Engler, Selli

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Engler, Selli Gender: M
Selma Lina Helene Engler
born on 27 September 1899 at 16:00 (= 4:00 PM )
Place Schwiebus, Poland, 52n15, 15e32
Timezone MET h1e (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 04°16' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 15°22 Asc.s_aqucol.18.gif 09°45'

Selli Engler (1929)


German writer and a leading activist of the lesbian movement in Berlin from about 1924 to 1931. Engler was, together with Lotte Hahm and the pseudonymous "Charly", a pioneer of the German lesbian movement. Engler's novels include Erkenntnis (before 1929), Das Leben ist nur noch im Rausch zu ertragen (1929, autobiographical), and Arme kleine Jett (1930).

Engler grew up with eleven siblings in poor economic conditions. In 1914, after the death of her father, a manufacturer of slippers, she and her mother moved to Berlin. Several attempts to establish herself as a businesswoman failed. Some described her as a "virile" lesbian; photographs generally show her in men's clothes. She lived together with her mother at least until 1938.

Engler's work as an activist began in 1924 with the founding and editorship of the magazine BIF – Blätter Idealer Frauenfreundschaft ("Papers of ideal women's friendship"), produced at what was probably Engler's residence, Großbeerenstraße 74 in Kreuzberg. The BIF was unique among lesbian publications of the time because it was the only one published solely by women; other comparable magazines were co-published or co-written by men.

From 1927 to 1929, Engler contributed to the magazine Frauenliebe and from 1929 to 1931 to Die Freundin. Her writings included, in particular, short fiction, poems and serial novels, but also opera librettos.

As an activist, Engler sought to improve the organization of lesbian women, following the lead of gay activists such as Friedrich Radszuweit and Carl Bergmann. She particularly asked lesbians to join Radszuweit's Bund für Menschenrecht.

In addition to her work as a writer, she organized ladies' clubs to allow lesbian women to gather without distraction. From 1925 to 1929, she ran the weekly "Damen-BIF-Klub", and in September 1929, she opened the ladies' club Erâto on the premises of the Zauberflöte, a well-known gay and lesbian venue. It appears to have been popular, as some of the club's events took place in venues with a capacity of some 600 persons. The club was last recorded as active in January 1931.

Selli Engler died on 30 April 1972 in Berlin at age 72.

Link to Wikipedia biography


Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided birth record. Wikipedia had 28 September in error.


  • Passions : Sexuality : Lesbian
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Song writer (Opera librettos)
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ feminist (Lesbian rights)
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction (Novels and short stories)
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field (Pioneer of the German lesbian movement)
  • Notable : Famous : Socialite