Hirschfeld, Magnus

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Hirschfeld, Magnus Gender: M
born on 14 May 1868
Place Kolberg, Germany, 54n11, 15e35
Timezone LMT m15e35 (is local mean time)
Data source
Documented source; untimed
Rodden Rating X
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 23°52' s_mo.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif

Magnus Hirschfeld (1929)
photo: Wellcome Trust logo.svg This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated, license cc-by-sa-4.0


German Jewish physician and sexologist educated primarily in Germany, who based his practice in Berlin-Charlottenburg. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. Historian Dustin Goltz characterized this group as having carried out "the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights".

Hirschfeld found a balance between practising medicine and writing about his findings. After several years as a general practitioner in Magdeburg, in 1896 he issued a pamphlet, Sappho and Socrates, on homosexual love (under the pseudonym Th. Ramien). In 1897, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee with the publisher Max Spohr, the lawyer Eduard Oberg, and the writer Franz Joseph von Bülow. The group aimed to undertake research to defend the rights of homosexuals and to repeal Paragraph 175, the section of the German penal code that since 1871 had criminalized homosexuality. They argued that the law encouraged blackmail. The motto of the Committee, "Justice through science", reflected Hirschfeld's belief that a better scientific understanding of homosexuality would eliminate social hostility toward homosexuals.

Under Hirschfeld's leadership, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee gathered over 5000 signatures from prominent Germans on a petition to overturn Paragraph 175. Signatories included Albert Einstein, Hermann Hesse, Käthe Kollwitz, Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, August Bebel, Max Brod, Karl Kautsky, Stefan Zweig, Gerhart Hauptmann, Martin Buber, Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Eduard Bernstein.

The bill was brought before the Reichstag in 1898, but was supported only by a minority from the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The bill was reintroduced and in the 1920s it began to make some progress, before the takeover of the Nazi Party ended hopes for such reform.

In 1921 Hirschfeld organised the First Congress for Sexual Reform, which led to the formation of the World League for Sexual Reform. Congresses were held in Copenhagen (1928), London (1929), Vienna (1930), and Brno (1932).

Hirschfeld was both quoted and caricatured in the press as a vociferous expert on sexual matters; during his 1931 tour of the United States, the Hearst newspaper chain dubbed him "the Einstein of Sex". He identified as a campaigner and a scientist, investigating and cataloging many varieties of sexuality, not just homosexuality. He developed a system which categorised 64 possible types of sexual intermediary ranging from masculine heterosexual male to feminine homosexual male, including those he described under the term transvestite (German: Transvestit), which he coined in 1910 to describe people who in the 21st century might be referred to as transgender or transsexual.

Hirschfeld co-wrote and acted in the 1919 film Anders als die Andern ("Different From the Others"), in which Conrad Veidt played one of the first homosexual characters ever written for cinema. The film had a specific gay rights law reform agenda.

In 1904, Hirschfeld joined the Bund für Mutterschutz (League for the Protection of Mothers), the feminist organization founded by Helene Stöcker. He campaigned for the decriminalisation of abortion, and against policies that banned female teachers and civil servants from marrying or having children.

Under the more liberal atmosphere of the newly founded Weimar Republic, Hirschfeld purchased a villa not far from the Reichstag building in Berlin for his new Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexual Research), which opened on 6 July 1919.

The Institute housed Hirschfeld's immense archives and library on sexuality and provided educational services and medical consultations; the clinical staff included psychiatrists Felix Abraham and Arthur Kronfeld, gynaecologist Ludwig Levy-Lenz, dermatologist and endocrinologist Bernhard Schapiro, and dermatologist Friedrich Wertheim. The Institute also housed the Museum of Sex, an educational resource for the public, which is reported to have been visited by school classes.

When the Nazis took power, they attacked Hirschfeld's Institute on 6 May 1933, and burned many of its books as well as its archives.

By the time of the book burning, Hirschfeld had long since left Germany for a speaking tour that took him around the world; he never returned to Germany. In March 1932 he stopped briefly in Athens, spent several weeks in Vienna and then settled in Zurich, Switzerland in August 1932. While there, he worked on a book recounting his experiences and observations from his world tour, published in 1933 as Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers (Brugg, Switzerland: Bözberg-Verlag, 1933). It was published in an English translation in the United States under the title Men and Women: The World Journey of a Sexologist (New York City: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1935) and in England under the title Women East and West: Impressions of a Sex Expert (London: William Heinemann Medical Books, 1935).

With the Nazi regime's unequivocal rise to power and with work completed on his tour book, he decided to go into exile in France. On his 65th birthday, 14 May 1933, Hirschfeld arrived in Paris, where he lived in a luxurious apartment building. A year-and-a-half later, in November 1934 he moved south to Nice on the Mediterranean coast. He died there on his 67th birthday, at 1:30pm on 14 May 1935, from a heart attack.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Brand, Adolph (born 14 November 1874)
  • associate relationship with Bülow, Franz Joseph von (born 11 September 1861). Notes: Co-founders of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee
  • associate relationship with Hiller, Kurt (born 17 August 1885)
  • associate relationship with Marcuse, Max (born 14 April 1877)
  • associate relationship with Turel, Adrien (born 5 June 1890 Jul.Cal. (17 June 1890 greg.)). Notes: psychoanalysis studies
  • spousal equivalent relationship with Giese, Karl (born 18 October 1898). Notes: Circa 1918-1935


  • Death by Heart Attack 14 May 1935 at 1:30 PM in Nice (Age 67)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided death certificate (acte n° 1654) from the Alpes-Maritimes archives on which is recorded date, year and place of birth.


  • Traits : Mind : Education extensive (MD, 1892)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Heart
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease
  • Vocation : Education : Public speaker
  • Vocation : Education : Researcher
  • Vocation : Healing Fields : Alternative methods (Naturopath)
  • Vocation : Medical : Physician
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ political
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ social
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ feminist
  • Vocation : Science : Biology (Sexologist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction
  • Notable : Famous : Founder/ originator (Scientific Humanitarian Committee)