had approached. Hirschfeld's mention of Hentig's oh-so-heroic “ride” in World War I, which served anti-British uprisings and the German war goals, and which von Hentig had portrayed in his book Von Kabul nach Shanghai (From Kabul to Shanghai), proves this. It can also be surmised, in the context of von Hentig's remark that his guest Hirschfeld was the “advocate of German science in America” (relayed proudly by Hirschfeld), that Hirschfeld and von Hentig had talked in San Francisco about the eugenic racial-cleansing criminology work of Hentig's brother Hans, which had been published in Germany at around that time, and was a topic of mutual interest and small talk.
They knew each other, they knew about each other, they each praised the other. At least that. One can say that, without doing Hirschfeld an injustice. The question arises whether and how Hirschfeld profited from Hentig's old Shanghai contacts during his trip to China; if Hentig opened doors for him there.
But it is already clear that Hirschfeld profited from his sojourn in the USA. In the same statement from August 1933, in which he called for patience with the “Hitler experiments” and which Sigusch published verbatim and complete (see above), Hirschfeld admits to having learned “in California” that the human “trials” that took place there had given “in most cases a favorable result for sterilization” (385). (Once again, the authenticity of these words are called into question in the new edition of Sigusch, because it becomes clear that it was just taken from an unknown person's gossip about a “conversation” that Hirschfeld is said to have had with another unknown person.) But then, Hirschfeld himself uttered doubts about eugenics because of the many open questions about the inheritance of human characteristics. Seizing word-for-word an argument of the neurologist and Hirschfeld-critic Albert Moll, Hirschfeld said “It suffices to think about Beethoven alone, whose father was an alcoholic. One must wait out Hitler's experiments, before one speaks out about them. Not only for scientific reasons. Because it's in no way sure that the National Socialists are acting purely for purposes of eugenics. One has greater reason to fear that they use sterilization less in order to 'breed the race higher,' and more in order to exterminate their enemies. The events of the last months offer enough indications to ground such fears.”
Stick that you have been, Once again stand still! (Goethe, The Sorcerer's Apprentice)
Hirschfeld had known what was going on at least since the early 1920s, when he was attacked on a public street by Nazis. Why then this “waiting out?” The man was simply unteachable, like the sorcerer's apprentice. And the masters of the sorcery, the “secrets” of the “high powers,” were the “masters from Germany” as Goethe would never have dreamed: more faustian than Faust himself. And no sissy could stop them. In the same year, 1933, Hirschfeld again rested his hopes on eugenics (see above) in the forward to his Weltreise book. At the end of the year he wrote the lines to Viereck (see above), that the “unification” of his beloved Germany, which the Nazis were then executing, was also his goal, only less brutal: “painless death” like Forel, but dead still.
We have the very dubious Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft (MHG) and its partly dubious funders like the author Marita Keilson-Lauritz to thank for the fact that a letter from Hirschfeld to Viereck from October 22, 1930 was purchased in “a US antiquities shop,” as the MHG writes. The letter, evidently from the Viereck estate, which had been partially sold off in the US, was published on the MHG website in December 2005. In it, Hirschfeld asks Viereck to organize his trip to America and to prepare for him a “worthy welcome” in New York. It is the tragedy of all of the MHG backers that because of this letter, Hirschfeld's connections to prominent US right-wing extremists, which he had already cultivated in the 1910s and 1920s from and in Berlin, became better known. Hirschfeld's “sexual science” and politics must now be categorized in a way that runs counter to the efforts of the MHG to idealize their hero. It may be doubted whether the MHG understood the weight of their decision to put the letter on the Internet. The name George Sylvester Viereck alone, a German-American extreme right-wing writer and politician whose decades-long close friendship to Hirschfeld had until this point played no role in research into Hirschfeld, destroys more than twenty years of work of Hirschfeld apologists trying to polish the legacy of their idol.
That Hirschfeld's US trip was entirely dependent on Viereck's support shows how close the friendship between the two was. It certainly was closer than Hirschfeld's friendship with Harry Benjamin, his colleague in the sexual sciences. Benjamin was a member of the International Committee of Hirschfeld's World League for Sexual Reform and served as the organization's North American proxy. Benjamin also offered his support for Hirschfeld's arrival in New York. Hirschfeld asked Viereck in the MHG letter if he would like to get in contact with Benjamin about the “worthy reception.” A letter from Hirschfeld to Benjamin from October 14, 1930, whose photocopy can be found in the HHA shows that Hirschfeld used the formal form of “you” with Benjamin (Archive-Nr: 0561-2). In the MHG letter to Viereck (a contemporary of Benjamin) he uses the informal version of “you.” Copies of other letters to Viereck in the HHA also show Hirschfeld using the informal pronoun. That did not change after their time in New York, because in a letter to Benjamin from San Francisco on February 25, 1931, whose photocopy is also in the HHA, he continues to use the formal “you” (assuming that all these photocopies with their varying signatures are real.)
The meaning of the Hirschfeld-Viereck relationship has never been a subject of research, despite the fact that Viereck visited Hirschfeld whenever he made one of his frequent European trips in the 1910s and 1920s, and despite the fact that at the end of 1933 Hirschfeld still hoped that Viereck would help him come to the United States in exile (see below). In the well known Hirschfeld biography by Manfred Herzer (and it is well known despite being unspeakably bad, full of holes, and often entirely wrong), Viereck, Hirschfeld's long-time and important friend, is not even mentioned! (Magnus Hirschfeld: Leben und Werk eines jüdischenschwulen und sozialistischen Sexologen, Life and Work of a Jewish, Gay and Socialist Sexologist, 2nd revised edition, Hamburg 2001)
Besides BIFFF..., which by 2008 had already suggested the meaning of this relationship to the assessment of Hirschfeld's sexual politics, none of the (apologist) Hirschfeld researchers seemed to be interested. In the last decade the research surrounding this much-lauded “sexologist” seems to have ground to a halt. Even the 2003 conference didn't bring any really new discoveries, but just served to preserve a monument.
After we began to illuminate the political background and ideology of the IfSw founders in 2003, with the publication of a work about Hirschfeld's close coworker Arthur Kronfeld, there was only the publication of the Hirschfeld-Viereck letter by the MHG as a new discovery in the whole Hirschfeld topic. Only we recognized its importance. The MHG even published current photos of Viereck's old house on their website, but only gave a few hints about Viereck the person. This despite the fact that in his letter Hirschfeld promised to advertise Viereck's books at his lectures. Also the Viereck and Hirschfeld contents of the HHA archives had not yet been reappraised, certainly not in light of their political importance.
And once again it is we at BIFFF... who for the very first time take a look at these archives. When one examines the material in the archives and Hirschfeld's articles from America in 1930-1931 which Viereck published and we braught to Europe first to publish them one by one commented critically, a view of Hirschfeld appears that makes it easy to guess why the apologists have never applied themselves to these newspaper documents, even though they have always been available.
Quotes from the Hirschfeld-Viereck letter of the MHG:
(For full translations of the letter, see “Documentation” at the end.)
Hirschfeld doesn't just stop at gushing praise for his friend Viereck – he wants something from him. That ranges from a “worthy reception” to organizing of the whole journey and its echoes in the press. From the beginning Hirschfeld thought that the trip's goal was propagating his ideas and his eugenic sexual politics ...
... even if he laid he tourist's wish to look out over the city from a high-rise at Viereck's feet:
More politically important than a view over the sea of buildings in New York is Hirschfeld's promise to recommend Viereck's books in Europe (above). The letter raises an obvious question of authenticity: indeed, here there is an entirely different version of Hirschfeld's signatures as in the HHA letter to Viereck from 1933 above:
(BIFFF... screenshots from the MHG website hirschfeld.in-berlin.de.
Made smaller electronically in order to make the excerpts legible.
Yellow markings by BIFFF...)
Viereck fulfilled Hirschfeld's wishes from these letters as best he could. That is shown in archival materials from the HHA, which in part have been up on the Internet without comment for years. The importance of these materials has not been recognized but by us. Some of the material was viewed for the first time by BIFFF...-leader Peter Kratz in the HHA paper archive in February of 2011. Viereck's fulfillment of Hirschfeld's wishes is also shown in American newspaper and magazine articles about Hirschfeld's travels, which show vastly more than can be found in the HHA. It is especially these articles, whose authenticity is not in doubt, that show the closeness and continuity of the relationship between Hirschfeld and Viereck.
In a hand-written letter from Hirschfeld to Benjamin, written on February 25, 1931 in San Francisco, (which can be found on the HHA website), and also in the October 14, 1930 letter above, Hirschfeld did not write out Viereck's name, but rather drew a square (“Viereck” is the German word for “square.”) This small joke, that is repeated in photocopies of such letters at the HHA, indicates the closeness of the relationship between the three men.
The extent to which Viereck's thoughts and writings influenced Hirschfeld is also shown in Hirschfeld's remarks about Judaism in his Weltreise book. J. Edgar Bauer, a Hirschfeld apologist, who widely appears as "independent researcher" in the Hirschfeld scene of today, used these remarks as a reason to bloviate about Hirschfeld as a Jewish thinker at the 2003 Potsdam Conference. Bauer did not understand Hirschfeld's closeness to Viereck, who he did not even mention, and whose work he probably doesn't even know. During Bauer's exegesis of Hirschfeld's work he even characterized the arc of his life [Lebenszusammenhang] between 1930 – 1934 as obviously inspired by Judaism. Here are some of the events in that period of Hirschfeld's life: In 1930 he ended his Geschlechtskunde with an acknowledgement of Forel's and Boeters' politics of exterminating those who were defined as unwanted. He threw himself at Viereck and his extreme right-wing eugenicist friends in the US. He largely approved of the eugenics experiments of US states. He dedicated his Weltreise book to eugenics (see above). He did not want to renounce Viereck after it became clear that his old friend was completely intertwined with National Socialism (see below). He advised “patience” regarding “Hitler's experiments.” In his 1934-1935 series of articles, Phantom Race, he again avowed himself a proponent of breeding better people – just refering to Benito Mussolini, whom Viereck so admired - and thereby urged “an objective review of the hypothesis of racism.” He himself viewed his IfSw and the eugenics-inspired marriage and sexual advice that was offered there as a precursor of Nazi eugenics without shame, and indeed even with pride, that then was then unfortunately overcome by the “overzealousness, fantasy and prejudice” of the Nazis. (See our text “Magnus Hirschfeld: Das falsche Idol für sexuelle Emanzipation", A False Idol of Sexual Emancipation,” 2000.)
(Screenshot excerpt from a photocopy of a two-page alleged letter from Hirschfeld in Berlin to Benjamin, from October 14, 1930. It is in the HHA, Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm Center. Temporary archive number: 0561.2-2.)
Hirschfeld adds handwritten to his typewritten “best regards” “also to  etc.”
The square (marked on the screeshot by a yellow arrow by BIFFF...) stands for his friend George Sylvester Viereck, as the name Viereck in German has the meaning "square".
Bauer interprets fragments of quotes from the Weltreise book as proof that Hirschfeld's piety and efforts were rooted in Judaism and followed a “messianic” plan for world salvation (our quotes are from the text of Bauer's lecture that was republished on the HHA website). Bauer stated that “in Judaism, Hirschfeld perceived an 'erratic and fluid' wandering people […], who could not find their own homeland anywhere, and yet everywhere fulfilled an important human mission.” Bauer claimed that Hirschfeld defined himself as a “world wanderer through areas and times,” and Bauer foists his own interpretation on his idol: “it signifies Hirschfeld's intentions when he asks 'whether the unrest of the wandering Jew is a piece of heredity from their nomadic origins.' Hirschfeld's question seems to aim to overturn the Christian damnation of the wandering Jew, and to recontextualize the way of the forever-wandering in their very own history of nomadic freedom and the Mosaic liberation.” According to Bauer this leads Hirschfeld to an “independent conception of Judaism” (which in reality he betrayed when he joined the German-chauvinist, pantheistic and biological deterministic Monistic Society of the social Darwinist Ernst Haeckel). Bauer believes that Hirschfeld was led to large and important humanity-wide thoughts of a “world historical mission” (Bauer). That mission, according to Bauer, was nothing less than the “salvation of humanity” (Hirschfeld, quoted in Bauer).
Viereck's Wandering Jew Trilogy as the source of Hirschfeld's “Judaism”
The background story is much simpler than Bauer's convoluted attempt to make Hirschfeld a secret life-long Jew (an attempt which Bauer had previously undertaken many times). It already shows through in Hirschfeld's letter of request to Viereck from October 22, 1930, in which he simperingly greets Viereck's Salomé book and announces (although he hadn't yet read it!) that he will recommend it during his upcoming lecture tour in Yugoslavia. The book is the second part of the Wandering Jew trilogy that Viereck wrote with co-author Paul Eldridge, who was of Jewish descent. In 1928 the pair wrote My First Two Thousand Years: The Autobiography of the Wandering Jew, in 1930 Salomé the Wandering Jewess: My Two Thousand Years of Love, and in 1932 The Invincible Adam. After Viereck openly allied himself with National Socialism (see below), Eldridge distanced himself from the co-authorship and from Viereck. New editions of the books came out in the 1930s with Viereck listed as the only author.
Since the middle of the 19th century the idea of the “Wandering Jew” was almost exclusively an antisemitic stereotype in Germany. It had its high point in the Romantic era. (In the American literary criticism, Viereck's works of poetry belong to the decadent-aesthetic aftermath of the Romantic movement.) The story from the late Middle Ages, which was presented in many changing forms over the centuries, concerns a Jew by the name of Ahasver who continually wanders. He serves as a metaphor for “the Jewish people,” banished from his homeland, rambling in foreign parts and procreating with other peoples - thus extinguishing his people's existence. The myth of Ahasver, which since the 19th century had sexual, eugenic and racist connotations, found its demented end point in the prohibition of mixed marriage in the Nazi Nuremberg race laws, and finally in the murder of the European Jews, in order to end their “mixing” with their “host people,” as it was called in Nazi ideology: in murder as a tactic of eugenics – Auschwitz as sexual policy.
Bauer, who ignored Viereck's influence on Hirschfeld, tried to build a new myth around Hirschfeld's supposed Judaism – and thus bought on a years-long and ill-researched fight with Manfred Herzer that led nowhere. The simple truth is that Hirschfeld merely did something that characterizes all of his books – he copied something that seemed useful and suitable to him, and he borrowed the “wandering Jew” myth from Viereck, whom in 1932 - 1933 he still viewed as his best and closest friend, and from whom he hoped to be taken in in the USA.
Bauer, who knows nothing about Viereck's trilogy, takes a strain of thought from the Ahasver myth and connects it with Hirschfeld's construct of “human assimilation.” In Bauer's vision, this results in a conception of Judaism metaphysically merging into the liberation movement of human history. Bauer was blind to the biological-sexual background: Ahasver pouring out into other people, which “sexologists” and eugenicists saw in no way metaphysically. In Bauer's view the antisemitic curse against Ahasver is turned into something positive. The concept of an “Ahasverian” “human assimilation,” which Hirschfeld sees as the “means of solving the Jewish question” (Hirschfeld quoted by Bauer), is, however, worth interrogating, because Hirschfeld – and Bauer! - leave out of their “solution” who is actually asking the “Jewish question”, why they are asking it, and why it needs any “solution” at all. The concrete “solution” is shown in context of Hirschfeld's regard for the thinking of Nietzsche, Haeckel, Forel, Boeters, and Viereck: the “weeding out” of the “unworthy.” Eugenics was the goal and result of his sexual studies during his world travels. The kernel of Hirschfeld's idea of “human assimilation” is supposed to be – according to Bauer – the idea of “only being a human,” the knowledge that all “peoples,” also Jews, “belong to humanity above all.” But at the same time in Bauer's reading of Hirschfeld there is emphasis on ethnopluralist currents: “Jewish particularity,” which need not be renounced, and the “identity-establishing function of Jewish cultural contributions,” as well as those of other “volks.” Bauer plants his ideas into Hirschfeld's thoughts thus: “one should remember the whole of humanity as the foundation of Jewish cultural identity.” This is a platitude, but one that nonetheless became a message of the biological determinists: because even the European Jews, who were fit for death because they did not hold fast to the rules of ethnopluralism, because they didn't stick to their own, because of their Ahasverism, were still “just people,” the concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele could conduct experiments on them, whose results would still have bearing on the racially pure “Aryans.”
Hirschfeld sees Moses – so Bauer portrays it without noting its opposition to Judaism – less as the deliverer of the law “Thou shalt not kill!,” and more as an “important hygienist” (Hirschfeld quoted by Bauer), because of the “rest and eating rules.” So – one can extend it – Moses is the agent of the eugenics law: Thou shalt not kill the wrong ones! The euphemistic indication of the words “race hygiene” or “racial hygiene” [Rassenhygiene] shows the way to understanding. These phrases were commonly used in Germany instead of “eugenics,” and were used as synonyms freely by Hirschfeld till the end (“Breeding the Higher Race”). In Hirschfeld's “historical-semantic messianism,” ["geschichtsimmanenter Messianismus", Bauer] which came forth as a “messianic-inspired draft of sexual freedom,” (Bauer) the “solution” and “reconciliation” (Bauer; one notices the specific connotations of the word “reconciliation” in Judeo-Christian mythology!) actually take place on the dissecting table of the eugenicists, which Bauer does not want to see. In Bauer's conception, the kernel of “Hirschfeld's secular messianism” (Bauer) is supposed to be “the realization of the freedom of sexual minorities” (Bauer, all note 103). But in Hirschfeld's Weltreise book there is no talk of such things in his preface on eugenics (which Bauer ignores), and although Hirschfeld, who for example used eugenic arguments to fight prostitution and the procreation of people who had homosexual sex, was a declared opponent of sexual freedom. But Bauer foists the political goal of “sexual emancipation” on his idol, while Hirschfeld's World League in no way stood for “sexual emancipation,” but rather for “sexual reform.” Thus fantasies, wishful thinking, and ignorance breed a mythic Hirschfeld who never existed – you could even say a Hirschfeld religion.
Hirschfeld's supposed “Ahasverian” Universalism, which is found in Bauer's exegesis, obviously was actually based on the “breeding a higher race” (meant as the entire human race). He continued to put forth this goal in his 1934 appeal to “wait out” the “Hitler experiments.” Humanity seemed to him to be biologically insufficient. This is not “emancipation,” it is nothing more than “cattle-breeding affectations,” as anti-Nazi critics had already branded the theorists of National Socialism in the 1920s (here: against Houston Stewart Chamberlain). It was certainly not an Old Testament consciousness of creation or reverence for the ban by the Judeo-Christian god on people now also eating the fruit from the tree of life. In Hirschfeld's view the individual was not created and loved by a Jewish God in his own image, and the individual's right to life was certainly not something imparted by God only as his greatest gift. Instead, Hirschfeld and his brilliant fellow-geniuses took on the creation act for themselves: selection as the “solution” to the supposed deficiencies of creation, justified with pseudo-science. They were laughing at, if not scorning God, instead of fearing God.
There is no trace of Judaism in there.
In its place is the “self-as-creator” in the sense of Sigrid Hunke (a German neo-fascist ideologist of the 1980s and 90s who coined the word "selbst Schöpfer sein" ) and the “conservative revolution”/“new right”/"Alt Right." Hirschfeld's foundation was not the Jewish Faustian interpretation, it was the fascist one, as he had learned it from Nietzsche and Haeckel. On this foundation “reconciliation” is only possible when “God” accepts Hunke's dictum: “We act in God's place.” Bauer has to admit that “for Hirschfeld there were differences of worth only 'between individual people,'” (one should pay attention to the euphemism of this small word, “only”!), but he does not take in the fundamental dissonance between this position and Biblical creation. In his contempt for the right to life of the individual in favor of the betterment of the “race,” Hirschfeld not only betrayed the Judaism of his fathers, but also his oath as a doctor.
Bauer is not in the position to recognize or expose the antisemitism of the “Wandering Jew” construct: the universality of the sexual lust of Ahasver who disseminates himself biologically into all of the “volks” and thus erases his own as well as the others (this is the demographic and sexual-political core of the myth). He's also not equipped to recognize that Hirschfeld's attempts at establishing a universal sexology, which Bauer sees as the result of Hirschfeld's “Ahasverian” understanding of Judaism, is actually just the biological deterministic approach of the doctor Hirschfeld to his subject matter. Instead Bauer misunderstands Hirschfeld's abstruse, fantasy-based, and seemingly oh-so scientific mathematical formula Doctrine of Intermediate Stages in Sexuality and takes it for gender theory (perfect, in order to give his idol such a modern slant). In truth, Hirschfeld was only looking for the biological “intermediate stages.”
Hirschfeld fantasized about the “full man” and “full woman” as ideals, and even went so far as to publish pictures in order to aid identification of these idols in his books. Nothing could be farther from the true Hirschfeld than a resolution of his biological determinism through gender theory (or learning- or action-theory), let alone one with a universal entitlement for the human rights of each individual. His use of the prefix “intermediate” alone, in the sense of being less than “full,” shows him clinging to the idealized image of gender. The critical-Marxist resolution to the seeming contradiction between the individual and humanity was not on Hirschfeld's radar. How biological determinism (carrying over the fetters of biology into the societal) can be emancipatory (i.e. freeing) no one has yet shown, not even Bauer.
Hirschfeld's ideal types of the “full man” and “full woman”,Hirschfeld's ideas about the universality of “sexuality” relied on denying the universality of the right to life for all people (those who in one way or another he found to be abnormal should not have the right to life, see above, to say nothing of the right to reproduce as part of their right to life). This can end only in the horror that is the subject of the Dialectic of Enlightenment (Horkheimer, Adorno): the universality of reason that is purely technical turns against the emancipatory promises of the Enlightenment and Socialism. Bauer so admires the “sexual human rights” that Hirschfeld names in his Weltreise book, and Bauer raises them up as an expression of “historical-semantic Messianism” ["geschichtsimmanenter Messianismus".]
in Hirschfeld's terms: "Vollmann" and "Vollweib":
Old Germanics, yes!, but “universalism”?
