The Lives of Lesbian Women in Berlin Before and Beyond the Rise of the Nazis: 1933-1945

Open Access
Doery, Aviva Rose
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Michael Milligan, Honors Advisor
  • Tobias Brinkmann, Thesis Supervisor
  • Holocaust
  • lesbian
  • Germany
  • Gender
  • Ravensbruck
  • Berlin
Often times in Holocaust scholarship the lives of lesbian women are overlooked. The purpose of this study is to examine the lives of lesbian women in Berlin before and during the Nazi regime. The first chapter lays the contextual and historical groundwork of LGBT life in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. Subsequent to the rise of the Nazis, the lives of lesbian women changed on an individual and communal level which ultimately led to the destruction of the budding LGBT social scene in Weimar Berlin. Chapter two addresses the experiences of lesbian women in Berlin during the Second World War. It examines the effects of Nazi policy on lesbian women’s personal and professional lives through biographical texts and State Prosecutor Files. The third chapter examines the lives of lesbian women in Nazi concentration camps, more specifically the only all-female camp Ravensbrück. Few lesbian women wrote or talked about their experiences and persecution after the war. Despite the limited source material on this subject, there is still a lot to be learned from the lives of lesbian women in Berlin from 1933-1945.