Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin: "Un-German" and "Unnatural" Literature is Sorted Out for the Book-Burning Ceremony (undated photo, May 6-10, 1933)
On May 6, 1933, students at the Berlin School of Physical Education [Hochschule für Leibesübungen] raided the Institute for Sexual Research [Institut für Sexualwissenschaft] in Berlin and plundered its library. The institute had been founded in 1919 by the gay Jewish physician Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), who had devoted the better part of his career to enlightening the public about homosexuality and fighting for greater rights for homosexuals. The Institute for Sexual Research was dedicated to the exploration of a variety of sexual topics, including sexually transmitted diseases, marital problems, abortion, and homosexuality. Thus, it is hardly surprising that the National Socialists were quick to target it. The photograph below shows the Institute after the May 6th raid. On May 10, 1933, the Institute’s books were burned on Berlin’s Opera Square [Opernplatz]. The National Socialist students who participated in this book burning also threw a bust of Hirschfeld into the flames.