(from Hirschfelds "Geschlechtskunde", Volume IV, published in 1930)
Hirschfeld had Benjamin formulate these "sexual human rights" for his World League for Sexual Reform, in order to pass them as the charter of identity at the League's World Conference (which was supposed to take place in 1933 in Chicago but did not). But in fact an examination of the “rights” reveals that they are nothing more and nothing less than eugenic racism (not volkisch racism). These “rights” have been uncritically posted by Erwin J. Haeberle on the HHA website. That is true for all ten of the “sexual human rights” of the World League, which can only be understood in the light of points 4 (“Bettering the race through selection of births” and “sterilization” of those defined as unwanted) and 9 (“Disturbances and abnormalities of the sex drive” are “more or less to be understood as pathological” and should be handled appropriately (by Benjamin for example through hormonal anti-homosexuality treatments). What's more, Bauer even references the fact that in Weltreise, Hirschfeld directly bases the foundation of his universal rights on Forel! But Bauer seems to know nothing of Forel's list, adopted by Hirschfeld, of those he would exterminate.
The interesting question is why in 1932-1933 in his carefully arranged Weltreise book, Hirschfeld suddenly and publicly used the Ahasver myth as a metaphor – a myth which in Germany had blatant antisemitic and racist connotations. And this despite the fact that it had become clear to him that he could not return to his home because of antisemitism. Astoundingly, Bauer does not ask this question, although he, unlike Herzer, vehemently mentions the German climate of persecution that German Jews had to contend with in the German Empire (despite the emancipation of the Prussian Jews and despite the Jewish financiers who financed the political-military hobbies of Wilhelm II – which were ultimately unprofitable for the aggressive expansion-policies of German capital), as well as in the Weimar Republic (with the murder of prominent Jewish politicians). He mentions the persecution in order to offer a life-long connection between Hirschfeld and Judaism. Bauer offers no proof that the sedentary Hirschfeld, who spent almost his entire working life in Berlin, had ever seen himself in the tradition of the “wandering Jew.”
The answer lies in the decades-long relationship between Hirschfeld and Viereck, which offered both authors inspiration. Both Herzer and Bauer, despite their attempts to make themselves important through their Hirschfeld interpretations know nothing of this relationship (Herzer wrote denouncing Bauer again most recently in the September 2011 issue of the magazine Das Argument). One has to fundamentally recognize Viereck – perhaps even more than Kronfeld, Hiller or Hodann – as one of Hirschfeld's most important “colleagues,” a relationship that began at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century. Everything in Hirschfeld's Weltreise book that Bauer took to be Hirschfeld's genuine conception of Judaism is standing at the ready in Viereck's Wandering Jew/Wandering Jewess trilogy, which Viereck had already begun to work on before the first World War, but whose three volumes were published in 1928, 1930 and 1932, respectively. Hirschfeld used them in his Weltreise book – in the case of Viereck's third volume, in which Hirschfeld himself appears, fresh off the press. Bauer and Herzer, whose exegesis of Hirschfeld's writings, letters and notes has lasted decades, read it here on the BIFFF... website for the first time.
May we present:
By 1929 Hirschfeld had already written in a letter to Viereck about the first volume of the trilogy, which was published in 1928. He wrote: “How excellent I found your book about the wandering Jews. It is a grandiose work, and I have already recommended it many times, and it has always received the same positive review that I gave it.” (The photocopy of this letter can be found in the HHA archives, temporary archive number 128.7, assuming of course that the letter is real – see above.)
Viereck's involved and tangled tale becomes sloppier as it goes along. Through its dramatic course runs a protagonist (“The Wandering Jew”) who has changing names and rolls. The protagonist Salomé appears as the dancing and copulating “Wandering Jewess.” The books run through the last two thousand years of human history as an episodic world theater. The protagonists have countless sexual (including bisexual) adventures, and meet countless prominent figures. The Wandering Jew meets emperor Karl the Great, Martin Luther, Friedrich II of Prussia, Maimonides and his Homunculus, the god Pan, Nietzsche and Spinoza. Salomé meets Joan of Arc, Russia's Catherine the Great, Queen Victoria, the Hindu fertility goddess Lakshmi, etc. The protagonists engage in dialogue with these people, they listen to conversations between these great figures of history (some of whom are mythical), they emerge as their incarnation, and they interpret their own sexual adventures (that the protagonists sometimes have with the figures). Over the course of all this the protagonists develop their own world view (the same one as Viereck!) that turns out to be conservative-revolutionary (or, in todays labbel, "Alt Right"). The story is embedded with fascination for anti-civilization, the alleged “natural,” technical and scientific possibilities, and the self-as-creator – qualities that always rule the work of Viereck, who described himself as a “conservative anarchist” with a penchant for “order” (for the “New Order,” as he himself wrote word-for-word – the conservative revolution and fascism.)
The protagonist, who clearly exhibits traits of Goethe's “Faust II” (Faust's time travel through the epochs, Famulus Wagner as creator of the Homunculus), at the end wears wild naturalness as the “son of the jungle” in the city of New York. This, you understand, is not in the sense of the Jazz and Swing “Negro Music” of the nightclubs and dance halls of the 1920s and 1930s, which Viereck explicitly criticizes through his characters (The Invincible Adam, p. 403), but in the sense of his autobiographical early work Confessions of a Barbarian: the book, a collection of previously published journalistic essays, was published in 1910; it is openly antidemocratic and against universal human rights, and it already displays pre-fascism. In it he attempts to offer the Wilhelmine Empire as an example to the supposedly spiritually orientation-less Americans (see below.)
The most important ideological strains of the Wandering Jew trilogy can be found in Confessions of a Barbarian, in which the eugenicists Hirschfeld and Havelock Ellis (later of the World League for Sexual Reform) are mentioned as doctors of pathological sexuality. Hirschfeld's fight against alcohol consumption is also mentioned. In Confessions one also recognizes the sources from which Viereck gathered the materials he used to construct his fascist, biological-determinist trilogy. He writes in Confessions that the four Peter Pan plays by James M. Barrie ("embodies the imperishable longing for eternal youth", Viereck, p. 123), Wedekind's Spring Awakening, Wilde's Salomé and Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra are the four “representative plays of the century.” This despite the fact that that century had just begun.
George Bernard Shaw, much admired by Viereck, was a main agitator in the eugenics movement. His “Caesar” was an embodiment of Nietzsche's “Super Man,” who is aware of his own roll in evolution. Wilde's Salomé embodies morbid beauty and a misguided need to put biology before the love between humans; the piece is full of pessimism about civilization, which Viereck carries over directly into his Salomé volume. Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening criticized the character of Wilhelmine prudery against the backdrop of the problems of puberty and the development of personality through trying things out. (Criticizing prudery was a main theme of Viereck, but he only deployed it against the leadership of Great Britain). The play does not shrink before any violence: “everything is allowed.” (According to Hirschfeld's biographer Herzer, Wedekind was a friend of Hirschfeld since his student days in Munich in 1889-1890, where Hirschfeld also got to know the Viereck family and their son George Sylvester, who at that point was five, see below.) Barrie's Pan, forever-young but nevertheless carrying the burden of the whole of human experience on his shoulders, knows in a biologistic sense, from race and birth, (“by instinct,” Viereck) what it's all about. In these four pieces Viereck found the qualities that he tried to tie together into a political-philosophical message in his trilogy: the recklessness of youth and the free breaking of taboos, the “Super Man” quality of white Europeans, the way to conservative-revolutionary salvation in a “New Order” above sexuality. A large portion of Viereck's works of poetry are concerned with these themes.
The first volume of the trilogy, My First Two Thousand Years. The Autobiography of the Wandering Jew, from 1928, generated buzz because of its conspicuous sexual content. It was also a sensation in the young American scene of psychoanalysts. The New York Evening Post introduced it as an “erotic interpretation of history,” and recognized in its review the messianic character of the work (one would like to say – citing Bauer!): “the restless reach of a man towards a forever elusive finality.” The New York Times, which never thought much of Viereck, saw it otherwise. (In 1907 they slammed his poetry and plays as linguistically aimless clap trap, boring, pure self-justification, stolen from the great Oscar Wilde – star of the Decadent movement in literature – and his Salomé, and said that the pictures that Viereck designed were fit to decorate only a bordello.) The Times spoke of the book's “irony without depth, its wit without freshness.” Thomas Mann, who until his affirmation of the Weimar Republic in 1932 was himself a pioneer of the “conservative revolution,” and who thus knew its tenants (see his 1919 “Reflections of An Apolitical Man,” from which he soon distanced himself), found the book “bold and magnificent” - much like the vision of the “conservative revolution,” one could say, whose realization Mann had already guessed at and feared, while Hirschfeld wanted to take part in it!
The second volume - Salomé - The Wandering Jewess: My Two Thousand Years of Love, in which everything was rehashed using female identities, had to contend in 1930 with the shocks of the world economic crisis, which demanded concrete solutions instead of erotic fantasies. Hirschfeld and Havelock Ellis, his comrade in the World League who spearheaded the eugenics movement in Great Britain, reviewed it anyway (Ellis had already helped make the first volume known.)
The third volume, The Invincible Adam from 1932, in which Hirschfeld appears at the end as a character (“our learned teacher … in his Institute in Berlin,”) is an addendum, but mostly just a summary and conclusion of the first two volumes. The protagonist comes “from the jungle” to current New York, after he has lived through the French and Soviet Revolutions and found them lacking. It remains to be seen whether the goal-oriented, redemptive conservative revolution (following the German pioneers – see Confessions) would take place in the New World and lead to the rise of the “Super Man,” or whether utter ruin would result from not heeding Viereck's messages. Viereck saw the tipping point as imminent. When Viereck names Hirschfeld at the end of the trilogy it becomes clear that he believed Hirschfeld and other eugenicists could help humanity go up the last few steps before ascending, after two thousand years of “wandering.” It is pure biological determinism.
The hero of the trilogy is white, which Viereck mentions explicitly, lest the name “son of the jungle” result in the misunderstanding that he was African. At the same time he is introduced as the “Kotikokura Ape” which – in terms of biological determinism – is supposed to underscore his right to violence and the threat to the western civilization that Viereck fights against. He stays young through the entire two thousand years and passes judgment (or condemns) the people and eras he meets with youthful abandon, impudence and scorn, while at the same time he absorbs the historical experiences of humanity. The protagonists' interactions with the great people of history show the levels that (white) humanity can climb to attain the world dominance of the “super man,” and it shows that they have so far failed to do so. The parts that Viereck borrowed from Barrie's Pan and Shaw's Caesar are clear. Hirschfeld's colleague and research partner Eugen Steinach also had his part in the story. Steinach was known for attempting to “cure” homosexual men by transplanting their testicles (or parts of them) with those of heterosexual men. He killed several of his patients through these procedures. But he is best known for his “rejuvenation” experiments, attempts to make people young again, which were laughed at by the medical world and which were based on the idea of imaginary glands and imaginary functions of the gonads. Yes, Steinach had his part in the forever-young characters of the “wandering Jew” and “Kotikokura.” Viereck had already corresponded with Steinach in 1904. The two were introduced by Harry Benjamin, a fan of Steinach. Viereck familiarized himself with Steinach's work, and in 1923 published a book under the pseudonym George F. Corners, in which he attempted to popularize Steinach's charlatanry in the US. Harry Benjamin later continued Steinach's research, including the hormonal “healing” of homosexuals (see below). Steinach, despite his Jewish descent, maintained contact to Viereck through the beginning of the 1940s, shortly before Viereck's arrest in the US on charges of spying for Nazi Germany.
In the trilogy's third volume, The Invincible Adam, from 1932, the protagonist is sometimes called “Adam” and sometimes “Kotikokura.” Earlier in the series the ape had only been the “companion” of the “Wandering Jew” and “Wandering Jewess.” Adam/Kotikokura is witness to a conversation between “Yahweh,” the Judeo-Christian creator God, and the Indo-Aryan goddess “Lakshmi,” who was born from the sea. In the conversation Lakshmi makes fun of the amateurism of “Yahweh's” creations. His work is incomplete and godliness is given over to the protagonist: “Yahweh will only be a wrinkled shadow of yours, Adam.”
The conservative-revolutionary topos of the “self-as-creator” (Hunke) as an “obstacle course,” through which whites have to successfully maneuver, is evident throughout the trilogy in numerous clumsily-constructed allusions. It shows its connection with eugenics through the taboo-breaking sexual adventures. The “New Man” must become “both god and monkey,” “god and ape,” “subman and superman,” explains Viereck in the afterword of the third volume, and he has to find himself: “I find myself” (286, 305). The idea of the “Homunculus” as a constructed “New Man” comes up often, and is knowingly attached to the fascist “Faust”-interpretation. As Goethe presented his Homunculus as hermaphroditic, so Viereck connects this with Hirschfeld's Doctrine of Intermediate Stages into an “invincible Adam,” who must also have female parts. To achieve this he explicitly calls on “ the latest discoveries of endocrinology and psychology” in the afterword (412). That is, he calls on the very medical fantasies of Hirschfeld that even today's apologists reject.
In this beautiful postmodern Panopticon, often written orgiastically and ecstatically, nothing has to have a logical connection. This too is true of fascist ideology (and the intellectual outbursts of the conservative revolutionary Ernst Jünger, an intellectual relative of Viereck!) Thus Adam can simultaneously fight against the increasing “emasculation” of American life. His “female parts“ should allow him to recognize the place of the “full woman” in his world, which he dictates and which Salomé accepts in self-awareness, while his “accentuated masculinity” should help him with his infinite rebellious forward-striving youth.
Immediately Hirschfeld's “transvestite” expert witness statements come to mind. The statements only had the goal of strengthening predefined gender roles through changing the “M” to “F” or vice-versa, instead of pushing for an openness of gender that was not defined by the state.
Wise Maimonides, who Viereck parallels with Goethe's Faust and his Wagner, introduces the protagonist to a recognition of his self and the principles of the creation of the Homunculus, with measured success: “Maimonides freed him temporarily” (404).This in opposition to Christianity, which had only poisoned the Eros, and the French Revolution, which had only tainted him with de Sade. The true freedom of sexuality, which the reader who is attuned to abstraction will understand from the text and its messages can only be achieved through eugenics, has not been attained, and the Homunculus of Maimonides does not live. The satanist Gilles de Retz, who the protagonist also meets during his time travels, also fails to make the Homunculus. (Viereck borrowed the figure of de Retz from Shaw's play about Joan of Arc, Saint Joan. One of the historical models for Viereck's Retz is the pedophile child-killer Gilles de Rais, who committed hundreds of crimes in the 15th century and is a beloved subject of Black Metal today. The other is the fascist satanist Aleister Crowley, who was Viereck's employee at Fatherland magazine between 1915- 1917 – see below).
“I am God!” protests the protagonist to Maimonides, who fed him this cry (290). "The history of the human race has been inscribed in the loins of every man since the creation of Adam. In you, Kotikokura, the dream of mankind became body and spirit,” wise Maimonides says to him (291). "Some day man will read the secret of his life, the whole nature of his composition in that which he so shamefully casts from him!," Maimonides teaches the protagonist, speaking of bodily excretions, the “joy of sex,” the hidden sexual organs and also spit, as if DNA-tests had existed in 1932 (294). Maimonides speaks in favor of the experimental research that humans should conduct without fear and shame: "Is it my fault, my friend, if all knowledge must be gathered through pain and torture?" (299). Mengele sends his regards. He who searches, says Viereck's Maimonides, must rummage through everything carefully, hopefully, and courageously “Some day man will create life, not the imperfect life of the womb, but the perfect life of the brain" (299). Only the “superman,” fitted with god-like intellect (and according to Viereck's Confessions of a Barbarian this means only the white man, while black men are intellectually below even women, see below) will "climb the stairs to eternity," according to Viereck's Maimonides (297). That is an image of world domination, and that is the starting culture of the “Nouvelle Droite” of the 1970s – 1990s (see below) or "Alt Right".
On the other hand the child of “Salomé” and the “Wandering Jew,” who Viereck conceptualizes as the Homunculus, - a “Homuncula:” the mother of the new sex of superman, - is (still) unworthy to deliver humanity, and dies in a flood. As Goethe's Homunculus dissolves in the sea out of which Lakshmi famously rose, so Ahasver mixes with humanity, extinguishing all unique traits. Viereck's protagonist distances himself from his Judaism – just like Hirschfeld! - right at the beginning of the story, and allies himself with the at that point universally ruling paganism: the Roman army in occupied Judea.
"He still lives - this Wandering Jew - and goes from land to land, changing names and religions that the people may not recognize him. Wherever he goes there is pestilence and war and drought, and virgins do not grace the nuptial beds" (232). This is Viereck's construction of the antisemitic myth. Out of the biologistic basis of this myth arises on the other hand “the invincible Adam,” who is not hard to recognize as the self-as-god superman, who has courage!, who throws “Yahweh” into the shadows! The “just becoming a human,” the "assimilation of human kind" is the goal. That's the message of Viereck's Maimonides. His entangled writings, which again, as with Confessions, are directed at US citizens, and which, again, are propaganda for Teutonic delusions, don't offer the text as a plot. Instead the work seeks to implant topoi, embellished with the mystic hype of the day, of the extreme right-wing ideology like Trojans, like viruses, in the heads of his American readers. Americans already trusted the idea of a single humanity, as this idea had formed the basis of the American Revolution. One has only to rekindle them in the sense of the superman. Thus one bends the universality of human rights into fascism.
Viereck anticipated the eugenic hopes of Hirschfeld's Phantom Race and personified them in his mythic “invincible Adam.” In here are found Hirschfeld's hopes that the biological mixing of human “races” through eugenic guidance, management and tutelage of the sexual relationships of the individual (and in emergency cases also through a “painless death,” see above: Forel) would bring about a human race of supermen, because the best characteristics of different “races” would be added, multiplied or exponentially increased. As the character Wagner says in Goethe's “Faust II,” “A man is being made,” and the recipe is given: “That, if from the hundred-fold substance/ By mixing – since mixing makes it happen- / The stuff of human life’s compounded / […] What man praises in deepest Nature / Through Reason we dare to probe it” (translation by A. S. Kline). Viereck has Maimonides speak almost identically; although with Goethe the question of whether he gave preference to those who were critics of progress or to the fascist-criminal option remains open. Viereck's interpretation of Faust is clear: merely a year after he finished his trilogy he hired himself out as a writer for National Socialism, which he had admired long before. And Hirschfeld's eugenic vision of “racial” mixing remains racist, because it devalued human love and the resulting sex in favor of an externally-defined higher purpose, that of “breeding.” This devalued the sexual behavior of the individual, as with Hirschfeld's “marriage advice” through a questionnaire, or in extreme cases – when advice was not heeded – through punishable eugenic laws.
In the trilogy are the main elements of the “conservative revolution,” which led to fascism and today are again brought forth by the “New Right”/”Nouvelle Droite”/"Alt Right." These are: the power of manly youth and daring courage in rebellion that cannot be contained by any taboos; nonconformity including the bisexuality of the protagonists; biological determinism/racism and connecting human behavior to “instincts” from pre-civilization ancestors, together with anti-intellectual resentment (Maimonides: “The instinct of the primitive is often wiser than the logic of the sophisticate, my son,” Invincible Adam, 294); the worship of technology and the self-as-god that are supposed to lead to a new age of new (cleansed) humanity.
Of course this is all meant perfectly well! - in the interest of the white Europeans – and has “personal integrity” (Sigusch). Viereck had already admitted to the “temperament of a pagan,” and set himself up in opposition to the values of “Judeo-Christianity” and its secular followers, the Enlightenment and Marxism, with his acknowledgement that his father Louis had raised him as a “pantheist.” Almost all of the thinkers of the conservative-revolution did this, and today the “new right”/"Alt Right" has this for a foundation. Viereck, the literary, let this confession of faith remain abstract until his entrance into the service of Nazi Germany in 1933, while Hirschfeld had already become a member of Haeckel's Social Darwinist Monistic Society (Monistenbund). Therefore Viereck's words are clear: “Kotikokura is a rococo name for youthful rebellion whether in the jungle or in civilized communities - rebellion without which life would die of emasculation” (Invincible Adam, 406). And in the afterword of the third volume, the “personal note” that enlightens the consumer of fantasy literature about the political and societal dimensions of the work, he compares the protagonist physiognomically with Michelangelo's “David” and calls him a “brother of Faust:” manly power and beauty with the intellect of a self-god (406). David has mutated into the Wehrmacht, the Nazi-sculptor Arno Breker has given him the sword in his hand. Salomé as a self-aware counterpart, who is joyful about the work that has been given her, motherhood of a “new humanity.” Full man and full woman, "Vollmann" and "Vollweib" in Hirschfeld's words in his Geschlechtskunde convolute.
Viereck had these ideas in the time of Futurism, which led to Italian fascism and had many German adherents even before the First World War. This war, with its “storm of steel” (Ernst Jünger) and its revolutionary changes of the industry, economic politics and (everyday) life of people, almost seemed to be the materialization of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's 1909 Futurist Manifesto. This was the time in which Viereck wrote his Confessions of a Barbarian and the first part of his Wandering Jew trilogy. This book read as the fictional embodiment of Marinetti's manifesto, as well as that of anarchy, bodily hedonism, anti-feminism, anti-moralism, and the worship of manly youth, technology, daring, danger and violence. Hirschfeld too was addicted to these ideas, as his 1915 “reflection on the psychology of war” shows. Viereck's belief in technology and science can be seen in his attempts to popularize in the US Steinach's rejuvenation-surgeries, which Hirschfeld was also involved in. His romanticism led to his neo-paganism, with its consequences of making the self into a god. In his writing he tried to bring together what he believed to be the essential parts of the “conservative revolution” as they adhered to “Bolshevism” and Fascism, and to harness their common powers – the “barbarism” in the sense of Ernst Niekisch (who tried to do the same thing) and technical and industrial developments. This corresponded with the excitement about the to-be-developed “supermen” and how the futurists dreamed the “superman” would arise with their support of the fascism of Benito Mussolini. Viereck shared this support for Mussolini, and it was in no way far removed from Hirschfeld. It corresponded, too, with the futurists' dreams and Vierecks later support of National Socialism as the seeming next step of this philosophy and praxis.
Viereck is hardly known as a proponent of Futurism, as someone who attempted to bridge the gap between Marinetti and Mussolini (i.e. between “Bolshevism” and fascism), because the effects of his extreme pro-German politics from 1910-1914 (see below) overshadowed everything else in his work. Moreover his literary work is more often attributed to the “Decadent” movement of the Fin de Sciècle and the following decade – fulfilling his wish to be Oscar Wilde's successor. (See, for example, the Viereck-friendly interpretation of the Wandering Jew trilogy by Brian Stableford: “The Two Thousand Year Quest. George Viereck's Erotic Odyssey,” in Slaves of the Death Spider and Other Essays on Fantastic Literature from 2007. Stableford knows nothing of Viereck's life and the idea of the “conservative revolution” as the tangled “knot” [Mohler; "Knäuel"]) of intellectual movements up to fascism/National Socialism. Stableford obviously did not understand parts of the developments within the trilogy, but does mention that in the genre of fantasy neo-Paganism is often referenced.) But Viereck had closely studied the literature of Edgar Allen Poe, whose works were in Germany published by of all people the later “conservative revolutionary” Arthur Moeller van den Bruck. Viereck's perhaps best known work, The House of the Vampyre from 1907, already included themes of the Wandering Jew trilogy, which he first began to work on in this early decade, and which could first be published in 1928 (only because of his pro-German political efforts). It included the superman, who attempted to become real through the greats of history through the centuries (here the historical personages were literary stars), as well as the taboo-breaking bisexual “love” concept. Just as American romanticism of the 19th century is hardly treated in the criticism of ideology, so it seems that there is still hardly any understanding of American expressions of futurism, although Viereck continues to be a frequent object of critical works about Pan-Germanism. So, a well-known Great, whose literary works of historical- and social-philosophy always came out as tasteless and/or seemingly escapist nonsense and as imitations of other authors' works.
But a closer look reveals that in the tension between the capitalist modern and a romanticized "Lebensreform" (life reform) (or its alternative: escapist fantasy!) Viereck took the path to fascism that many take: a synthesis of both. (And Hirschfeld was, in his younger years, when he kept company with the Viereck family, a follower of the "Lebensreformbewegung".)
The aspiration of fascist ideology to further the clear evolutionary goal of achieving the “superman,” was made clear again in the 1980s by the "Nouvelle Droite"/“new right.” The article of the French "Nouvelle Droite" ideologist Guillaume Faye, “Die neuen ideologischen Herausforderungen" (The New Ideological Challenges), in the 1988 book from the extreme right-wing German think tank "Thule Seminar" around the French leader Alain de Beniost, "Mut zur Identität" (The Courage of Identity), is ideologically identical to the teachings of Viereck's Maimonides (see above). Faye writes, “Because the extension of natural evolution into the virtual is not 'history,' but instead techno-science, is it not possible, that the Europeans, who in this respect are set apart from other people, could show godly daring and use technology – their technology – in order to effect an improving self-modification, which Nietzsche metaphorically saw as the march to the superman?” (256) “And at this point we again find the notion of identity in a conundrum that none of our contemporaries dare to discuss. Jewish-Christian repression has operated so strongly around the 'unchanging nature' of the person that the human is supposedly a creature of God, that he doesn't belong to himself any more, that because of the fixed dogmas he is not allowed to develop himself” (257). That is the message of Maimonides in Invincible Adam to Adam/Kotikokura as we quote it above.
“What is is about?” Faye asked in 1988, and answered: “It is about the fact that the people who firmly take future techno-science in hand will give themselves, above all through the mastery of genetics and the associated sciences, the chance at a self-mutation, with all of the dangers but also all of the possibilities that this wager contains. Instead of being unified and smoothing out differences, techno-science will give to those people who venture to indulge in them the most important means of understanding and shaping their difference to the others [so – the ethnopluralist particularity of Bauer! - see above] – it will in a way supersede the differentiating logic of natural evolution.” Eugenics as the law of the jungle, now lifted to the intellectual heights. Viereck's Maimonides already had suggested this: technology as instinct. Faye's “wager” is the same one from Goethe's “Faust.” The eugenicist motives, the fantastical moves of the dare and the self-godliness finally show Hirschfeld's alignment with the fascist interpretation of Faust, that stands in opposition to the critical interpretation in the Dialectic of Enlightenment.
And now, again think through Viereck's, Hirschfeld's, and Faye's message of eugenics in the light of China's technological development and the trip to China taken by the founders of the Haeberle-Hirschfeld Archive HHA at the library at Humbolt University!
The writings of the neo-Nazi Faye also offer a window of understanding into Viereck's excitement about psychoanalysis: the “Judeo-Christian repression” should be rolled-back, the possibilities of sexuality should be “freed” in order to serve the goals of the “self-modification … as a march towards the superman.” Viereck valued psychoanalysis as a tool, as a bulldozer for the preparation of the path to be marched along – a misuse that even dawned on Freud after Viereck interviewed him twice.
As if Faye had read Viereck's trilogy and his Confessions, he complains about the “emasculation of men” and the “de-virilisation of Europe,” almost word-for-word Viereck's complaint about 1930s America at the end of the Invincible Adam volume (211, 213). Sixty years of continuity of the “conservative revolution,”/"Alt Right" as if in between the Nazi crimes against humanity had not happened.
In August of 2011 Gerrit Bartels wrote in the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel notable words in his article “Das Böse lässt sich nicht einmauern" (Evil Doesn't Let Itself be Walled In) in his review of Götz Aly's new book Warum die Deutschen? Warum die Juden? Gleichheit, Neid und Rassenhass (Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Equality, Envy, and Racial Hatred). They are words that never could have been written there about Magnus Hirschfeld:
(BIFFF...-Screenshot from "Tagesspiegel.de" August 15, 2011. Yellow emphasis by BIFFF...)
Translation by BIFFF...: "Thereby he (Aly) also discusses how the theories of hereditary and racial hygiene 'brought forth a new ethics of robbery and murder,' how the German people let these be exercised upon themselves without complaint, which Aly understands as auto-aggression and 'self-mutilation.' He interprets it as the 'result of a lack of self-worth: 'I see in this a fundamental self conditioning for the murder of the Jews. It stemmed from a national inferiority complex – and for too long was not questioned. He who finds it acceptable when close relatives are sterilized, when their existence is defined as a burden and they are deported to an unknown place, all because they are deemed hereditarily unworthy, also will find it acceptable when the members of a race that is denounced as the enemy disappears because of the government.
The mix of envy, racial hygiene, the theories that inflated self-worth and collective safety, of 'vague knowledge' and of the 'strong desire not to know:' this mix will have sinister effects. When Götz Aly summarizes all of his theses again at the end of the book, the title of this chapter is emphasis and warning enough: 'A History Without End.' The time between 1933 – 1945 was not just a murderous interruption of German history – it still has effects today." (Tagesspiegel, August 15, 2011)
The murderous history continues to have an effect today, and is brought into a new, wider stage by the Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft.
The concept of the always-rebelling youth runs through the entire history of the “conservative revolution” (and "Alt Right"), from its forefathers at the time of the anti-Napoleonic wars (Fraternities!), which were primarily wars against the ideas of the Enlightenment. From this idea Ernst Nolte pulled his concept of the “perpetual left,” which in human history again and again provides the necessary upheavals, while the conservative-right always puts on the brakes (in Nolte's National Socialism-justifying writing Der europäische Bürgerkrieg [The European Civil War.]) The debate about National Socialism (whose leaders were comparatively very young: Hitler was 44 when he became chancellor, and 33 years old when Viereck interviewed him and discovered in him the coming Führer) as a modernization movement belongs here. Authors like Rainer Zitelmann (from the right) or Götz Aly and Susanne Heim (from the left) conducted this debate in the 1980s and 1990s. From the conservative repression of the youthful revolution, which caused Viereck to turn from an “aesthetic anarchist” to a supporter of a “New Order” (everything is already there in 1910 in Confessions of a Barbarian!), Nolte draws on his “historical right” of the fascism/National Socialism to fight the “Bolshevism.” Viereck decided firmly for National Socialism, as he saw that his earlier efforts to combine and harness the “positive” powers of both sides didn't have good prospects. And thus it stands at the end of the third book in the trilogy, as the protagonist vainly attempts to preach to the egalitarian Bolsheviks the advantages of perpetual youth in the revolutionary process and the particularism of the instinctively felt gender rolls.
It is interesting that Nolte in his Europäischer Bürgerkrieg, like Viereck in his Wandering Jew trilogy, strides through history in order to identify the “perpetual left” here and there, the left that is supposed to have a positive and necessary effect on history's development, but that in the end fails and must fail. Viereck's protagonist stands at the end before the last, deciding step – which for Viereck himself was joining National Socialism.
Thus he avoids the verdict of National Socialism against the “pure” fascists - that only served a “style,” as Armin Mohler explained in his 1973 essay “Der faschistische Stil" (The Fascist Style). They actually did accuse Viereck of this, as they tossed his Wandering Jew books onto the flames during the book burnings. Hirschfeld didn't understand this at all, and obviously thought the trilogy compatible with the “unification process” of 1933, as both of his letters to Viereck from that year show. Mohler says that at the beginning of Nazi-rule: “For these writer types [refering to Ernst Jünger and Gottfred Benn] the form comes before service to the people, the enjoyment comes before duty; gestures are more important than belief, the firm opponent nearer than his average fellow-man.” This is an insult that one in every way could and did make against Viereck's literary work. But Viereck went on the offensive and accepted the ban of his trilogy in Nazi Germany and wrote straightforwardly that if American Jews made him choose between Jews and Germans, his blood would know his decision: Germany (see below). Viereck used the fascist Style in order to rope in “aesthetes,” citizens of the middle class, who like he first became fascinated with Nietzsche and his consorts, and then by the “conservative revolution,” and then the violent victoriousness of Italian fascism and finally National Socialism. He called himself an “aesthetic tramp” (Confessions, 74), but by the First World War his choices and his practical partisanship was already clear and political and not merely aesthetic. This is despite his disclaimer at the end of the trilogy: that he and his coauthor Eldridge are just story tellers, that while one has convictions, they're only becoming angry in jest, that they prefer the foil to the club (413, paraphrased).
Viereck's attempt to spread his message by sexualizing historical events further underscores the call to renounce every kind of shame, to break every taboo, to be nonconformist. “We must free ourselves from ancient taboos which make us ashamed of our instincts,” he summarizes at the end (407). He thereby exposes a kernel of the extreme right-wing view of world and human history, the biologistic concept of the instincts as the engine of human actions. That is the largest breaking of a societal taboo, the most intense negation of the conformity that had been established for the past two hundred and fifty years: the denial of Enlightenment reason at the expense of the myth, the denial of the societal contract at the expense of the will to power. It is the many variations of that cry - “Do what you will!” from theorists of the conservative revolution, as Aleister Crowley also expressed it later (who just like Viereck got the attention of Alfred Kinsey through his connections with sexuality.) That is what fascinated Viereck about Hitler, who said - We do not ask, we just take! The term “seizing power” [Machtergreifung] comes from this attitude. It seems to shine through the supposed self-godliness. The orgiastic nature (and not only sexually) of the events in Viereck's book also remind one of the taboo-breaker Ernst Jünger.
In the afterword of the third volume Viereck calls his work “a trilogy of love” and mentions “its biological implications,” so that no one misses them behind all the confusion of the myths that Viereck mixes together (412). When Hirschfeld was in the US in 1930-1931, Viereck called him the “eminent authority on the manifestations of love,” who ran a “love clinic” in Berlin. The synonymous use of “sex” and “love” occurs when “eugenics” is meant.
Why did Viereck, living in a New York filled with Jews, Germans, and German Jews, set his (above all else sexist) version of the “conservative revolution” in an antisemitic legend – and thereby still in Judea? Another lingering question is why he places his central arguments in the mouth of a character whom he named after the the Middle Ages doctor and important Jewish philosopher Maimonides. From Maimonides we hear the central sentences of his biologistic conception of the breeding of a superman as the supposed salvation of humanity. But Viereck's Maimonides feels himselve superior to “Elohim,” God (see Invincible Adam, 298). Armin Mohler's “analysis” of the “fascist style” provides a clue – that the fascist sees in a worthy opponent a piece of himself. (This is unlike the National Socialist, who scorns his enemy and attempts exterminate them.) In his 1910 work Confessions of a Barbarian, Viereck had already made an example of the Jews, who held fast to their “imaginary kingdom” through four thousand years, seemingly undisturbed by coming and going civilizations. "Before this spirit has not penetrated our [political] system", he wrote, "we will [i.e. the US] remain lower than the Roman Empire" (25), which is exemplary for the conservatives in the USA (25). This is nothing less than Viereck's early version of Arthur Moeller van den Bruck's idea of a spiritual “third Reich,” which Moeller van den Bruck published in 1923 as a main work of the “conservative revolution,” albeit without calling on Judaism.
For now the question remains open why Viereck, in 1910, compared the spiritual longing of the Jewish people with the aspirations of the US conservatives and the capital that stood behind them, always pushing for expansion in order to become superior to everyone else – like the ancient Romans had been. This despite the fact that he propagandized Wilhelmine Germany and its forced German-chauvinist intellectual maintaining of its traditions, as a realistic role model. For further thought, we refer you to the fact that the national revolutionary Hans-Joachim Schoeps attempted to establish a Jewish form of the fascism that he so admired. (Schoeps' son Julius today cares for his father's work at the Moses-Mendelssohn-Center in Potsdam – the very organization that put on the Hirschfeld conference in 2003 where Bauer gave his “Ahasver” lecture!) In his 1950 work Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918 - 1932 (The Conservative Revolution in Germany 1918 – 1932), Armin Mohler honored H.-J. Schopes as a “stepbrother” of the barbarism-fanatic Ernst Niekish and the SPD German-chauvinist August Winnig from the Noske-faction. (Mohler seems not to have known of Viereck, though he mentions derogatorily the famous and damning Nazi-critique of Viereck's son Peter, who had already distanced himself from his father in the 1930s.) In further editions of Confessions, Viereck even equated Nietzsche's “Zarathustra,” the philosophical blueprint of the superman, with the messages of the Jewish prophets.
Another potential explanation for Viereck's division of heroism between both Jews and non-Jews is the idea of the “final battle” that is found in antisemitic ideology. This battle was to be played out between the “Aryans” and the Jews – both supposedly believing themselves to be chosen people. At the same time he wrote in the afterword of Invincible Adam that “the Book of Life is full of inconsistencies,” and he warned against expecting “pedantic consistences” from his books (132, 413). This is reminiscent of the pseudo-left, actually conservative-revolutionary Günther Nenning, who proclaimed that he “bathed” in his own contradictions.
It is important to lay out and analyze this material so extensively because of the connections between Viereck and Hirschfeld. Hirschfeld asked this Viereck to help him gain asylum in the US. Hirschfeld said in 1929 that he found he first volume of the Wandering Jew trilogy “excellent.” In 1930 he said that he looked forward to the Salomé volume so much. Hirschfeld admired Viereck's literary work and wanted to advertise it on his lecture trip (and promised to do so, although he hadn't read it yet: one calls that blind trust!) As Viereck's guest in New York in 1930-1931, Hirschfeld certainly would have spoken with him about the trilogy and its end in Invincible Adam. Viereck was Hirschfeld's oldest friend, a friendship that spanned the four decades since Viereck's childhood. Viereck always influenced him intellectually, though direct contact. Without understanding Viereck, you can't get at Hirschfeld. Up until now, however, Hirschfeld research had left this out.
The Ahasver myth first became interesting for Hirschfeld because of Viereck. Hirschfeld certainly would have known the antisemitic connotations earlier. Viereck's version was interesting for Hirschfeld because he was the first who dissolved the myth in the “human assimilation” of his protagonist, in the salvation through the “superman,” who was always the vanishing point of Hirschfeld's biologistic “messianism.” Hirschfeld, a Nietzsche-fan, made no secret of this. The meaning of the sentences that Bauer (Bauer, 15th paragraph) took out of the Weltreise book and used as his central argument in favor of Hirschfeld's allegedly emancipatory “Jewish messianism” can be found in Viereck's trilogy. Bauer quotes Hirschfeld: “Only by overcoming fear of the future and of each other [is] salvation of humanity possible,” or “...the anthropological constant can be found in the 'fear motif of people, the anxious fear of the unknown, of the future.'” These quotes mirror exactly Viereck's Maimonides in Invincible Adam, where Kotikokura serves as the allegory of these “constants”: “We fear most what we most desire. ... Do we not fear love, and happiness, and the truth about ourselves?" asks Maimonides. Viereck has the protagonist answer: “I would conquer this unreasonable fear!" (290). Maimonides advises him: "Water the roots of your nature abundantly. Feed them with the manure of life. But also tend the flowers of your being. Rejoice in their perfume, in the delicate petals, in the morning dew which studs them like pearls. Discard all fear, all shame. Hush the combat in your soul” (300). He comforts the protagonist at the sight of his Homunculus: “Do not fear, Kot-El-Kokura” (300), and as he gives him a magic potion: “Do not fear” (301), and earlier he had said: “Fear not Kot-El-Kokura,” (292) and “Fear neither me nor yourself” (291). Hirschfeld's warning, quoted by Bauer, not to “flee from yourself” is also given by Maimonides to the protagonist of the Wandering Jew trilogy: he has to find himself.
In Viereck's case there is no doubt that all of this is meant in terms of eugenics and biological determinism. Bauer's complete ignorance about the origin of his Hirschfeld quotes in Viereck's work hinders his recognition that Hirschfeld meant it exactly the same way. And in order to see the echo in the neo-fascist “Nouvelle Droite”/”New Right”/"Alt Right," see above: Guillaume Faye. Hirschfeld's “overcoming fear” is nothing more than the “self-as-creator” of the “conservative revolution”/“new right.” In the end this was the ethical foundation of the Nazi crimes, as we have analyzed elsewhere.
And what of “human love,” which is central to Bauer's portrayal of Hirschfeld's “messianism?” He quotes from the final sentence of the Weltreise book: “Only that [human love] can bring back the lost paradise, the golden ages, only that can create an organism of humanity, created on the foundation of Freiligrath's hopeful words...” But this comes from Viereck's “love”-term and is stolen from the last volume of the trilogy, which – while formed differently literarily and without calling on Freiligrath's “Trotz alledem!" (despite everything) - ends with the same thought. Hirschfeld's supposed secular “Judaism,” evoked by Bauer, is nothing other than the biologistic ideology of the Nazi Viereck, which even Bauer himself would not call “Judaism.”
It is worth looking closer to see whether the conception of Hirschfeld's Weltreise book is just a cheap copy of the journey through two thousand years of history on which Viereck sent his “Wandering Jew.” While Hirschfeld dedicates his book to eugenics as the hope of humanity in the foreword, Viereck, at the end of his trilogy, puts his hope in the biological development of the superman. In opposition to Bauer's uniformed interpretation of the Weltreise book, Hirschfeld took over Viereck's Ahasver-myth in its original, antisemitic form, i.e. a biological form - and integrated it into his eugenic conception of the racial mixing of peoples (see Phantom Race). Viereck's protagonist in the Wandering Jew trilogy had already practically achieved this racial mixing, through the millenia. The content of Hirschfeld's “messianism” is an anti-universalist version of human rights that only offers full rights to chosen ones. “Being-human” is only awarded to chosen people. Indeed it is only awarded to vaguely defined “chosen ones,” ones who fit in with changing societal constraints, see above: Hirschfeld and Forel's list of those who are unworthy of life, which lists more than “one in seven” as eugenically suspicious. From “full man” and “full woman” to a full people, from the “intermediate stages” of sex to the gradations of humanity, to the lower grades of humanity.
So, gender theory it is not!
Herzer's attempt to find a liberal (“western”) Socialist in Hirschfeld can not be condoned, nor can Bauer's attempt to make him a Jew against his own declared will, because Hirschfeld was a biological-determinist who believed in a “formed society.”
Herzer attempts to hold Hirschfeld to the ideas of the 1980s “left” that grew out of the sexual liberation of the “68er” generation (a freedom that was steamrolled long ago by the profit interests of the sexual-industrial complex.) Bauer refutes the scholarly claims of the classics from Marx to Adorno, and his fixed ideas come from the anti-communism of the cold war. Thus he believes that Socialists and their precursors are just preachers of a religion of salvation (Bauer's “messianism.”) This is exactly what Nolte's theory of the “perpetual left” claims has been going on since Jesus' or even Moses' time. (The idea that emancipation movements – for which Bauer mistakes Hirschfeld's appeals – are ultimately “Jewish” is a genuinely Nazi idea – which Bauer completely misses!) But both are missing empirical evidence: they know far too little of Hirschfeld. Because up to the end Hirschfeld was much closer to the fascist conception of a “formed society” (which can also be found within Social Democracy.) This is shown by the primacy of the eugenics in his “sexual reforms,” with the long list of those who were to be killed (more than “one in seven,” see above; in 2011 Bauer claimed that this was “borne by humanism”– and he didn't say that in a Stalinist show trial, but instead on the HHA Website, hosted by the Berlin Humboldt University!) It is also shown by Hirschfeld's persistent biological determinism, which is still demonstrated in his 1934 – 1935 Phantom Race articles, and his letter to Viereck from October 30, 1933.
Viereck's “Honorary Committee” to greet Hirschfeld in the USA in 1930
As the two begging letters of Hirschfeld to Viereck from 1933, which were unpublished up to now, and his letter from 1929 to Viereck with his thanks for getting the first volume of the "Wandering Jew", also two small newspaper clippings from the HHA archive give further indications of the closeness between George Sylvester Viereck and Magnus Hirschfeld (who Viereck once dubbed the “Einstein of sex” in an article announcing Hirschfeld's US journey). On December 9, 1930 the Evening Post in New York, which in 1928 had already reviewed Viereck's Wandering Jew, wrote about a big party that Viereck held in his Manhattan home in Hirschfeld's honor, when he arrived in New York in November 1930, where many prominent figures from the justice system and youth welfare system of the city were in attendance.
And in the New York American from November 16, 1930, Viereck had already announced Hirschfeld's visit to New York and introduced an “honorary committee” to greet Hirschfeld. This committee was overwhelmingly made up of people from his extreme right-wing and German-nationalist social sphere (see below). Viereck wrote often in the New York American, which was an offshoot of the German-nationalist- formed America First movement, and even bore the banner “America First!” on its pages.
During his trip to America, Hirschfeld published articles about his eugenics politics in the pages of the New York American, an arrangement made possible by Viereck. On the same day that Hirschfeld's article appeared, November 30, 1930, and partially on the same page, the paper published a story about Adolf Hitler's home life, supposedly written by Hitler's half-brother Alois, a small-time criminal who lived in England at the time.
The New York American belonged (along with the San Francisco Examiner, which announced Hirschfeld's presence on the West Coast) to the anti-Asian and pro-Irish racist William Randolph Hearst. His business principles were based on sensationalist journalism, and during World War I he publicized isolationist opponents of the American entrance into the war. His purpose was to help the German Empire weaken Great Britain – which at that point still occupied all of Ireland. Hearst, who vainly sought the offices of mayor of New York City and governor of New York State, followed his business interests as he wrote what the large groups of Irish and German immigrants wanted to read. With the Deutschen Journal (“America's Greatest German Newspaper”) his press also had a German paper in America. The paper was regarded to be German-friendly, and was created as a collaboration with German opponents to the war. It was seen as especially anti-British. Hearst and Viereck were in agreement here, because Viereck's ideological German nationalism made him into the bitter enemy of England. Because Hearst openly supported Germany at the end of the First World War, his papers were banned in Canada and in some US States, were often the object of boycotts, and were closed out of British and French newspaper stands. Because of this the papers contained pretty much only German war information (propaganda!). The New York Times called for a ban on Hearst papers under war-time law, and the New York public prosecutor even investigated Hearst because of his support of the Kaiser. (See the dissertation Macht und Ohnmacht der Worte William Randolph Hearst und der Weg der USA zur Weltmacht, 1898 - 1917 [Power and Lack of Power of Words: William Randolph Hearst and the US Path to World Power, 1898 – 1917] by Martin Bethke, who uncritically cites Viereck's writings multiple times, thereby essentially using Hearst himself and German nationalists as a source. University of Jena 2001.) Hearst's short films reporting on the war were often booed out of the silent film cinemas, as they were again in the 1930s. Hearst visited Hitler in 1934 (whom he had previously tried to popularize in America through his media). He then turned his media against the reelection of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, who had become a people's hero through his “New Deal,” and who despite Hearst's opposition won more than 60 percent of the vote.
Thus with its cry, “America First!” this paper of course meant only the white America of the European colonists and immigrants. Hearst also positioned his papers against the Treaty of Versailles. The New York American was a mouthpiece of the “America First” movement during World War II, which at that point was full of Nazis and anti-Semites. Viereck was a central member of the “America First” movement in both World Wars (see below).
And so it was here where Hirschfeld's visit to America was announced, and where his “honorary committee” was introduced.
The MHG writes on the website where Hirschfeld's letter of request to Viereck is posted: “The journalistic accompaniment of Hirschfeld's USA trip was arranged by G. S. Viereck.” (And it took place in the pages of the Hearst-trust, which reliably squired the publication of Viereck's books!) You can really only understand the meaning of this when on the one hand you understand the support of the Hearst-press for the German war goals, and on the other understand Hirschfeld's excitement about the German attack on Russia, Belgium and France that began World War I. Hirschfeld's trip was publicized in the German nationalist press in America. The Hearst-trust even filmed a short film about Hirschfeld and his theories as part of their production company Hearst Metrotone News, which made short political documentary news films. The Hirschfeld short was shown in the “Newsreel” cinemas in New York and other cities.
The New York Evening Post, which reported on Viereck's party for Hirschfeld, had German-Americans as its main readership. Until 1918 the Post was owned by the family of the German immigrant Heinrich Hilgard / Henry Villard, who were also accused of pro-German sympathies in the First World War. Carl Schurz was one of the heads of the Evening Post in the 19th Century: the paper had a long tradition in the German colonies. Viereck had attempted to build up the international democrat Carl Schurz, who at that point was already deceased, into the “Führer” of the German nationalists in the USA in articles in his own paper Fatherland (“Wanted – A Leader;” “Where is the Leader”). That was before he recognized that Adolf Hitler could be the Führer of the German-Americans. (Schurz had also at points been head of the shipping company Hamburg-Amerika-Linie HAPAG, which financed the German-American newspapers of the Viereck Publishing Company through advertisements, see below.)
Hirschfeld allegedly recieved a very “enthusiastic reception” in 1930 in America. Today's apologists call on this again and again (for example, Bauer: “enthusiastic reception of Hirschfeld in America,” in his 2006 article “Magnus Hirschfeld: Panhumanism and the Sexual Cultures of Asia,” which can be read on the HHA website. And what does the term “panhumanism” actually mean? Is there also a “humanism” that leaves out a portion of humanity? Mengele's humanism, which used “Aryan-” instead of “pan-” and wanted the “best” only for Germans? Bauer's unreflective, pompous, inflated language demonstrates only the absurdity of this term, and nothing else. The term “panhumanism,” used by Hirschfeld in his Phantom Race, actually seems to have been developed simultaneously by the Nazi philosopher Gerhard Kränzlin, whose books came from the S. Hirzel publishing house in the 1930s – the same one that put out Gustav Freytag's antisemitic novel Soll und Haben [Debt and Credit].) In any event, this reception of Hirschfeld in New York was mainly organized by Viereck through his publishing connections in the German-national circles. The Hearst Press also gets partial credit, as many local editions of the Hearst papers from across the US printed the same articles by Hirschfeld and Viereck again and again.
We have Erwin J. Haeberle, the HHA and its website to thank for making public exactly who was in the circle or "commettee" that received Hirschfeld in the US. But Haeberle and the HHA knew not to start anything with this treasure. Hirschfeld's connection to Viereck's eugenics propaganda in his Wandering Jew trilogy and Viereck's social circles, which were made up in part by German-nationalist Pan-German right-wing extremists, first became clear through the analysis that BIFFF... has first published here.
Just the headline of the newspaper excerpt (see below, which has been available for years on the HHA website but no one seemed to recognize its meaning) announcing Hirschfeld's arrival relates to Viereck's conception of “love” and breeding the superman: “Greatest Expert on Love to Study Romance in U.S.” Then Viereck quotes Hirschfeld: “The marriage of the future will be made not in heaven, but in the laboratory.” Lovers must serve this higher goal and must put themselves at the service of the dictate of the laboratory scientist. Viereck's Maimonides says this in Invincible Adam, and Hirschfeld writes it himself in the newspaper articles that Viereck arranged for him.
In the last paragraph of this announcement Viereck lists the people who form Hirschfeld's “honorary committee for his reception” in the USA. Along with Viereck himself are: Benjamin Barr Lindsey as the “chairman,” Harry Elmer Barnes, Harry Benjamin, Abraham Arden Brill, Mary Ware Dennett, Charles Fleischer, A. A. Goldwater, Horace Brisbin Liveright, William Josephus Robinson, Gregory Strangnell, Samuel Aaron Tannenbaum and Albrecht Paul Maerker-Branden. Viereck writes the names incorrectly in part: Robinson was not “William B.,” Maerker-Branden wrote his name without a “c” and Tannenbaum pronounced his name “Tennenbaum“ in English but wrote it with an “a.
This is how the Haeberle Hirschfeld Archive at Humboldt University in Berlin presents the newspaper clipping of George Sylvester Viereck:
If you click on the picture, this is how it looks enlarged:
(BIFFF... screenshots from the HHA website on the homepage of the Berlin Humboldt University.)
The last paragraph with the names of the “honorary committee” that Viereck put together for Hirschfeld is interesting. The HHA doesn't offer anything more about the people named there. We have researched them further and so for the first time can here illuminate the spheres in which Hirschfeld moved in the US.
We have researched these people and offer the following portraits of them (with the exception of A.A. Goldwater, about whom we have as of yet been able to find nothing). Besides Benjamin and Robinson from the World League for Sexual Reform there were acquaintances of Viereck from the German-nationalist movement in the USA and from Viereck's current publication projects, a well-known New York psychoanalyst, a “volkish” right-wing politician who at that time was currently involved in a very publicized trial, and an internationally-known lawyer and politican who was involved in youth issues. They were related to each other and to Hirschfeld by their common eugenic understanding of “love,” or by their acquaintance with Viereck, who put the committee together after Hirschfeld's letter asking for a “worthy reception.”
The most noteworthy of the group are Viereck himself and his long-time collaborator Harry E. Barnes. Like Viereck, Barnes was affiliated with National Socialism. Later Barnes was affiliated with Neo-Nazism and the Auschwitz denier scene after WW II. He was the leading representative of this scene in the USA, which made him one of the stars of the German Holocaust deniers, and made him a widely-known object of German anti-fascist critique, while Viereck was hardly known in Germany. Two more close friends of Hirschfeld deserve closer examination: Robinson, an extreme eugenicist, and Benjamin, who attempted to “heal” homosexuals and conducted human experiments. In Benjamin's last interview in 1986, which was conducted by Erwin J. Haeberle, Benjamin spoke of Viereck as “our mutual friend.” This despite the fact that Viereck had long been a persona non grata, after his years of imprisonment in the US for supporting the Nazis and his further refusal to distance himself from the Nazis in the 1950s.
George Sylvester Viereck
Viereck, whom we profiled briefly in 2008, is still a well known figure in American research about German influence on American public opinion about World War I, the revision of the Treaty of Versailles, the revision of the “War Guilt Clause” which gave Germany sole responsibility for the First World War, and Nazi Germany. His literary work is commonly (and correctly) regarded as third-class propaganda aimed at the societally and morally disoriented, economically prosperous American middle class with German roots. The connection to Hirschfeld's work, which are found throughout, is usually ignored, just as Hirschfeld's references to Viereck have been ignored in the new German reception of Hirschfeld since the 1980s. However, Viereck's political work is still intensively interrogated in the US today. Just recently (2011) his name came up on a blog, where a parallel was drawn between antisemitic attacks on the current US Federal Reserve chairman and Viereck's attacks on US President Woodrow Wilson, who Viereck claimed “conspired with Jewish bankers.”
There are countless scholarly political and cultural books and articles in which Viereck plays a central or supporting role, mainly published in the USA. There are also countless and often contradictory and in part blatantly false writings about him on the Internet (as there are about his father Louis).
By 1943, athe nti-fascist muckraking journalist Avedis Boghos Derounian had documented Viereck's activities for Nazi Germany in the book Under Cover: My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld in America, published under his pseudonym John Roy Carlson (Dutton, New York).
In 1971, the Harvard Professor Phyllis Keller published her long study "George Sylvester Viereck: The Psychology of a German-American Militant” in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Vol. 2, 1, 1971, pp. 59-108). In it she called Viereck the “spokesman for militant pro-Germanism” during World War I and “one of the major pro-Nazi propagandists.” (The study can not yet be fully analyzed here.)
A superficial and partially error-ridden short biography of Viereck was published in 1968, based on the materials that were willed to the library archives at the University of Iowa. Niel M. Johnson's George Sylvester Viereck: Poet and Propagandist was published in the 9th edtion of “Books at Iowa,” a series from the University. The MHG linked to the book when they published Hirschfeld's October 1930 letter in 2005, without recognizing the importance of Viereck. In 1972 Johnson published an expanded version of the book as George Sylvester Viereck: German-American Propagandist (University of Illinois Press). In this biography, Johnson offered the portrait of Viereck that is still largely dominant today.
In his article “Wilhelm II and the Jews,” Lamar Cecil intensively worked over Viereck's relationship with the abdicated Kaiser Wilhelm II., who had bombarded Viereck with antisemitic letters in the 1920s. The article appeared in the collection Juden im Wilhelminischen Deutschland 1890 - 1914 (Jews in Wilhelmine Germany 1980 – 1914,) published by Werner E. Mosse (London, Tübingen 1976/1998). Viereck – with the sharpest diatribes removed - published the letters of Wilhelm II in Hearst papers like the New York American.
In 1978 the Jewish-American liberal-left-wing human rights attorney Elmer Gertz brought out his own reckoning of Viereck. He had written it at the end of the 1940s, but no one would publish it. Odyssey of a Barbarian: The Biography of George Sylvester Viereck portrays Viereck as an exceptionally gifted poet (who first published his poems in the USA with the help of German-Jewish immigrants), who then profoundly disappointed Gertz with his pro-Nazi politics.
Besides Stableford's literary-critical study from 2007 about Viereck's Wandering Jew trilogy, cited above, two articles were recently published about Viereck's role in German-friendly propaganda in the USA. Peter Conolly-Smith from City University of New York wrote the 2009 article “Casting Teutonic Types from the Nineteenth Century to World War I: German Ethnic Stereotypes in Print, on Stage, and Screen.” It appeared in the Columbia Journal of American Studies and includes long passages about Viereck's critique of anti-German US films in World War I (Vol. 9, Fall 2009, pp. 48-83).
Gregory J. Kupsky wrote about Viereck's politics and political publications from the 1910s to 1940s in a chapter of his dissertation in 2010. The long chapter is called “'Hitler or Chaos': George Sylvester Viereck and Ethnic Chauvinism,” in his dissertation “The True Spirit of the German People:” German-Americans and National Socialism 1919 - 1955 (Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio).
All of these authors fail to recognize the “conservative revolution” as a literary movement of the forefathers, contemporaries (of whom only a few were critical) and perpetrators of fascism and National Socialism. They thus fail to understand Viereck's role as the US representative of this movement, starting at the beginning of the 20th century. Johnson even mostly leaves out Viereck's efforts to make antisemitism seem harmless. Gertz doesn't understand the coherence of Viereck's actions through the decades and divides him into separate lives: the poet and the politician. Stableford lacks any understanding of the connections between fantastical literature and the topoi of fascist literature and ideology. Nor is Kupsky in a position to recognize and portray the relationship between Viereck's works of poetry and his political agitation.
But they all (except for Stableford) share a clear understanding of Viereck as the most prominent German-American supporter of the German Empire's war goals, of Kaiser Wilhelm II as a person, of the revision of the War Guilt Clause, of the propaganda for the dissolved Empire during the 1920s, and of Nazi Germany. It is clear that none of them know Hirschfeld, and he thus remains unmentioned. (Johnson, the only exception, mentions Hirschfeld in passing. It's true that among the many letters in the Viereck Collection at the University of Iowa, where Johnson did his work, there is no correspondence with Hirschfeld. There isn't any in the second-largest Viereck collection at the Yale University Library in New Haven, Connecticut, either.) This indicates the utter unimportance of Hirschfeld in the US – contradictory to the fabrications of Haeberle, MHG and others. If any of the researchers had been familiar with Hirschfeld, many things would have pointed them towards the connection between the two: Viereck's sexual-reform agitations, his (in part homo-) erotic poetry, his own occasionally alleged homoerotic inclinations, his well-documented contacts with Alfred Kinsey, and his attempts to clear himself of the accusation of Nazism by mentioning his Jewish friends. But Hirschfeld is not known in the US, except in the very narrow circles around the Kinsey-Institute and the dubious Sex-Institutes in San Francisco and Orlando, which were heavily influenced by Haeberle. He is especially not known in the gay, lesbian and transgender rights movements in the USA, where no one knows his name (as we checked in 2009), let alone the content of his work. Thus the mutual influence that Viereck and Hirschfeld had on each other's work, and their mutual support of each other's publications have not been a subject of research.
Viereck and Hirschfeld, who was sixteen years older, first met during Hirschfeld's short time studying in Munich in 1889-1890, when Viereck was five. They met in the house of Hirschfeld's friends Louis Viereck, who by then had already withdrawn from the Social Democrats, and his American wife Laura. Franz Georg Edwin Louis Withold was born in Berlin in 1851 as illegitimate child of Edwina Viereck, a Prussian “King's Court actress.” (“Sublime as a lady of leisure” on the stage, as reported in the German Stage Almanac 1857.) According to Louis' claims in the the 19th century and his son George Sylvester's in the 20th, Louis was an illegitimate son of the Prussian Crown successor Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig von Hohenzollern, who later became King Wilhelm I of Prussia and still later in 1871 founded the German Empire and became Kaiser Wilhelm I who was involved with the actress in the 1late 840s/early 50s. Louis was thus a half-brother of the Kaiser Friedrich III, who ruled in 1888, and his son George Sylvester was thus a sort of “half-cousin” of Friedrich's son, Kaiser Wilhelm II. In the 1920s, Hirschfeld's colleague Eugen Steinach, whom George Sylvester revered, claimed that these were all lies. There is obviously a lack of reliable sources about the claims. But Louis Viereck is still widely known as an “illegitimate son” of the man who became Kaiser Wilhelm I, “taken over” and officially recognized as a son by a less prominent member of the Hohenzollern family in order to avoid a scandal.
The life-long friendship between Hirschfeld and George Sylvester Viereck came from the roots of Hirschfeld's deep, if short, friendship with Louis Viereck, who emigrated with his family to America in 1896 - '97 and didn't live in Berlin again until 1911- 1921.
Louis, who broke off a course of medical study and who successfully graduated with a law degree but never finished his state exams, joined the Social Democrats after an internship at the Prussian courts in 1877. Starting in 1878 he worked for Social Democratic papers as a journalist and publisher, but because of the anti-Socialist laws he had to move at the beginning of 1879 from Berlin to Leipzig. In Leipzig, despite lacking any knowledge of business he became a (mildly successful) head and part-partner of a cooperative print shop. (He was the official owner of the shop, whose cooperative nature and affiliation with Socialism had to be hidden because of the anti-Socialist laws). He worked there closely together with the resident party leaders in Leipzig, August Bebel and Wilhelm Hasenclever. After the imposition of the siege on Leipzig (an effort to tamp down the strong Social Democracy there) he had to flee to Munich, where he founded and ran more illegal papers and presses for the Social Democrats. In these publications he often declared to the state to be the publisher and copy right holder as a private person, which obviously “happened” to be helpful for collecting a small private asset.
It is known that between 1879 and 1881, Viereck had an exchange of letters with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels about tactical questions of the party press, the fact that the press had too radical a tone for Louis Viereck, and other matters. At the beginning of 1881, party leaders sent Viereck to the USA on a fundraising trip/circuit of lectures about German Social Democracy and Socialism; he brought back a net yield of “fifteen thousand marks” to help finance the election fight of 1881. (This number is according to August Bebel in Aus meinem Leben [From My Life], Chapter 18; others have mentioned 30,000 or 13,000 marks.) He also brought back his wife Laura. She was reputedly a cousin of his and was the daughter of a German who had emigrated to America after taking part in the failed 1848 revolution. She brought George Sylvester into the world on December 31, 1884 in Munich. Louis had been in Munich since 1882, where he was the official owner (as a front under the anti-Socialism laws), editor and intellectual head of the liberal-Social-Democratic Süddeutschen Post, which was forbidden in 1884 and which was founded again in 1888 by Viereck as the Münchner Post.
Louis Viereck had long been an open adherent of and propagandist for the anti-Marxist “natural organic” Socialism of Eugen Dühring, who taught at Berlin University. Dühring's “organic volks-economic teachings” and his “social organic forms of society” later led to his anti-Socialist, antisemitic and anti-feminist conception of a “Socialism of the Aryan people” (Dühring). In the time around 1880, Louis Viereck also supported Dühring's ideas as the head of the “Mohren Club,” a meeting of Social Democratic politicians of the intra-party “Dühring movement” at Mohren Street in Berlin. Dühring's philosophy offered early indications of the fascist “formed society.” Friedrich Engles and August Bebel fought against Dühring's many adherents in the German Social Democratic party. Engels' tract “Anti-Dühring” from 1878, in which he lays bare the irrationality of Dühring's early thoughts, can thus been seen as one of the first anti-fascist writings! With his 1881 pamphlet “Die Judenfrage als Rassen-, Sitten- und Kulturfrage. Mit einer weltgeschichtlichen Antwort" (The Jewish Question as a Question of Race, Morals, and Culture: With a World-Historical Answer,) which later greatly influenced the Nazi-chief-ideologue Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Dühring was fully baptized in the water of extermination-geared anti-Semitism, and can been seen as a forefather of the Nazis. Louis Viereck was not particularly interested in the antisemitic aspects of Dühring (which were first expressed later). He was much more interested in other parts of Dühring's allegedly nature-oriented “organic” world view and social theory, i.e. the “interests of the whole and its order.” Note that in this sense “organic” means anti-Enlightenment and anti-liberal, and the “order” is not questioned. Instead it is assumed to be a natural order, according to Dühring in 1866 in the foreword to his "Kritische Grundlegung der Volkswirtschaftslehre" (Critical Foundations of Political Economy). Louis represented these ideas further on also in the 20th century, as did his son George Sylvester.
It would be interesting to further research the extent that Hirschfeld's “human assimilation” and the “unification process” of the German people that he and George Sylvester Viereck sought during World War I and the world economic crisis came from Dühring's early teachings about a pre-fascist organized society. Hirschfeld could have first learned these teachings as a very young – and thus impressionable – man in the house of the Viereck family. It was an exciting time for the family, because it was around then that Louis was fully pushed out of the Social Democratics and (with his unfinished medical studies!) entered into the Naturopathy movement, to which Hirschfeld was also committed. Because of our earlier research it is safe to say that ideologues from the circle around Hirschfeld's colleague Arthur Kronfeld attached themselves to Dühring. This despite the fact that some of them came from a Jewish background, and that Dühring was already known as an antisemitic agitator. It was obviously not a problem for them that Dühring's late work brought together antisemitism, anti-feminism and homophobia. (Herzer does rightly mention this in his usually quite horrible biography of Hirschfeld – a book that defined today's picture of Hirschfeld, and which only mentions Hirschfeld's friendship with Louis - Herzer naming him wrong: "Ludwig" - Viereck in passing, and doesn't ever mention Hirschfeld's life-long friendship with George Sylvester.) It was also not a problem for Hirschfeld's close coworker Benedict Friedlaender, who came from a Jewish family and worshiped Dühring, which Herzer mentions.
Louis Viereck was one of two dozen Social Democratic parliamentary representatives for August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht's Socialist Workers Party after the Party's surprisingly good showing in the 1884 elections. He served until the new election in 1887. He represented the Leipzig region, in which he had unsuccessfully campaigned in 1878 and 1881, including runs as a dark horse candidate in the Magdeburg and Berlin election districts. (At that point it was permitted to run for more than one office in different districts.) In 1887, although he ran again, he was not reelected. In the handbook of the Parliament in 1884 he was listed as a “Social Democrat,” (member of the SPD-forerunner “Socialist Workers Party,” which renamed itself the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) after the end of the anti-Socialist laws in 1890) “religiously unaffiliated,” (he had left the Evangelical church; Johnson calls him an “agnostic pantheist”) Munich based journalist. The protocols of the parliament list three speeches from Viereck. The first was an hours-long speech on March 24, 1886 seeking the repeal of the “dynamite law.” He and others opposed the “Law against the criminal and publicly dangerous use of explosives” because they believed its inspection requirements put the workers in the explosives- and metal-industry at a competitive disadvantage. (This law had been passed because of political assassination attempts, one of which was the failed attempt on Kaiser Wilhelm I – Louis' father! There was an attempt against the entire court at the dedication of the Niederwald monument in 1883.) On September 18, 1886, he spoke about the siege on Leipzig. His last speech is about budgets for the post and telegraphs. In 1886 Louis Viereck was sentenced to nine months of imprisonment after a wide-ranging trial of prominent people in the Party, including Bebel, Auer and Vollmar. They had been charged with attempting to found a Social Democratic organization that was illegal under the anti-Socialist laws. Before the process, on March 3, 1883, Louis was arrested with other prominent party leaders including Vollmar at the Kiel train station, because of their participation in an party conference in Copenhagen that was illegal under the anti-Socialist laws. The police seized a tract, “Outline of a secret organization of Social Democracy,” which caused the state lawyer of the Kingdom of Saxony to charge them with “forming secret parties” (§ 129 of the country's penal code, which threatened up to a year of prison for participation in a society whose goal and pursuit were hindering the administration or execution of laws through unlawful means). After an initial acquittal, which was overturned by the Supreme Court of the Empire, the legal process lasted until 1886.
Louis Viereck was the subject of further criminal procedures because of his participation in illegal gatherings in the Empire and libel, which were suspended by a legislative resolution because of his membership in parliament. After the end of his term he had to serve the nine-month sentence. After his jail time he did not want to be openly called on at the party congress in October 1887 in the Swiss town of St. Gallen. This was seen as an act of cowardice that lacked solidarity, and he was reprimanded at the congress, where a resolution was passed that he and others who acted similarly would not be given trusted positions in the party in the future. (This did not happen at the party congress in Wyden, as is wrongly stated in the Internet database “biosop. Biographies of Social Democrat Parliamentarians in the German Empire- and State-Parliaments 1867 – 1933,” by Wilhelm H. Schröder at the Center for Historical Social Research in the Leibniz-Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Cologne. The Wyden congress took place in 1880, and St. Gallen was in 1887.)
The friendship between Louis Viereck and Hirschfeld is often used by present-day Hirschfeld apologists to portray Hirschfeld as a brave Social Democrat. But they remain silent about Louis Viereck's increasing marginalization from the party and his propaganda for the pre-fascist Eugen Dühring. (And it may be well noted that a bigger part of the fascist personel, e.g. Mussolini or the Starsser brothers, came out of the Socialist movement, as a lot of there followers did.)
As Wilhelm Blos wrote in his two-volume book "Denkwürdigkeiten eines Sozialdemokraten" (Commentaries of a Social Democrat, Munich 1914/1919) Louis Viereck, who “inwardly had never been a Social Democrat,” quickly turned away from the party after being reprimanded in St. Gallen. Blos also mentions that Louis – like himself – was a member of a fraternity, and that as a member of the Student Corps in his full uniform he looked like a “Marburg Teuton.” (Louis was a member of the Marburg Teuton Corps and the Berlin Normannia Corps.) The true falling out between Louis and the Party was in 1889/1890, when a quarrel with the Bavarian SPD-leader Georg von Vollmar led to Viereck having to leave the Münchner Post. He had founded the paper as the legal private owner, but in fact was a front for the party ownership because of the anti-Socialist laws. After Viereck's fight with Vollmar and the end of the anti-Socialist laws in 1890, the party directly took over the press. (The book Louis Viereck und seine Münchner Blätter für Arbeiter 1882 - 1889, L.V. and his Munich Workers' Papers 1882 – 1889, by Ulrich Hess and Margot Lindemann, was published in 1961, but can not be evaluated here.) August Bebel mentioned Viereck in his autobiography Aus meinem Leben only briefly, but he distanced himself from him and accused him of trying to make money from intra-party quarrels about the tactical course of the illegal Social Democrats. Eduard Bernstein, who had worked with Louis Viereck in the beginning of the “Dühring Movement,” referred to him before the 1884 election in a letter to Friedrich Engels as a “sehr unsicheren Kantonisten" (a very loose cannon,) which he meant politically. There had also been some criticism of Louis Viereck's “unproletariat” appearances during his trip to America in 1881. On January 18, 1884, Engels wrote a letter to Bebel, in which he said that Louis Viereck and his companion on the trip, Friedrich Wilhelm Fritzsche, had twisted the “party stance into vulgar democracy, petty bourgeois philistinism,” which “no sum of American money” could rectify. Karl Kautsky (later a main proponent of eugenic concepts in the SPD) distanced himself from Viereck in an 1885 letter to Engels, citing such “wide-ranging differences of principles and tactics that I find it impossible to conceive of working together with him.”
Rumors had already spread among the Social Democrats about Louis Viereck's paternity, and he was mocked for his association with Wilhelm I as his biological father. In August 1885, Viereck spoke at a workers' gathering in Munich and said that the Kaiser would certainly do more for poor workers if he knew how badly they were doing. This resulted in protests against Viereck in the Social Democratic presses. Friedrich Engels reacted as well, and wrote to Karl Kautsky on September 6, 1885: “The man wants to make himself the favorite child of his Papa.” Engels wrote to Hermann Schlüter in Zürich on September 23, 1885: “ is incorrigible. The appeal to his Papa is touching. The old one will give him the rod.” Here Engels used a square, “,” to refer to Louis!, as Hirschfeld later did to refer to his son George Sylvester (see above).
After his withdrawal from the Social Democrats Louis Viereck was active in the naturopathy movement, first in Munich from 1890 to 1894, and then in Berlin until his emigration in 1896. In Munich he was, among other positions, the Chairman of the Association for Natural Health Care, and in Berlin he was Chairman of the National Association for the Improvement of the People's Health. In this period he published health periodicals such as "Hygienische Korrespondenz" and "Die Gesundheit" (Hygiene Correspondence and The Health.)
In the USA, Louis Viereck had many connections who were helpful during his new beginning – exiles from the failed 1848 revolution who had become rich, acquaintances from his party trip in 1881, and relatives of his American wife Laura. In New York, he built newspapers and presses for the extensive German-speaking immigrant community. He advocated for German-language school education and the use of German as the official language of the US (!), or at least of parts of the country. Naturalized in 1901, in 1902 he and the US Office of Education published the pamphlet “German Instruction in American Schools.”
A sample of his publishing efforts: "Der deutsche Vorkämpfer" (The German Innovator) was published monthly starting in 1907 by the Viereck Publishing Company. The directors were listed in the May 1908 masthead as “L. Viereck, President; George Sylvester Viereck, Vice-President and Secretary.” In 1911 George Sylvester became the president of the firm. Single issues cost 10 cents in the USA, while a yearly subscription was 1 dollar. “In the German Empire or its colonies” it cost four marks, and it cost five crowns in Austro-Hungary. In 1911 the price doubled. Their own 1910 estimates said at least 10,000 copies had been printed. The bilingual Rundschau zweier Welten / Review of Two Worlds began in 1911 as follower, and in 1912 The International was added, in which George Sylvester wrote and edited. By 1909 George Sylvester already had sole publishing responsibility, and from 1910/11 he was listed as “President” of the press and “Chief Editor.”
The Vierecks also published political-cultural pamphlets about single subjects of the German experience. These pamphlets and the newspapers included practical advice for immigrants, reports from German communities in US states (“State of German Culture in...”), regular economic and business reports (because after all that's why one emigrated to America!), and labor market reviews and job listings by and for Germans in the US. (For example: “Single, experienced man for general farm and dairy. Must milk well and know how to handle horses. $20 - $25 monthly pay” - without experience you could get $10 - $15 a month – even the East Elbian Junker in the furthest reaches of the Empire payed more than Viereck's advertisers!) The publications also contained ongoing polemics from the pen of George Sylvester and others against the beginnings of the prohibition movement. (His opposition was largely because of the many German breweries in the USA, which advertised in Viereck's papers and thus brought money to his new press. This subject proved to be the one time in their lives that there was dissonance between George Sylvester Viereck and the anti-alcohol Hirschfeld!) They contained literary announcements about new German books, “official announcements of the German Imperial General Consulate,” as well as ads for German (naturopathy-) doctors, for German collection agencies that prayed on the poor immigrants, for steam boat lines in the old homeland, for rental firms who rented typewriters with German letters, etc. etc. The Vierecks more and more successfully brought in lucrative advertisers beyond just the large shipping lines (the HAPAG and the north-German Lloyd bought entire pages in his publications). Large breweries like Anheuser-Busch and Pabst, German fine-dining restaurants in New York, wine and champagne companies, and Steinway Pianos all bought large announcements in Viereck's pages and thus secured the existence of Viereck Publishing company. Soon his business thrived, thanks to Germans and German culture ("Deutschtum").
The reports from the editors were always full of unbridled chauvinism. The call to “Defend German Issues” from a 1908 edition of Der deutsche Vorkämpfer was much more a political and economic watchword than a call to care for German folk traditions in the era of imperialism. Many groups like the “German Gymnastics Club of Texas,” “the German art of singing” and the monthly meeting of the “Association of Former Corps Students,” (“The local group in New York has its regular gatherings in uniform at the pub at 54 Second Avenue”; all translations into English from the German originals by BIFFF…) advertised in the paper. When the papers issued a call to a “Fichte-Fest” because of the 100-year-anniversary of Fichte's anti-Napoleonic, chauvinistic “Reden an die deutsche Nation" (Speech to the German Nation,) there were multiple reasons behind it: national feeling for the current, if far away, German Empire, hatred against foreigners, Fichte's hatred of the Jews, as well Fichte's “anti-imperialist” sentiments about French capital, which had captured the entire European market with the help of Napoleon's army. Louis Viereck wanted to establish an “aristocracy of thinking and opinion” (L. V.) among German immigrants in America, an aristocracy built on a Wilhelmine foundation. In this he was the successful teacher of his son George Sylvester. For example, in the January 1908 of Der deutsche Vorkämpfer (see below for the clip) they reprinted an article from the Alldeutsche Blätter (Pan-German Pages). This was the paper of the notorious "Alldeutscher Verband" (Pan-German Association of Carl Peters, Heinrich Claß). In the article was the sentence: “For many thousands of years the culture of humanity has relied mainly on our Aryan race.” This article was especially recommended in the editorial lede. Given all that, one can imagine how the paper's readers, even in the “liberal” north of the USA, treated their black servants. In the same article, agitation against the “mediocrity of the masses” makes it easy to recognize what Viereck's “aristocrat” plan would mean for workers. Viereck, the one-time coworker of the German socialists' leader August Bebel, no longer represented the interests of these workers. The article continues, arguing that “the spiritual culture of Germany” must become “the leader of humanity,” and that “German people in the States must set the goal of giving this country the language of their intellectual-aristocracy.” That is the sentiment behind the title of Der deutsche Vorkämpfer and is a version of “human assimilation.” In short, during the Kaiser-times, was this expressed by the German saying "Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen" (on the German spirit, the world is supposed to recover.)
And of course one must not forget that many many German immigrants wanted nothing to do with this chauvinism.
The pan-German agitation of German-Americans by both Vierecks started from the very beginning with the watchword: The world will recover through German nature. This watchword was applied to America. The German immigrants were supposed to become the leading powers of America. The agitation was racist, chauvinist and elitist, against democracy as a form of government, and honored Kaiser Wilhelm II as a leader equal to God, someone who would obviously lead the “Aryan” sub-races developing in the USA to world domination. At the same time George Sylvester distanced himself more and more from system of hereditary monarchy and moved closer to the fascist chosen leadership by carrying forward his worship of Wilhelm II. He wrote of the Kaiser in 1909 that Wilhelm II was so genial that he would also have been elected by the German people. As tensions grew in international economic and political arenas in the lead-up to World War I, Der deutsche Vorkämpfer and its follower Rundschau zweier Welten, and the literary magazine The International - which George Sylvester bought and merged with the Rundschau in 1912 - grew more and more radical and incendiary.
The first printings of some of George Sylvester's poems and novels came out in the “literary” part of the magazines, including a serialized German version of his book The House of the Vampyre. This book treated themes of the “conservative revolution” in the fantastical style. Thus, father and son Viereck cooperated in these publications for German immigrants.
"Der Deutsche Vorkämpfer":In order to squeeze more money from German immigrants, who were often helpless at the beginning of their time in America, and who almost all landed in New York, the Vierecks took over the “immigration committee” of the “Deutschamerikanischer Nationalbund" (German American National Association) in New York. Louis was the “Chairman” and his son, who now went by “Georg” instead of his American English baptized name George, was his deputy. For a period Louis used only his first initial publicly, to avoid causing any irritation with his French first name. Louis' pamphlet “Leitfaden für deutsche Einwanderer" (Manual for German Immigrants) became a bestseller of the committee.
The University of Wisconsin has published issues of Viereck-papers online. All over the world people can read about what was really going on with Hirschfeld's long-life friends Louis and George Sylvester Viereck.
The paper wrote about the Aryan-craze as “modern observations”...
...and made clear what “human assimilation” under the sought-after rule
of the white “race” should look like:
(By the way: Hirschfeld had already written, in 1884, the article “Traum einer Weltsprache" (Dream of a World Language”.)
The serial publication of George Sylvester Viereck's vampire book began in the same January 1908 issue of Der deutsche Vorkämpfer:
March 1908 edition of Der deutsche Vorkämpfer with George Sylvester Viereck listed as “Literary Editor:”
In May 1908 George Sylvester Viereck was named “Editor of the Feuilleton” and was listed as the “Vice-President and Secretary” of the “Viereck Publishing Company” in New York:
In January 1910 the Vierecks tried to transform their company into a better-positioned incorporated company. They urged the readers, “with German greetings” (later the salutation of the Nazis,) to buy share certificates for $100 and “preferred shares” with 4 % annual interest for $10.
In the same issue, “human assimilation” as in the Wandering Jew trilogy: “grafting” through “racial” mixing is suggested as the alternative to the contemptuous talk of the “bastardization in the melting pot.” This is the same as Hirschfeld's thinking, but of course in the sense of the blond, blue-eyed and light-skinned “Aryans:”
(All pictures from “Der deutsche Vorkämpfer” above: BIFFF... screenshots from the Internet site of the University of Wisconsin. Yellow marks by BIFFF...)
The anti-racist, cultural relativistic German American anthropologist and ethnologist Franz Boas, who is misinterpreted in the article above, came from an atheist family of Jewish descent, and among other reasons emigrated to the USA because of antisemitism at German universities, was a relative of the ship owner and General Director of the “Hamburg-America” shipping line HAPAG, Emil L. Boas. Emil's advertisements helped to finance the Viereck papers, and George Sylvester Viereck dedicated a two-page obituary to him in the “Rundschau” in 1912.
In 1909 Louis moved back to Germany and starting in 1911 lived again in Berlin, where he sometimes edited excerpts from German papers for his American publications, now led in the US by his son George Sylvester. In these he introduced himself as “L. Viereck, previous member of the German parliament” (he, who made a total of three speeches in parliament!), in order to increase the importance of his reader's digest. At the end of World War I he was accused by the US government of spying for the Empire, with whom the US had been at war since 1917, with the help of his son George Sylvester who had meanwhile become the “President” of the press and he used it to advertise for the German war objectives. When George Sylvester organized acommemorative book for Louis' 70th birthday, it was Magnus Hirschfeld who wrote a piece in there. After Louis died in 1922 in the spa city Bad Wildungen (which had run advertisements for the power of its waters to cure abdominal illnesses in the Der deutsche Vorkämpfer), Hirschfeld continued to have contact with Louis' wife and George Sylvester's mother Laura Viereck in Berlin.
Louis Viereck was the subject of scholarly work and writings because he was a prominent advocate of German colonies in the USA and propagandist of Pan-Germanism. His German-language book Zwei Jahrhunderte deutschen Unterrichts in den Vereinigten Staaten (Two Centuries of German Teaching in the United States) was republished in America in 2010 (!).
So it was in this environment that the friendship between Hirschfeld and Louis Viereck developed. But it was with the son George Sylvester that Hirschfeld had the longer and more intense relationship. George Sylvester Viereck, learned in the publishing trade of his father, was fitted out with a significant fortune provided by the readers of the volkish-racist nonsense coming of the Viereck Publishing Company and by advertising dollars from German-American companies. George Sylvester did not only follow in his father's footsteps, but radically increased his pan-German chauvinist agitation. Supported by the well-known German chauvinist and imperial warmonger Hugo Münsterberg (an industrial and employment psychologist from Harvard University, who appreciated George Sylvester's early poetry), the younger Viereck didn't have anything holding him back.
"Rundschau zweier Welten" (Review of Two Worlds)
under the leadership of George Sylvester Viereck:
The University of Michigan has put issues of the Rundschau zweier Welten online. The Rundschau superseded the Der deutsche Vorkämpfer. In this special edition of the Rundschau, George Sylvester Viereck and Hugo Münsterberg offer an excited welcome to the war flotilla of Kaiser Wilhelm II, which was on a visit to New York … (pictures above and below).
... and they prepare for the coming World War;
sealed with Münsterberg's signature:
In 1912 (!) the salutation “Deutscher Gruß” (German greetings) in the Rundschau were strengthened with an edge of swastikas ...
... and they honored German policy, which was then in the process of preparing for war, as a feat of the Kaiser that the USA would also use
(if they were led by Germans!)
(All pictures above from the Rundschau zweier Welten are BIFFF... screenshots from the website of the University of Michigan. Yellow markings by BIFFF...)
Consider these friends of Hirschfeld's in the year 1915 - Louis Viereck, now living in Berlin and regularly publishing his “Brief aus Berlin" (Berlin Letter) about the political conditions in and around the German Empire in his son's Rundschau zweier Welten, and George Sylvester, who often visited his father. In this light it is easier to understand the intellectual atmosphere around Hirschfeld when he published his treatise “Warum hassen uns die Völker?" (Why Do People Hate Us?,) a “reflection on the psychology of war” that celebrated the German invasion of Russia, Belgium and France. As our earlier research already shows, Hirschfeld's entire environment, even during the war, was similarly minded.
The emotionally effusive letters from Hirschfeld to George Sylvester Viereck from 1929, 1930 and 1933, and Hirschfeld's entry in the commemorative book for Louis Viereck in 1921 do not give the impression that the Vierecks would have steered clear of their old friend Hirschfeld during their time in Berlin in 1908-1909. To the contrary. One can therefore surmise that there was continually a friendly relationship between them, and a stirring exchange of ideas.
According to Johnson, George Sylvester Viereck traveled back to Germany for the first time in 1908 – at 34 years of age – and wrote his travel experiences in the series of articles “Confessions of a Barbarian” in German, which came out in Der deutsche Vorkämpfer in 1909. They came out as a collection in English in the book of the same title in 1910 (see below). For the noble audience of the Prussian ruling house of the Hohenzollern (who were blood relations) and the middle-class salon-public of Berlin, George Sylvester gave lectures about the German-American relationship. In 1911 he lectured at Berlin University (today's Humboldt University) on American literature.
In 1907, during the “Harden Eulenburg Affair” on homosexuality in Wilhelm II's closest circle of advisors, Hirschfeld had served as an expert witness on homosexuality. George Sylvester wrote about the affair in his “Confessions” article in Der deutsche Vorkämpfer (see below.) At this time Hirschfeld was extremely active in politics and sexual reform, and Viereck was extremely interested in everything – including homosexuality (just in terms of literature?). By 1904 Viereck and the sexual psychologist Eugen Steinach had exchanged writings, listed in the Viereck-Collection at the University of Iowa. Johnson suggests that George Sylvester Viereck read books by Hirschfeld that he found in the library of his father. And after Louis Viereck and his wife moved back to Germany in 1909 and to Berlin in 1911, old friendships would certainly have been revived. This is especially likely because Viereck was no longer allowed his old friendships from the Social Democratic Party because of his quarrels from 1887, '89 and '90 and his public embrace of the Prussian court and the Kaiser's politics, which were fought by the Social Democrats. With whom would one drink coffee, if not with the hunch-backed relations at the court and with Hirschfeld, who also could help treat the abdominal pains outside of the Bad Wildungen water cures? One can speculate about whether Hirschfeld perhaps learned the “eugenic” gossip about the “degeneration” in German nobility, with which he peppered his sexual-”scholarly” books, directly from Louis Viereck.
In the deeply antidemocratic, racist and elitist Confessions of a Barbarian (New York 1910), George Sylvester Viereck's fascist world-view is essentially established. He originally published the work as a series of articles in order to aid the orientation of “leaderless American thought” (Viereck). In it he writes that because of his “doubled race consciousness” as an (Indo-) European and American, he was chosen to show the Americans the Wilhelmine way as the way of the future. He wanted to “Germanize” America. In an awkward literary trick, he portrayed American civilization as “barbaric,” against which “Europe,” in which he included the German Empire and its neighbors to the north, represented the cultural alternative which America must replicate to avoid failure. He invented the construct “American furor,” compared with the already-extant expression “Furor Teutonicus” as the menace to the European neighbors. So in this work he had already turned the barbarism of German chauvinists, which was criticized in the civilized Western world, into the highest levels of human development.
"Confessions of a Barbarian” in its German translation in 1909
as a series in Der deutsche Vorkämpfer:
In 1909-1910 Viereck called Wilhelm II the born leader of Europe and the USA, if not the entire world, just as the circle around Hirschfeld continued to do in 1917. The “Machiavellianism” of Wilhelm II, taken together with his religiosity, bound the necessity of industrialization together to the Middle Ages romanticism of German chauvinist legend. This made him “ the authentic exponent of modern Europe” (quoted from the English book print of Confessions, 1910, 40), who the people “intuitively” would take on as their leader for life, while the “barbaric” USA lost their presidents “to Africa” after eight years because of their constitution. What Viereck offers here (in an intellectually and linguistically flat manner) is the Faustian connection between spiritualism and technicalism as the “inner inconsistency” of Wilhelm II. This allowed him to be raised into the position of being the right leader for the times (the time of the “storm of steel,” literally and figuratively). And finally it connects that with its conception of the quasi-primordial growth of the right “Führer” out of the orthodox people. These are the same positions that we have analyzed elsewhere as central to the “conservative revolution,” fascism, Nazism, the “New Right”/”Nouvelle Droite” and related ideologies.
George Sylvester Viereck sees Wilhelm II as the ideal leader:
The word “infatuated” doesn't even begin to describe it: “lavender-scented splendor of the Middle Ages tradition,” “gorgeous contradiction,” “ideal Kaiser,” “in harmony with the Zeitgeist,” “shining beacon of tradition.”
With sentences like “man is divine because he is human” he describes the aspirations of German-led Europe and criticizes the fact that the Americans would blush at this kind of self-godliness (Confessions, 88). We have FULLY DOCUMENTED the German version of the chapter in Confessions about Wilhelm II as it was published in Der deutsche Vorkämpfer - the chapter that goes so far as to compare the Kaiser with Jesus Christ. In the original it shows clearly the necessity of understanding Hirschfeld's friendship with this author in a political sense.
Viereck calls the following things exemplary models of government: the Prussian military drills ("lengthens the German average of life by ten years,” Confessions, 54); the Bismark social laws; the Wilhelmine police state; and the severe crackdowns inherent in the Prussian government and its administrative philosophy. The liberalism of the US is castigated as perilous. Here is already evident the picture of the “formed” complete state (compare the “war Socialism” of the First World War!), long before the term “fascism” had spread. The beautiful picture of the “young German soldier” couldn't have been put better by the Nazis themselves: "The young soldier is a powerful factor in German aesthetics. … There is nobility in his carriage. His eyes flash fire. He is handsome, being healthy, young." (56)
Viereck widely praises Bertel Thorvaldsen, the Danish sculptor whose work presented bodies in the ideals of antiquity and is said to be a precursor of the Nazi sculptor Arno Breker. He devotes many pages to the world view of the Danish elitist Georg Brandes, who popularized Nietzsche in Scandinavia and in 1883 at the Party Congress in Copenhagen, see above, hid Viereck's father Louis from the police. According to George Sylvester Viereck, he was the greatest thinker since Voltaire!
Viereck categorizes what he saw as the massive failures of the women's movement, and mourns the allegedly weakening American husband and man, claiming that a man who willingly does housework or pushes a stroller is insane, “a specimen from Krafft-Elbing” (89). Krafft-Elbing was a psychiatrist, Nestor of the German sexual sciences and the author of the work Psychopathia sexualis. Women need their “master,” according to Viereck, they feel attracted to “masterful masculinity” (91). For Viereck it is clear: “I shall never marry a clever woman,” but a clever woman would certainly try to marry him, he believes (189). He writes in 1910 almost word-for-word what the "Nouvelle Droite"-author Guillaume Faye repeated in 1988: the “emasculation of Europe” is a “suicide 'with a smile,' like that of a sad clown” (Faye, 213, see above).
Viereck mentions Hirschfeld and Havelock Ellis rather in passing and fancifully, but he describes the Harden-Eulenburg affair in detail in his chapter about “his majesty,” and calls it “one of the blackest chapters in the history of the German people” (121, 46). In this episode, the publicist Maximilian Harden had outed members of Wilhelm II's “Camarilla,” who advised and influenced the Kaiser's decisions (in so far as they weren't dictated by the barons from the Ruhr, etc.) as gay. Harden implied that German politics, especially Wilhelm's pet issue, the clumsy foreign policy of the noble gesture, was unprofessionally thrown into chaos by homo-erotic coffee-and-god-knows-what parties. In the legal trial following the affair, Hirschfeld appeared as an expert witness about sexology. At first he confirmed the homosexuality of some members of the “Camarilla.” In the retrial he took back his confirmation, with the result that Harden was sentenced as a slanderer. Viereck took the radical position against Harden and for the circle around the Kaiser, but didn't mention Hirschfeld's role at all, despite the fact that his reversal had greatly influenced it. Viereck's comments on the outcome of the affair: “The shield of the Hohenzollern gleams brighter than ever" (48). Glory be on Prussia.
In Confessions of 1910, Viereck did not allow any doubt that he was a “volkish” racist who wanted to align America with the German people: “We are Germanic, not an Anglo-Saxon people," he wrote against the subsuming of America in the Anglo-Saxon culture (185). "The Germans are the salt of the earth, the chosen people of the New Order," he wrote as his own opinion (185). He continued by referencing the racists Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain (who was influenced by Louis Viereck's idol Dühring, and who later became the chief ideologue of the Nazis, see above!), saying that both of these men had recognized the same truth about the German people and had written the history anew from the perspective “of the Aryan.” After a racist harangue against black people in America, whom he believed would pull the country into chaos through racial mixing and their sheer numbers, there follows more standard Pan-Germanist claims about the world importance of the Germans, who were the only hope for the USA. Then he portrays his short visit to Berlin, his lecture before the government and military advisors of the Empire as well as members of the nobility and middle- and upper-class citizens in the Hôtel de Rome in 1908. In this synopsis he mentions “a certain Distinguished Personage,” (literary trick!) who is easily recognizable as Wilhelm II. This “personage” utters an extravagant rant: “We Aryans are the appointed masters of the world. God has made the white race the guardian of His holy fire. We must cast out the halfbreed from the sanctuary" (191). The anonymous personality, whom Viereck presents at the end of the speech as though he is the coming leader of the German people, speaks out against racial mixing in German colonies and explains that the “natives” there are “untermensch” (subhuman creature.) “An intelligent negro,” Viereck continues, “like the child prodigy, is a monster. The negro, like woman, is incapable of self-government. He is inferior even to woman.” (191). Then this person advises the USA to suppress Asian immigrants (a current theme in the USA then, which led some states to pass eugenic laws forbidding the marriage between Asians and Europeans), and preaches the merging of the German peoples: “We know that blond and muscle are precious. We actually do import German peasants from Russia” (192). Viereck calls the speech “strangely prophetic” and “extraordinary prediction” and fears that its message will be ignored in the USA, which will lead to the certain downfall of the country (192).
At the beginning of the war, George Sylvester Viereck founded his own paper, The Fatherland, a weekly in which he “unapologetically” (according to Robert J. Gangi 2008 in his MA thesis The German-American Bund as a Unique American Phenomenon: The Amalgam of Deutschtum, Americanism and National Socialism at William Patterson University of New Jersey) attempted to popularize the war objectives of the German Empire in the USA. The press was renamed the “Fatherland Corporation” (which also brought out the 1921 commemorative book for his father that contained Hirschfeld's article). This time his trick was to try to supply arguments to the neutrality and isolationist movements in the USA. He received money for this project from the foreign affairs office in Berlin, and at its peak at the beginning of the war, the Fatherland supposedly had 65,000 subscribers and 100,000 readers. The British occultist Aleister Crowley was now his employee in New York. Crowley also wrote his own articles, above all anti-British propaganda warning of the problems he thought would come after the end of the war. The connection between the two was made through the world of fantastical literature. Articles about “natural sexuality” attempted to attack the Victorian Puritanism of British-oriented Americans, and thereby weaken Germany's opponent Great Britain and its potential American supporters and allies. Viereck tried to influence the American Presidential election of 1916, hoping for the election of an isolationist candidate who would set himself against any potential American entrance into the war against the Central Powers. Countless attacks on the pro-English US President Woodrow Wilson followed in The Fatherland, up to and including the attack that “degenerate Americans” had bent their backs to English interest. As with everything that he did – again a similarity with Hirschfeld! - he greatly overestimated his own influence, although it must be said that his political-publishing work was noticed in the upper-crust (and bored) society of New York on account of his earlier success as a poet in the very short American “Decadent period,” particularly because Fatherland was only published in English. Moreover, many well-to-do immigrants were still affected by the war in 1917 despite American neutrality, because the German U-boat war meant that hardly any ships could sail, and that they could thus no longer travel.
In the meantime, Viereck had realized that Germans could not hold themselves as an island within the USA, and he renewed his efforts to agitate the English-speaking advocates of US isolationism. The poet Viereck became a politician, a forger of alliances. At this point he strengthened his work for the Hearst press, who because of their Irish nationalism (a position that Viereck also assumed for tactical purposes) were against the Allies (France, England, Russia and allies) and thus for the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire). At this point Irish nationalists, who were supported by the majority of the numerous Irish immigrants in America, favored any means of weakening England, who still occupied all of Ireland. Viereck's main work at this point, with the help of the influential German immigrants, the Irish, and the broader isolationist movement, was attempting to prevent the entrance of America into the war on the side of the Allies. An entrance on behalf of the Central Powers was not open for debate, which is why neutrality became the propaganda position of the German nationalists, who were hoping to strengthen the position of Germany in the war, even indirectly.
For the most part, Viereck put aside his works of poetry in favor of his political agitation But in 1916 he published the volume of poetry Songs of Armageddon, which was full of chauvinist praise of Wilhelm II, Bismarck and Germany.
Viereck's embarrassing Wilhelm II. worship as bloody war-mongering:
Viereck's most popular time as a poet in the US was from 1907 to 1912; with the Armageddon volume his aesthetic audience turned from him. In 1915 it was already widely discussed that he was on the payroll of the foreign office in Berlin; the New York Times had published multiple articles criticizing him because of this. Viereck was accused more and more often of spying for Germany. He was accused of direct involvement in the sinking of the ship Lusitania. Lusitania was attacked and sunk by German U-boats in early May 1915 during its passage from New York to Liverpool. 1,200 people died, including 128 American victims who were traveling as civilians on the ocean-liner. It was rumored that Viereck had set the day for the attack, or at least knew ahead of time when it would happen, without warning the innocent passengers. He defended himself by saying that in the issue of Fatherland that went to press a few days before the Lusitania was torpedoed, he had merely said that if the USA didn't stop supplying the allies with war materials, “a large passenger ship like the Lusitania” would suffer the same fate as a similar passenger ship that had previously gone down. Answering a New York Times inquiry about his role in the Lusitania affair, Viereck replied that if an American was dumb enough to sail on an English ship despite the warnings of the German embassy, than he himself was at fault if he came to harm. Because, after all, “the Germans are not a nation of poker players, Germany does not bluff.” In fact, Viereck told the Times, the sinking of every English ship was justified (New York Times, 05.09.1915). These statements hardly calmed the ongoing debate in New York about his betrayal of America to Germany, because the sinking of the Lusitania had a similar effect in the public and politics of its day as “9/11” had in the year 2001: a massive call for the US to enter war, which was nevertheless delayed. There were demonstrations against George Sylvester Viereck in front of his house, and the aesthete-turned-politician, frightened at threats of attack, fled into a hotel. The debate about his knowledge of the German admiralty's plan to sink the Lusitania in a terrorist attack reached into the 1920s, when journalists from the Hearst papers had to answer a court inquiry about their connections with pro-German propaganda. Viereck still fought with the New York Times in 1922 about his alleged knowledge of the plan. Witnesses in the same year testified that three days before the attack he had named the day of the week that the ship would be attacked (which turned out to be the correct one.)
The repercussions of the ruthless sinking of the Lusitania in the American public became the turning point in American-German relations, and also became the turning point of Viereck's career in American publishing. He was closed out of the Authors League of America and the Poetry Society of America, and was stricken from Who's Who? and countless anthologies that had published his early poems. His previous German-Jewish supporters distanced themselves from him. Printers sent already-prepared plates back to him unprinted. Fatherland experienced a dramatic drop in subscribers.
No one wanted anything to do with a man who would justify the torpedoing of civilians, of women and children, who held them responsible for their own deaths because they had boarded a British ship. (No one besides Hirschfeld, of course.)
After the USA entered the war, Viereck was called before a grand jury in 1917-1918 and had to defend himself against accusations of spying, because his propaganda newspaper had been financed with money from the German government before the war. The possibility that Viereck had contravened the US neutrality laws was debated. It was also alleged that he and his father Louis had used a secret code in their letters between New York and Berlin, in order to share war secrets hidden in harmless family stories; the New York Times published the alleged code. But Viereck was not charged, and his father stayed in Berlin (by Hirschfeld's coffee table?) On August 16, 1915 the New York Times calculated that Viereck had received a total of $1,750 from the German government for his propaganda in June of 1915 alone – right before the sinking of the Lusitania. Viereck was also accused of paying agitators who went to public squares and parks in Manhattan and instigated arguments among people, in order to spread German propaganda; such people had come directly from Viereck's office building, the New York Times reported on August 17, 1915. On July 26, 1918 the New York Times printed excerpts from Viereck's testimony before the Grand Jury, in which he said that he had received a total of multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars – at that point an enormous sum – from various, partially private, sources in Germany and Austria, in order to finance his propaganda in the USA. The New York Times calculated that $100,000 had come directly from the imperial government of Germany. (Other agents of propaganda in the USA had received much higher contributions from German, for which among others the HAPAG and large German breweries in the USA were used to launder the money.) We have reprinted the article here, because Viereck organized propaganda for Nazi-Germany in exactly the same way during the Second World War, but that time he was successfully prosecuted and sentenced, and served several years in jail (see below).
It is interesting that in the New York Times article from 1918 Viereck's connections to Franz von Papen and Ernst Graf zu Reventlow are mentioned. Papen was later in the turbulent year of 1932 German chancellor of the Reich and in 1933 the vice-chancellor under Hitler. Viereck corresponded with Papen in the 1910s, 30s and 50s, as is shown in the University of Iowa collection. Reventlow was the founder of a volkish-religious sect in the periphery of the Monistic Society of Ernst Haeckel that Hirschfeld belonged to, and was a pioneer of the Nazis within the Strasser wing of the Nazi Party. He was close to Werner Otto von Hentig, the German consul in San Francisco who gave Hirschfeld such a warm goodbye. That which began as Pan-Germanism and pre-futurism becomes more and more a Nazi network!
During the war, in addition to publishing The Fatherland, George Sylvester Viereck also produced pro-German propaganda brochures and paperbacks; Johnson claims that there were “hundreds of thousands” of these. He conducted this work in close collaboration with the German embassy and the German General Consulate in New York, from which he received assignments, drafts and payment. Viereck himself claimed that a “propaganda cabinet” existed at the General Consulate, of which he was a member.
Is it actually possible to think that Viereck would not have discussed all this with his old friend Hirschfeld, who accompanied him on the path “Wilhelminism – Romanticism – Life Reform,” despite the fact that he was prosecuted by the US Department of Justice and was bodily threatened by a “lynch mob” (as he called it)? Hardly, because in his letter to Viereck from October 30, 1933, Hirschfeld writes that he “know[s] [Viereck's] mentality too exactly” and that therefore Hirschfeld “foresaw that you wouldn't be able to withstand the suggestion of Hitler.” Nevertheless Hirschfeld did not want to break with Viereck – in contrast to Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, who came upon Viereck in the 1920s and let themselves be interviewed by him, with drastic results (see below).
After the end of the war, Viereck founded the Steuben Society, which further advocated the World-War interests of Germany; quoting Carlson he wrote in 1921 that only Americans of German heritage who “'never betrayed or denied their race'” could be members. He fought against the Treaty of Versailles, the naming of Germany and Austria as the guilty parties in the war, and against the League of Nations. He renamed his paper the American Monthly, which (according to Kupsky) still had 5,000 – 10,000 readers in the 1920s. He made its pages available to members of the new “revisionist” school of history, who attempted to bend research about the Treaty of Versailles and the instigator of the war in Germany's favor. His closest ally was Harry E. Barnes (see below) who later became a Nazi and an Auschwitz denier in the 1950s. Barnes published his revisionist articles during the 1920s in Viereck's paper and in Hearst publications, and was then part of the “honorary committee” for Hirschfeld's trip to the US, at Viereck's request.
Throughout the 1920s Viereck used the American Monthly to advocate for the positions of German nationalists, the Stahlhelm, (a society of World War I soldiers and military who was loyal to the Kaiser), and parts of the Nazi party. Essentially, then, he defended those who, at the end of the Weimar Republic, aligned politically behind the German extreme right-wing publisher Alfred Hugenberg who formed the “Harzburger Front.” (Viereck corresponded with Hugenberg in the 1920s, as is shown in the archives at the University of Iowa.) This prepared for the takeover of Hitler and his allies. Hugenberg was a minister in Hitler's first cabinet. On the literary front, Viereck concerned himself with working out the positions of the “conservative revolution,” as they later appeared in the Wandering Jew trilogy.
Starting in 1921 he visited the exiled ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II, (his “half cousin”) every year in the Holland town of Doorn. He also regularly exchanged letters with Wilhelm. It is probable that during this yearly visit to Europe he also visited his mother in Berlin and his old friend Hirschfeld in the Institute for Sexology that Hirschfeld had formed in 1919. In his article “Wilhelm II und die Juden" (Willhelm II and the Jews), that was published 1975/1998 in Tübingen in Werner Eugen Mosse's reader Juden im Wilhelminischen Deutschland 1890 - 1914 (Jews in Wilhemian Germany 1890 - 1914,) Lamar Cecil analyzed the exchange of letters in the 1920s between Wilhelm II and Viereck. In them Wilhelm shows himself to be extremely antisemitic, including in his reaction to the assassination of the Foreign Minister of the Weimar Republic, Walter Rathenau, by a German-nationalist anti-Semite. Wilhelm wrote that World War I was “instigated by Jewish Free Masons in the Allied countries, with the support of international capital and its press,” thus relying for his interpretation on the antisemitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” (Cecil, 344). This exact same argument was used 15 years later by Viereck faithfuls of the America First Committee, against Roosevelt and US participation in the Second World War. The Committee was also responsible for distributing the “Protocols,” printed with money from the anti-Semite and Hitler-fan Henry Ford (see below). Cecil writes, “The downfall of the old monarchy, [Wilhelm] assured Viereck, was the work of the Jews, not any less than the republic that took its place” (345). In 1925 Wilhelm wrote to Viereck that danger threatened “the Anglo-Saxon and European Races,” most of all from the “Moscow Jews,” who were supported by the French, and who in truth were of “Negroid-African descent” (346). He added that among the British colonial-corps there were “race traitors” (346).
Nevertheless Viereck preferred the revisionism of Barnes and others who claimed that England and Poland had caused the war to Wilhelm's antisemitic denial of Germany's responsibility (see below). But he shared Wilhelm's excitement about Hitler's rise as the new leader of Germany. Viereck published these letters from Wilhelm – cleaned of their radical antisemitism, translated into English, and annotated – in the 1920s, primarily in the Hearst papers, but also in New York American and in his American Monthly. Johnson calls Viereck (in his 1968 article that is now available online) “the chief American spokesman for the ex-Kaiser.” In his book Der Monarch im Skandal (The Monarch in Scandal,) Martin Kohlrausch calls Viereck a “Kaiser apologist inspired from Doorn” (Berlin 2005, 234).
Viereck used his visits to Wilhelm II in Doorn to interview countless other people for the Hearst Press, some prominent. In 1923 he interviewed Adolf Hitler, just a few weeks before the “Beer Hall Putsch” attempt in Munich. He portrayed Hitler as the moderate rising leader of Germany. Viereck was convinced by the conversation that Germany had to go the way of Italy, which since 1922 had been ruled by the terror of Mussolini's Blackshirts, and organize into a “formed” fascist society. It was the first ever English language interview with Hitler. No one wanted to print the conversation in 1923, so Viereck put it in his own American Monthly. In 1932 it was revised by Viereck and published, less radical and inflated with current events, as a brochure in Great Britain and as an article in Hearst's lifestyle magazine Liberty. Viereck often wrote for Liberty and even brought Hirschfeld into it in 1931. With the Liberty version he wanted to reintroduce Hitler as the coming leader and most important German politician to an English-speaking public, and promote the transfer of the chancellorship to Hitler. As Gregory Kupsky wrote in 2010, "Even before 1933, Viereck did little to conceal his admiration for Hitler, ... a man he clearly regarded as Germany's best hope" (73).
But Viereck also interviewed Sigmund Freud, who didn't entirely know whom he had let in, for the Hearst paper New York American in 1925. In 1926 he conducted a second interview with Freud, which Viereck published in his American Monthly. Viereck, because of his anti-British hate, hoped that psychoanalysis would destroy Victorian puritanical morals, which would then push Britain (and its allies in America – the British immigrants) into mental and moral chaos. This, in Viereck's view, would make them helpless against the pan-German assault. Additionally, he believed that a freedom from moral chains for the purpose of eugenics, as his Wandering Jew trilogy advocated, would additionally further the biological victory of the “Aryan race.” This was the reason that Viereck wanted to help to spread Freud's ideas in the USA, and his motivations rightly remind one of something like the SS "Lebensborn" (Wellspring of Life) organization, which attempted a “higher” breeding of the race. After it became clear to Freud in far-away Vienna what was actually motivating Viereck, he indignantly distanced himself from Viereck. Viereck had reached out to the psychologist because Freud had massive influence over the American Jewish-German psychoanalysis who had helped to organize and support an American boycott of Germany after the Nazis came to power (see below). Freud gruffly forbade Viereck to contact him further – another difference between Hirschfeld and Freud, whom Hirschfeld apologists so happily parallelize.
In 1929 Viereck had interviewed Albert Einstein (for Hearst's “Sunday Evening Post”) about his – still widely controversial – pantheistic philosophical beliefs. Einstein evidently reacted in 1933 similarly to Freud, which is suggested in Hirschfeld's letter to Viereck from October 30, 1933. In the letter Hirschfeld mentions Einstein's reaction to Viereck (which is unknown to us today) and says that he himself (Hirschfeld) – unlike other “Jewish friends” in the USA will “not turn away from you.” In any event, neither Freud nor Einstein were in any sense friends of Viereck. Hirschfeld could be referring to some of the participants of the “honorary committee” from 1930, who like Hirschfeld had Jewish ancestors (see below), or to Eldridge, co-author of the Wandering Jew trilogy, who did actually distance himself from Viereck, too. On the other hand, Benjamin spoke still in 1985 without qualification of “our mutual friend George Sylvester Viereck.” The Wandering Jew trilogy shows why Viereck was excited about Freud (see above) or Einstein, the scientist who had conceived of what was not yet possible: Viereck's futurism, his technoism, his mania to make the “New Man” possible out of the already existing, but to him insufficient humanity.
In 1923 Viereck published the essay “Rejuvenation: How Steinach Makes People Young,” under the pseudonym George F. Corners, which describes Steinach's “rejuvenation surgeries.” He describes the procedure, carried out through the transplantation of testicles, which injured several patients, as if eternal youth were the yearning of humanity, and as if it would be achieved in the immediate future. But Steinach was right about nothing having to do with medicine or science – another parallel to Hirschfeld! Hirschfeld worked closely together with Steinach, and publicized Steinach's experiments in his writings. Hirschfeld based large parts of his own sexual theories on Steinach's false endocrinological theories, and even provided patients for Steinach's dangerous and senseless whittling-away of genitals. Steinach's 1920 paper “Verjüngung durch experimentelle Neubelebung alternder Pubertätsdrüsen" (Rejuvenation Through the Experimental Reanimation of Aging Puberty Glands) was laughed at and condemned by the medical community, who could not find any “puberty glands” and who advised of the risks of transplantation procedures. Steinach replied to these critics by saying that the medical community didn't want to accept this groundbreaking discovery because of antisemitism (he too came from a family that had been Jewish.) Viereck's excitement about the biological preservation of youth was based in his conservative-revolutionary philosophy: he worshiped youth because of its imputed characteristics – power, strength, rebellion, ruthlessness, sexual potency. Although Steinach's human trials remained entirely unsuccessful in these realms, Viereck held fast to his youth-mania, as the Wandering Jew trilogy, especially the last volume from 1932, shows. Steinach was not excited about this sudden publicity in the USA, because he knew that he was a charlatan, and that the more publicity he got the more he would be interrogated, which would mean fewer rich people prepared to pay him for useless surgeries. He protested Viereck's piece and nurtured a hatred for the author that came to its high point in his claim that Viereck's Hohenzollern heredity was a lie.
In 1927 Viereck stopped publishing the American Monthly and concentrated on writing for the Hearst press. He restarted work on the Wandering Jew trilogy, which he had begun before World War I, and he continued to write political books.
In 1930 he published the collection Glimpses of the Great, in which he edited and collected his old interviews with prominent people (with the exception of Hitler) and new articles about people whom he admired. (The MHG mentions this book on the website where they published the Hirschfeld-Viereck letter; the Haeberle-Hirschfeld- Archive HHA of the Berlin Humboldt University shows it on their website and has it on the shelves of the Haeberle Book Collection., but they don't seem to understand the importance of the Viereck-Hirschfeld-connection for Hirschfelds work.) A sample of the characters included: Hirschfeld (whom Viereck here for the first time calls “The Einstein of Sex,”); Freud and Einstein; the eugenicist and “übermensch” (superman) ideologue George Bernard Shaw; Steinach the conductor of human experiments and his twin in criminal medicine, Serge Voronoff (and right in a row come Steinach, Voronoff, Hirschfeld!); Viereck's beloved Benito Mussolini; Wilhelm II and his son (called the “crown prince” by Viereck in 1930!) Wilhelm III.; Paul von Hindenburg, who was the Kaiser's General Field Marshall during World War I and whom Hitler later named Chancellor of the Reich; Erich Ludendorff, Hindenburg's deputy, World-War General and participant in the Hitler-Putsch of November 1923; the anti-Semite Henry Ford; Hjalmar Schacht, the conservative-revolutionary head of the German Central Bank and later Finance Minister under Hitler; the extreme right-wing occultist Albert von Schrenck-Notzing; and the antisemitic elitist Irrationalist Herman Graf Keyserling. In Viereck's opinion they are all “great” personalties of the times, who had contributed to his view of the world.
Ludendorff, the anti-Semite and propagandist of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” was by 1930 already a participant in the neo-Pagan sect "Bund für deutsche Gotterkenntnis - Ludendorffer" (Society for the German Knowledge of God – Ludendorffs), which had been founded by his psychologically sick wife. She suffered delusions that she was persecuted by Jews and Free Masons. This society exists today still, and is rated by the intelligence service as right-extremist. It is and was one of the biggest right-extreme “culture” organizations in Germany.
The “great” anti-Semite and Hitler-fan Ludendorff:
(Wikimedia Commons, German Federal Archive)
Above: Ludendorff and Hitler at the trial after the Putsch attempt in 1923.
Below: Table of contents from Viereck's Glimpses of the Great 1930 (selection), which is put up without commentary on the HHA website.
(Yellow markings by BIFFF...)
The hero Ludendorff in Viereck's book: “No one can take Ludendorff's glory as the greatest strategist of his generation,” Viereck wrote in 1930, gushing about his idol of the Hitler-Putsch in the lede of his article.
Ludendorff “sees the common enemy of all nations in that which he has chosen to call “supra- nationalism,” according to Viereck. Behind the convoluted sentence hides the delusional concept of the of the world conspiracy of “supranational powers” (Ludendorff) like the “Jews,” the “Free Masons,” and also the “Jesuits.” These powers seek world domination of every nationality and ethnic group, and so thus of Germans. Therefore one must use violence against them, in order to defend the world's ethnopluralist order.
Viereck and Ludendorff influenced each other: “My contacts with Ludendorff have been many,” Viereck wrote in 1930. “I secured from him the German version of the second Battle on the Marne. He also wrote, at my suggestion, a surprisingly frank estimate of the American soldier.” The Two Battles of the Marne was a book that Viereck published in 1927, which presented the battle from the points of view of military brass from both sides. In the same year Ludendorff published his book Vernichtung der Freimaurerei durch Enthüllung ihrer Geheimnisse (Exterminating Freemasonry by Exposing their Secrets,) which Viereck mentioned 1937 in his book The Kaiser on Trial.
Also in 1930, Viereck published an account of the actions of the US government and the US media during the First World War, Spreading Germs of Hate. In the book he claimed to analyze how the government and media led a propaganda crusade against the German Empire, in order to mobilize the American public on behalf of an entrance into the war on the side of the Allies. Within it he claimed there had a been an atmosphere of “terror” directed against German culture in American schools, churches and press. He said there had been a similar reaction against teaching the German language in school. He claimed that many horror stories about Germany had been made up, and that he would try to relay and disprove them, etc. The Lusitania case is visited again. Viereck also wanted to show how imperial Germany (which, mind you, declared the war and invaded Russia, and the neutral countries Belgium and France!) had been more and more isolated by American games of intrigue. His main point is that purposeful but subtle “germs of hate” were spread, which developed over time and grew into an anti-German movement. The book, written in English, is actually a critique of subtle public relations methods, and was directed at the population in Germany. He wanted to teach them about the capabilities of enemy propaganda and what could be learned from it for the future. With the message: Germany, pay attention!, he oriented them to a coming new war.
Remember that Hirschfeld wrote in his letter to Viereck from October 22, 1930 that he would “recommend both of your last great books,” on his lecture trip to Yugoslavia. It remains an open question whether he meant the first volumes of the Wandering Jew trilogy, (although he hadn't yet read the second, and planned to read it on the ship to America, as he wrote in his letter) or the other two books that were published in 1930 - Glimpses of the Great with the article describing Hirschfeld as the “Einstein of Sex” and its articles containing sloppy praise of the Hohenzollern family and right-extremism, and Spreading Germs of Hate with the defense of German policies in the First World War. The second possibility would mean that Hirschfeld had promised to recommend two definitely right-extremist books.
When Viereck heard that Hindenburg, whom he admired and knew, had finally named Hitler, whom Viereck had already portrayed in his 1923 interview as the coming leader of Germany and Europe, as the chancellor, Viereck saw it as the fulfillment of the goal that had eluded his “Adam”/”Kotikokura” characters – it was the final step on the path to an race of “übermensch” (superman.) The “New Order,” which he had tried to put into words in his 1910 Confessions of a Barbarian, was finally attainable. Viereck's life's goal, for which he had worked in all of his years in publishing, was finally attained with the transfer of power, which his Hohenzollern clan had had to give up in 1918, to the Nazis and their allies (Papen, Hugenberg, Reventlow, Schacht, Hanfstengel – he had corresponded with them all in the previous decades, as the Viereck collection in the University of Iowa shows) on January 30rd 1933. With the help of the New York German General Consulate, with which he had worked so well together in the First World War, he immediately entered into the business of supporting the Nazi regime through his publications. He was contracted by the German Tourist Information Office to make tourism advertisements for Nazi Germany, and to put out a regular German-American economic bulletin in 1933-'34. But the material that he put out, according to newspapers, was mostly anti-Semitic (Kupsky 79).
In March 1933, German Jews and other German-American organizations called for a boycott of German wares in the US. This was after the “Enabling Act” established the Nazi dictatorship throughout all of Germany. Previously it had only ruled in Prussia, after the 1932 “Prussian coup,” the Putsch of Chancellor von Papen. Viereck immediately criticized the boycott in the Hearst presses: he said that it would only heighten antisemitism (even more than Nazi propagandists could manage). But here, as with his agitations against the prohibition, he was only acting in the interests of German business. When pictures of the “Jewish boycott” that the Nazis called for April 1, 1933 made their way around the world, the surge of boycotts in the USA rose dramatically. In Nietzschean delusions of grandeur, Viereck offered himself as a negotiator. First he telegraphed Papen and Schacht, and then he traveled to Germany and supposedly met personally with Josef Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, and Hitler, as well as the conservative-revolutionary ministers with whom he had previously corresponded (Hugenberg, Schacht and Papen). Later he claimed that he wanted to dissuade them from their failure of judgment about the role of antisemitism in Nazi ideology and their plans of further persecution of the Jews, because these would impair the character of the new regime. He said that it was a success of his intervention that the “Jewish boycott” of April 1st only lasted one day. He offered himself to the newly-inaugurated US President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an intermediary between the US and Nazi Germany, with the argument that he was “friends” with Hitler and Goebbels (which was not true) and because he wanted to bring his relationship with Wilhelm II into play. Yet Wilhelm II sat in Doorn in exile, and stayed there, because the Nazis and the capitalists who stood behind them had no desire to haul a medieval-romantic monarchy into the still-unformed modern reality. The Roosevelt Administration did not accept Viereck's offer, and decided rather, in the face of the worldwide reaction of liberal powers to the Nazi terror, to portray themselves as proponents of democracy and freedom. Viereck then went so far as to portray the antisemitic persecutions and murders of that spring as a German reaction to the boycott of Germany, claiming that it was only the resistance of the Germans to the “Jewish” boycott from the US (Kupsky, 73).
Then Viereck wrote to people whom he had interviewed once in the 1920s, such as Einstein and Freud, asking them to participate in a campaign to end the boycott of Germany in the USA. His idea was that prominent German or Austrian Jews would call on American Jews to end the boycott. Einstein and Freud, however, declined to shill for the murderous regime that Viereck supported. Freud furiously forbade any further letters from Viereck. And on the Nazi side the reactions would not have been more friendly, because the German economy experienced such a recovery (because of Schacht's financial policies, the prohibition of unions and the enslavement of SA-members in the “Deutscher Arbeitsdienst" (German Work Service)) that the American boycott was of no economical consequence to the Nazis.
In this time the correspondence between Hirschfeld and Viereck is only known to us through Hirschfeld's side, from the photocopies of the HHA. According to the letters, Viereck, in early summer of 1933, had sympathetically reacted to the destruction of Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexology. Therefore he must have had an address for Hirschfeld after the end of Hirschfeld's world travels, so that this letter could reach Hirschfeld in Paris (always assuming that these HHA copies and the originals in the Kinsey Institute are real). Judging by Hirschfeld's story of his time after his travels, they didn't have any contact in the year 1932. Despite Viereck's closeness to Nazis, which Hirschfeld must have recognized by 1930 because of the book Glimpses of the Great, Hirschfeld asked Viereck for his “advice and opinion,” and indeed active support for his plans for exile in the US. It is not unreasonable to assume that Hirschfeld heard from the circle of Paris exiles about Viereck's international solidarity actions and mediation attempts, and his efforts regarding and loud public reaction to the boycott of Germany. Even so, Hirschfeld saw him as his close friend and must have also known about Viereck's contacts to people like Ludendorff, Schacht, Reventlow, Hugenberg, Papen etc. in the 1910s and 1920s. Because what else would the friends have talked about in New York (and possibly also) on the trip to San Francisco in 1930-'31? In the second letter from October, Hirschfeld writes that he had read about Viereck's time in Germany in the papers. Hirschfeld's reference to the fact that Viereck's Wandering Jew trilogy had been burned by the SA, Hitler Youth and Nazi student groups was certainly meant well, but Viereck would have known it himself, because he was (allegedly) in negotiations with Goebbels. He even explicitly stated his agreement with the Nazi ban of his books.
We do not know how Viereck answered. We also don't know whether he wanted to use Hirschfeld in his boycott intervention plans (like Einstein and Freud). In any event, Freud had already firmly distanced himself from Viereck at Easter (April 16, 1933, so before the book burnings that took place around May 10). Hirschfeld, on the other hand, asked for advice and help in June and still treated him like a trusted friend.
According to Hirschfeld's letter from October 30th, Viereck had written a letter (to Hirschfeld?) on October 13th, the content of which was “very” interesting to Hirschfeld, but which he apparently did not yet know. But in this time he had at least written to Hirschfeld and told him about his trip to Germany and his attempts to win over Einstein for his mediation attempt, because Hirschfeld responds to it in this letter. It is possible that Hirschfeld knew about the exchange of letters between Viereck and Einstein from news reports. The wording of the letter indicates, however, that Hirschfeld and Viereck had corresponded multiple times in the 1933. Because Hirschfeld obviously regretted (“I fear,”) that “many” - and indeed “not just your Jewish friends,” - had turned away or would turn away from Viereck, and assured him that he would not do that. Hirschfeld backed that up by emphasizing the political similarities between the two (“unification process,” society forming): “that which we have long wished for,” which was taking place in Germany in 1933, but unfortunately with too much violence in Hirschfelds view.
Viereck had given the watchword “Hitler or chaos” as the only alternative for Europe; Hirschfeld contradicts him and lists the “three great democracies France, England and America” as the “hope for the future” and alternative to a world-“Bolshevist or fascist phase,” which Viereck claimed was needed in order to reach the “New Order.” That is an astounding change in Hirschfeld's thought, because before this point he had only praised Viereck's writings without critique and had even built them into his Weltreise book. Perhaps he had not understood Viereck's writings and their social-political consequences; but that is unlikely, because he called in 1934 for “wait[ing] out the Hitler experiments,” instead of going into opposition, rebellion and boycott, and because he referred to Mussolini in Phantom Race. Perhaps he had the delusional hope that his long list of those to be exterminated (every seventh!) could still be taken care of in a democracy. But soon, after the eugenic reality of Nazi Germany became known, the eugenic laws in the US fell back. Hirschfeld was a banner in the wind. Now, among the exiles, he spoke out again for democracy, or he didn't realize that his ideas of the “formed society” could only be reached with fascist methods of violence. But that must have occurred to him when he offered marriage advice based on an abstract questionnaire as though it was “in a laboratory” or “like a car repair shop:” which lovers would freely follow these rules? The big cheese, who knows the way of love and sets its course, he who advises those who are head over heels in love that they should divorce – that's how he presented himself in the USA, which is shown in the newspaper articles that Viereck arranged to have printed in the Hearst papers. Hirschfeld's vision of the selective breeding of the “race” through the simultaneous extermination of all of those that he decided were “unworthy of life” was fascist, or at least totalitarian. In any event it was never compatible with a free democracy and the individual's right to self determination.
But Hirschfeld couldn't back the consequences of the ideas in Viereck's writings, which he had even recommended to others, and which perhaps in part he had overlooked instead of thinking them over. The step of “Kotikokura” onto the last level of the new race of humanity, which Viereck had connected with Hirschfeld's name and work at the end of the trilogy, Hirschfeld now eschewed, because there at the end stood his arch enemy from the last years, the anti-Semite Adolf Hitler. What terrified Hirschfeld was not the fascist forming of society, and certainly not the eugenics craze that had finally come into the government after the Weimar Republic had hindered it, but instead the danger to his person after the Nazis – and even Hitler by name – had attacked him for years as a “Jew.” He couldn't. Perhaps if Hirschfeld had been Italian he could have become health minister under Mussolini, but in Germany his Jewish birth forbade it. The madness of the antisemitism prohibited him from taking part in the realization of the eugenic craze, which he, along with Viereck and the Nazis, saw as the highest phase of development of humanity: the self-as-creator! To be thus deprived of the fruits of his life-long labor – in such a situation one can certainly get upset! But Hirschfeld wanted first to “wait [it] out.” Perhaps the initiatives of his American friend at mediating between the “Germans” and “Jews” would succeed.
At the end of October 1933 Hirschfeld asked Viereck (in the same letter) to send him all of the articles that Viereck wrote in America about Germany. Hirschfeld's text about racism, which he published as the series of articles Phantom Rasse (Phantom Race) in 1934-'35, and which came out in book form in an English translation edited by Eden and Cedar Paul in 1938 in London, was already done by October of 1933. It contained, renewed, the previous avowal of eugenics; including an encouragement to strengthen the Nazi “Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses" (Law to Hinder Genetically Sick Offspring) in relation to alcoholics. He still thought, in 1935, that only “the future” could “show,” whether this law would prove to be “for the good of the population of Germany.” In his French exile in Nizza no one seemed to agree with him about that. Thus there is nothing known about a critical debate about his thesis of the Phantom Race.
In the US, Viereck had to justify his support for the Nazi regime, which drove him further into solidarity with them. On May 17, 1943 there was a massive Nazi political rally at Madison Square Garden in New York. 20,000 German-American supporters of National Socialism gathered under swastika and American flags. At this rally, Viereck gave an inflammatory speech calling for the support of Hitler. The event, after which most German-Americans rejected Viereck (people mocked him as “George Swastika Viereck”), called itself “Friends of the New Germany” and was fed by members of the racist Steuben Society, which Viereck had co-founded, and open Nazis, who shortly thereafter founded the "German-American Bund" (Federation). The propaganda event, which took place yearly, was organized in Berlin. Viereck called the gruesome and violent beginnings of the “National Socialist Revolution” the “most civilized revolution in history,” and downplayed the countless murders as the hooliganism of a few - when he wasn't entirely denying the murders as “Allied propaganda.” After all, one lives in an “imperfect world,” as he said. He downplayed antisemitism as existing on the fringes, exactly as he had done when he edited the letters of Wilhelm II in the 1920s, and said: “It is possible to sympathize with National Socialism without embracing anti-Semitism” (Kupsky, 80). The literature scene of the East Coast did not, however, believe this, and isolated Viereck, accusing him of sharing a common cause with anti-Semites (obviously they were at this point ill-informed about his friendship with Wilhelm II, and his work for Ludendorff).
Madison Square Garden
Above: The German-American Nazi demonstration of the racist Steuben Society, which Viereck had co-founded in 1919. George Washington is integrated into the rally. Swastika flags on the stage wave in front of an enormous picture of Washington. The YouTube video shows scenes similar to those from the Berlin Sports Palace. At later Nazi events, large portraits of Hitler hung next to those of Washington and Lincoln. The rallies were financed and equipped by the German General Consulate in New York, where Viereck now renewed the propaganda work that he had done during the First World War.
Below: George Sylvester Viereck (marked with a yellow arrow by BIFFF...) excitedly applauds the “New Order,” which by 1910 he had already tried to outline in his book Confessions of a Barbarian: instead of Wilhelm now Adolf.
In Madison Square Garden, Viereck celebrated Hitler as the liberator of (“Aryan”) humanity, as “Kotikokura” made flesh at the beginning of the long fought-for race of the “ubermensch.” He said, "When Adolph Hitler freed the German soul, he freed not only the Germans within the Reich but one hundred million Germans throughout the world. Cowed by years of abuse, crucified by their enemies, Americans of German descent, like their co-racials across the ocean, had developed a sense of inferiority. Relieved at last from this burden, the German Americans are better able now than at any time in all their history to collaborate with the forces of reconstruction in American life” (quoted from Kupsky, 74). After he claimed that he was not an anti-Semite, he claimed that “certain professional Jews” and their Bolshevik helpers had instigated the boycott of German wares. The boycott was "the dictation of a racial minority that is in itself a minority within a minority" (Krupsky, 78). But he didn't want to be a racist!
After this appearance, which received much publicity in the US, Viereck was called before a Congressional committee investigating foreign spying and propaganda against the US and groups of its population. Viereck's contract with the German tourism bureau was also a subject of the investigation. First he attacked the committee as "Bolshevist”-influenced, and then he defended himself against accusations of antisemitism by mentioning his Wandering Jew trilogy and his Jewish friends. Finally he defended Hitler himself against antisemitism, because in his 1923/1932 interview with Hitler he had spoken about the Jews in terms of ethnopluralism, distinguishing between “good Jews” and the evil “internationalists” (Kupsky, 80). But Kupsky quotes from a letter from Viereck to a Jewish photographer from 1936 that makes his relationship to antisemitism clear: "I do not wish to decide between the Jews and the Germans. If I am forced to do so by the Jews, I shall side with my own people."
In 1935 Magnus Hirschfeld died. The Kaiser-loyal, fascist George Sylvester Viereck was his oldest and closest friend, a friend whom he still in 1933 hoped would take him in and help him find asylum in the US.
The memory of the World War I and its victims is still alive today in the USA – as in France, England, Canada and Australia – even though more than a hundred years has passed since the Germans began the war and sacrificed the world-wide entente. Too many dead in too many families. Days of remembrance and wreath-layings by government and state leaders are understandable today, even if the last veteran died recently. That is in contrast with Germany, where neither the military defeat nor the subsequent revolution towards democracy and republic are not happily remembered, and where instead the Hohenzollern castle is rebuilt in the center of Berlin. At an Upper East Side entrance to Central Park in New York, the neighborhood where traditionally the rich “Germans” live(d) and where the Steuben parade took place, there stands today a memorial for the New York mayor John Purroy Mitchel. Mitchel put through countless reforms in the city, was called “the boy mayor” because of his age, and died at the age of 38 as a participant in the war against the Germans.
New York reform politician Mitchel, crashed in a scout airplane:
Memorial am Central Park.
"My one wish is to get over to the western front,
where I can do some work that will count."
Even more alive in the USA is the remembrance of the war of fate in the 1940s, which defined the century for the Americans. In the middle of the Washington Mall an enormous monument was recently built for the Second World War. It opened in 2004. The visitor looks from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Monument, further on to the grave of John F. Kennedy on the distant hill of the Arlington military cemetery, and in between one sees directly to the left the part of the monument for the war against Japan, and on the right the part for the war against Germany. German landscapes are carved into the gray-white granite: battles and stages of the liberation of Europe from National Socialism and Fascism: Rhineland, Remagen, Hürtgenwald near Aachen. Amongst them run hundreds of school children on class trips. And if your feet can stand it, you can go over to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the Tidal Basin of the Potomac River, opened in 1997. It's a landscape of memorials, miles-wide, with ever-more statues, tablets or reliefs in ever-more small parks, rock faces, and waterfalls. It was erected in memory of the policies of the president who rescued the USA from the world economic crisis and the Second World War. It is right near the new memorial for Martin Luther King. That is today's culture of remembrance in the USA.
World War II National Memorial on the Washington Mall
WW II Memorial (foreground), Lincoln Memorial and Bridge to Arlington (background)
Pacific Side Atlantic Side
"Here We Mark the Price of Freedom", paid by many grandfathers, whose grandchildren today visit the monument with their school classes.
At the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (below) one is also reminded of the victims of the world economic crisis and the workers who defeated it (left):
RRight: Roosevelt with his little dog. The artistically peculiar monument shows, above the dog, Roosevelt's sentence: “They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers call this a New Order. It is not new and it is not order." This was also directed against Viereck and Hirschfeld's “unification process” into the “formed society”.
There, people still know German militarism, its crimes and the crimes of fascism. People still know about George Sylvester Viereck as the rabid supporter of that militarism, and as an agitator against the GI's in both World Wars - the poet who taunted the victims of the Lusitania disaster and who called the war criminal Wilhelm II the “prince of peace,” who celebrated Hitler as a liberator and urged German-Americans to support him, just as he had urged them to support Wilhelm II during the First World War. Viereck's friends, financial backers and supporters are still hated today, and people work their fingers to the bone writing about him and his propaganda. All the more because he then let the SS pay him for his support of Nazi Germany. And even if Hirschfeld was already dead when Viereck, at the beginning of the war, agitated more and more radically against the USA in his publications (which were in part written in Berlin and which he then published in New York), will the question be: Him? With him?! Pshaw!
But in Germany there is still a foundation that bears the name of the decades-long friend of Viereck, Magnus Hirschfeld. Him? Again?! Pshaw!!
The Nazi-loyal German-Americans developed their propaganda machine quickly for Germany's policies. They were payed by the foreign office and also by the SS, which moved enormous sums of money to the USA to finance the PR war. In their papers all of the dodges of the Hitler government were cataloged and celebrated. The American Pan-German organizations, like the Henlein-Fascists in Czechoslovakia, received a wide license to portray themselves as they wished. In New York an “American Sudetenland” scene developed, which agitated for the annexation of their old home to the German Reich. In the Steuben News the Steuben Society could spread their politics. After the annexation of Austria, Viereck wrote in the American Nazi paper Social Justice that his idol Mussolini had already prophesied the annexation years before:
(Picture from: John Roy Carlson: Under Cover, 59)
Social Justice was distributed above all in Catholic (Irish!) clerical-fascist circles; Viereck wrote a series of articles for the paper. In the subheading of the article above are mentioned Viereck's PR-book Spreading Germs of Hate from 1930, about Germany as a victim of a propaganda campaign in World War I, and his newest book, published in 1937, The Kaiser on Trial, which rehashed these themes again. Viereck had taken the Spanish Civil War to be a sign that a second World War was coming, and in his Kaiser book he wanted to renew the proof that Wilhelm II and Germany bore no responsibility for the First World War. He wanted to emphasize how British and British-American powers had contrived to shift their own war guilt onto Germany. His conspiracy theories portrayed the path to war as a result of intrigue and betrayal, and in the forward he propped himself up on the old letters of the ex-Kaiser, who wrote that Viereck is “the sole exponent of my ideas, with my full confidence in the way he thinks best fit for their dissemination" (xviii). Viereck wrote the book as a warning, as he had Spreading Germs of Hate, and believed that at the end of the 1930s the same thing was happening as had happened in the lead-up to the First World War: “The same intrigues that flourished before 1914 are going on today; the same surreptitious whispers make the rounds at dinner tables and in the clubs; the same obscure plots are being spun from continent to continent, from ocean to ocean.” In the massive tome of more than 550 pages, Viereck gives long lists of his sources, with time tables, annotations, and a register of political personages; but the text follows the literary fictional plot of an American court trial against Wilhelm II, in which contemporaries are witnesses. Witnesses for the defense and prosecution are called, fictive judges speechify, etc. At the end the reacher is supposed to give the verdict of the Jury, and after Viereck's outline of history, set Wilhelm free. The Wandering Jew trilogy also ends with a trial of “Adam”/”Kotikokura,” in which Hirschfeld indirectly takes part as the jury foreman, and in which the protagonist is, in the end, set free. Kotikokura – Wilhelm – Hitler, these are the protagonists of Viereck's work.
Hirschfeld also appears in The Kaiser on Trial in 1937. In the chapter “Wilhelm the Lover,” Viereck again looks at the Harden-Eulenburg affair about the partially gay Camarilla around Wilhelm II (as he did in Confessions in 1910.) Again he doesn't mention Hirschfeld's role in it. But he uses Hirschfeld in order to portray the ex-Kaiser as a “lover” in the tradition of knights from the Middle Ages. The Kaiser, according to Viereck, didn't know anything about “intermediate stages in sexuality,” was naively friendly with the members of the Camarilla, and since his early youth had only loved his full-woman wife Auguste-Viktoria. “Perversion not at all. Pathology was not William's forte. Krafft-Elbing's Psychopathia Sexualis was to him a sevensealed book. It is doubtful if he ever fingered the pages of Havelock Ellis. If anyone had put on his table Magnus Hirschfeld's voluminous studies on sexual gradiations, he would have consigned the tome to the rubbish heap" (377). In a footnote to this passage he writes: "Magnus Hirschfeld was a fearless pioneer of sex reform in Germany. He founded the famed Institut für Sexualwissenschaft in Berlin and died an exile in Nice" (481). He leaves Hirschfeld out of the register of people; he doesn't mention that his Nazis destroyed the Institute.
Viereck again engaged with the Isolationist movement in the USA and with the America First Committee, but he left the leadership roles to others, like the anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh, who held inflammatory speeches decrying the “Jewish international finance capital” that was again planning a world war. In Viereck's circles new editions of the antisemitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” were being planed, that supposedly proved the secret plans of “the Jews.” Viereck at this point was the official America correspondent of the Münchner Neuesten Nachrichten, a Nazi paper which since 1933 had been led by Giselher Wirsing, who was put in the position at the suggestion of the SS-head Heinrich Himmler. Wirsing had come out of the “conservative revolution” and was a member of the Strasser-faction of the National Socialist party and was a Major of the SS. Wirsing worked for the foreign office, spied for the Security Service of the SS, and was Viereck's boss and his main contact point. Wirsing, like Wilhelm II, was an adherent to the belief that the “the Jews” bore the main responsibility for the First World War. After 1945, Wirsing, together with Werner Otto von Hentig (Hirschfeld's Consul in San Francisco, see above), served as an informant for the Americans. Together with Hentig he traveled through southern Germany for the US Intelligence Service in 1945-'46 in order to report on the mood of the German People (Der Spiegel, Nr. 18, 1952). It went much better for him than for Viereck, who at this point was sitting in jail, where he carried out studies about brutality and homosexuality which he published in 1952 as the book Men into Beasts. Wirsing was removed of his Nazi “sins” as a “collaborator” for the price of 500 Deutsch Mark. He was a proponent of Armin Mohler (The Conservative Revolution in Germany) and finally became chief editor of the Protestant weekly paper Christ und Welt. Viereck, on the other had, stayed a non-person in the US, and remains such today.
At the end of the 1930s, until his arrest in 1942, Viereck remained largely in the background as an organizer, speech writer, publisher and confidant of Berlin in the Nazi-friendly but yet not completely radical groups of German-Americans and isolationists. Keeping the US out of the war and thus strengthening the isolationist movement was the official line of the foreign office in Berlin in the 1930s (as it was in the First World War before America's entrance). According to the US Justice Department, which finally charged him and conducted a long trial against him, Viereck had “financed, controlled and directed” a great part of the Nazi propaganda in the USA since the 1930s (Carlson, who had access to the Justice Department files on Viereck, 127). For this purpose he received large sums of money from Berlin. He forged relationships with isolationist members of Congress, whom he provided with information from Berlin and for whom he wrote speeches; he had directly influenced “21 congressmen and senators” and sent weekly secret reports about his activities back to Berlin (Carlson, 415).
According to Kupsky, Viereck at the time was the German foreign office's most important informant about the political mood in Washington (78). One of the central points in the case against him was a campaign in Washington, in which the postage machine of an American delegate was used to stamp and send large quantities of Viereck's Nazi propaganda. The fact that the US government had itself paid for the distribution of Nazi propaganda was especially infuriating. Starting in 1940, Viereck had run the Flanders Hall press in New Jersey. For this work he received $200,000 from Berlin (Kupsky, 78, 85). At the press, books of propaganda from Berlin, some of which were written by SS-personnel and translated into English, were produced and distributed for the US. The material was dexterously made, and Flanders Hall was thus structured in order to influence moderate circles of German Americans without scaring them off by shouting “Sieg-Heil” too loudly. At this press Viereck could put to good use his decades-long experience in German-friendly propaganda. People like Freud and Einstein had recognized the actual and extreme goal of this propaganda in the early 30s– unlike Hirschfeld. In 1941 Flanders Hall published the antisemitic, conspiracy-theory laden book 100 Families that Rule the Empire by Giselher Wirsing, for which Viereck had written a forward.
The entire propaganda operation and the isolationist movement fell apart with Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and Germany's declaration of war against the USA on December 11, 1941. Viereck was arrested in 1942, accused of illegal spying, and aside from a short break he sat in jail until 1947. His son George Sylvester Jr. volunteered for the army and fell in a fight against German forces in Italy. His son Peter, who had broken with his father in the 1930s, was drafted as a GI and fought in North Africa against the Germans. Viereck, despite the fact that Nazi crimes and the murder of European Jews were widely known by 1945, would not distance himself from his Nazism, and so his wife Gretchen (to whom Hirschfeld regularly sent his greetings in his letters) divorced him. She sold her portion of the marriage's assets and donated the proceeds to Jewish and Catholic aid organizations. In the 1950s Viereck resumed contact with some of his old Nazi friends. In 1952 he wrote to Franz von Papen, and in 1957-'58 he corresponded with the volk-ish author Hans Grimm, who came from the world of extreme right-wing sects, and whom he know from the “German Day” of the Steuben Society in Madison Square Garden. In 1954 he took up contact with Wirsing.
Much has been written about Viereck, among which much is wrong. Even renowned periodicals like The New Yorker (which wrote about him in 2005) offer falsehoods about his life. Viereck himself encouraged these falsehoods through his own often contradictory statements, through lies and secretiveness, through his often opaque works of poetry, and his talents for politics and spying.
Johnson, who hardly paid attention to Viereck's antisemitism and only indirectly understood his importance as a “conservative revolutionary,” in other regards has written the best and deepest Viereck biography. But because of Viereck's many contradictions he comes to the conclusion that Viereck was nothing other than a blackguard who swindled everyone, who had no conception of good and evil or guilt, who was a victim of his own hubris and pride, and who promoted himself above all, for which Pan-Germanism and German Nationalism served as a means to an end. Implicitly then, Johnson offers a description that is given to many of the authors of the “conservative revolution.”
The only things left over from Hirschfeld, after his medical-biological paths were shown to be scientifically false, are his alleged policies of emancipation for sexual minorities and his alleged socio-political humanism. His emancipatory politics, however, should have been recognized correctly to be purely motivated by eugenics and efforts to protect the order of the Prussian-Wilhelmine police state. His humanism is engulfed by Pan-Germanism (and does not lead “to the universally developed people of communism,” as Herzer wrote in his Argument article in September 2011, p. 570, because more than “one in seven” of these people would have already been victims of Hirschfeld's eugenics, see above.)
Most of the research for this article is relatively easy to do online: even parts of the court records from Viereck's trial are online! This makes one wonder why the Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft, which is influential in Berlin and which tries to monopolize the research of Hirschfeld, and the swanky Haeberle-Hirschfeld Archive project of Humboldt University have not researched and published this before now. Indeed, Hirschfeld is as good as unknown internationally and in the US, but the name George Sylvester Viereck still electrifies in America. The politically influential gay, lesbian and transgender rights movement will hardly be able to stomach it if Germany names a project for homosexuals and other sexual minorities after the best friend of a Nazi/Teutonic fanatic and his Pan-Germanist father. It is still a current and hot topic in the US today that both Vierecks were accused of breaking American laws because of their support for Germany during the World Wars. The connection between Viereck and Hirschfeld will certainly be widely discussed there if the first instance of a governmental “gay foundation” is named after Hirschfeld.
This research will be continued by portraits of the other members of the "honorable commettee" who welcomed Hirschfeld in November 1930 in the US and a list of used sources and literatue.
(translation into English by BIFFF...)
Hirschfeld to Viereck, March 11, 1929
Words taken from the photocopy of the typewritten letter in the Haeberle-Hirschfeld-Archives of the Humboldt-University Berlin,
Berlin, 11 III 1929
Mr Georg Sylvester Viereck
My dear friend!
You probably wondered (and rightly) because you haven't heard anything from me in so long, but you would have guessed the right reason, that bodily sickness would not permit me to write. I have ailed considerably in the last year, I finally even got double pnemonia and facial erysipelas. So you can understand that it wasn't possible to write, despite my wanting to. Now I've been out of bed for a few days, and I first wanted to say how excellent I found your book about the wandering Jews. It is a grandiose work, and I have already recommended it many times, and it has always received the same positive review that I gave it.
I definitely hope that you're coming to Europe this year and that I can then see you and talk with you at length.
From September 9th - 13th I'll be in London, where at that time [“time” is added in handwriting] the World League for Sexual Reform is holding a meeting about the principles of sexology, from which I've enclosed a program for you. Couldn't you manage to be there at the same time? You'd meet many “prominent,” and at the least many worthwhile people.
With best wishes to you to you [sic], wife,
mother and child
You [sic] old friend
M. Hirschfeld [written by hand]
Program for the Congress follows separately
(translation into English by BIFFF...)
Hirschfeld to Viereck, October 22, 1930
Copied from the version of the letter posted by the MHG on their website
Mr. George Sylvester Viereck
627 West 113. St.
U.S.A. New York
Berlin, October 22, 30
My dear friend!
Many thanks for your letters from IX 29 and your book “Salome,” which I received yesterday. I wonder at your creative power and your sweeping intellect and I am especially looking forward to reading this book. I will read it – listen and be amazed! - if everything works out, on board of the Columbus, which is set to bring me to New York on November 15. I had often spoken with you about how interesting I would find it to see the United States again after 37 years (1893 Chicago World's Fair) with all of its – not only structural - “skyscrapers.” Now that my Sexual Knowledge is done (with its 3,000 pages rather a colossus) I can make this old plan a reality, indeed at the moment Germany is not particularly fertile ground for cultural freedom fighters.
My trip to America should be a recovery-, study- and if possible also a lecture-trip. I'll tell you about details better in person, because until I leave I'm very busy with appointments, lectures, and other things. But could you perhaps prepare something for a worthy reception (interview). To this purpose I'm enclosing an index of my writings and lectures. In the last notebook are also useful biographical notes. Perhaps you could also get in contact with Benjamin, who sailed there with the last Europa ship. As he left here we were both still very much affected by the extremely tragic death of Peter Schmidt, whom you also knew. The death of this effervescent person shook me deeply. Please also speak with Benjamin about the best place for me to crash. My ideal place would be the highest Hotel that New York has, I would so like a chance to live on the 40th or 50th floor. Today I have to leave for a lecture trip, which takes me as far as Zagreb (Yugoslavia) and I'll take the chance while I'm underway to recommend your two great last books. Did your mother write you that I surprised her in the zoo? Seeing her again was one of the best hours of the past summer for me. But now I'll end and goodbye until the happy, healthy next time and a great time together in America (how long I will stay there, I don't yet know). I'll expect you at the landing of the Columbus around November 22 and am, with many greetings to you and your family, in
Your M. Hirschfeld [handwritten]
(translation into English by BIFFF...)
Hirschfeld to Viereck, June 9, 1933
Words taken from the typewritten letter in the HHA archives
June 9, 1933
My dear George Sylvester:
Thank you for your sympathetic lines. I have undergone terrible things. Our beautiful Institute was closed by the officials, the large part of my books and collections destroyed. I'm enclosing two newspaper clippings, which will give you an approximate picture of the situation.
Since we saw each other in New York I haven't returned to Germany, because I “smelled a rat.” I was in Switzerland for a half year, where I ended my “World Journeys of a Sexologist” and had the luck to find a Swiss printer.
After my books and busts were burned at the stake I nevertheless chose to go to France, because here the German immigrants – there are more than 20,000 in Paris alone – enjoy the relatively highest amount of protection from extradition and deportation etc., and are taken care of well by men like Andre Gide, Herriot, Coilent and many other people and organizations.
There are many more than 100 famous German writers here, including Heinrich, Thomas, Klaus Mann etc. (Kl. is speaking tonight in the German Writers Association – I'm going to go.) G. Hauptmann stayed in Germany and has, if not exactly “fallen into line” [“gleichgeschaltet”], at least “blended in.”
Health-wise it's not going well for me; the terrible excitements have upset me. Nevertheless (or perhaps because of this) I'm frequently pulled to America, because I am more powerful with the English language than French and I think I'd rather be busy, above all in publishing. Because intellectual work is necessary for me in order to find some rest.
What do you think about New York (meaning near to water – ocean or Hudson) for me? I'd like to have your advice and opinion. I don't need to earn all that much, because my good Swiss publisher is to some extent holding my head above water. Of course the large economic hardships of the U.S.A. are known to me, but I still think that there will still be all kinds of opportunities for employment and further development. Write me soon, please, at the address of:
Paris VIII 31 rue St.Guillaume.
Greet warmly the dear Gretchen, your honored mother, Benjamin's etc from
Your old true friend Magnus Hirschfeld
Your books were also burned; the wandering Jew even got a special “sentence of fire”
(translation into English by BIFFF...)
Hirschfeld to Viereck, October 30, 1933
Words taken from the fotocopy of the typewritten letter in the HHA archives
October 30, 1933
It's too bad that we didn't speak during your visit to Europe. When I read in the newspaper that you had landed in Hamburg I found myself in Le Havre, in order to greet my American cousin Dr. Agnes Mann on the ship Manhattan. Because I gather that your ship made port in Cherbourg we could have seen each other there too.
Your letter from October 13 is naturally very interesting to me, as well as your exchange of letters with Einstein. I fear that many in America will behave in the same way, and indeed not only among your Jewish friends.
I myself will not turn away from you, because I know your mentality too exactly and therefore foresaw that you wouldn't be able to withstand the suggestion of Hitler. I assume that you received my letter in which I warned you about the deception and the danger that could result for you and your American productions. Doubtless, the unification process that is now being put through in Germany is in some respects that which we too have long wished for, but the costs of these procedures, the violent measures and especially the intolerance, are stakes that are too high. I have written a small book about “racism” and I hope that it will convince you. I think that it will be published in November in French and then soon in German and English. It closes with the words: “Nazism is Narcissism!”
I don't believe what you wrote, that the entire world has to go through a Bolshevist or Fascist phase; I find the opposite, that the three great democracies France, England and America have up till now proven themselves, culturally above all, as a strong block and that we should do everything, as citizens of the world – and you are one of those as well – more than as Germans and Americans – in order to reach this hope for the future.
I could give you a longer answer, but I don't want to draw too much further on my or your time. I saw Branden repeatedly.
Greet your mother, who will hopefully live long, and dear Gretchen and both of your sons. Send me your articles that you write about Germany
Personally I'm doing fine, only my health leaves much to be desired.
Dr. M. Hirschfeld [handwritten]
English Version first published in June 2019)