Culture

Déjà Vu? How Sexual Reform Destroyed Germany In The 1900s

By Melody Rose··  4 min read
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Many people don’t know the haunting history of Weimar Germany in the 1900s and how its sexual revolution parallels American history.

After WW1, the government was weak and the economy was shattered, leaving Germany’s people seeking new “distractions” to numb the devastation. This served as a time to usher in the “sexual reform” movement, which took place from 1919-1933, and eventually led to the destruction of the Weimar Republic.

The German Sexual Revolution

The so-called sexual reform movement was dedicated to providing more sexual freedoms under the guise of social freedoms. The main objectives were to grant access to and information about birth control, abolish the German Penal Codes prohibiting abortion, encourage open homosexuality and gender fluidity, and legalize prostitution as well as care for women who acquired STDs without inflicting severe consequences. 

Leading pioneers during the movement included Magnus Hirschfeld and Wilhelm Reich. Hirschfeld founded the Institute of Sexual Research, which became known for providing counselling and treatment for “physical and psychological sexual disorders,” in particular “sexual transitions.” Reich was a practicing communist and loyalist to Marxism, who believed orgasms could cure all illness. He went on to invent the Orgone Energy Accumulator, a machine designed to improve orgastic potency and “mental health.”

People flocked to Berlin, the capital of promiscuity and eroticism.

Soon people from all over were flooding into the streets of Berlin, the capital of promiscuity and eroticism, to entertain their darkest desires. English poet Stephen Spender referred to Berlin at that time as “a city with no virgins. Not even the puppies and kittens are virgins.” Canadian travel writer, Rory MacLean, stated, “If you had dollars in your pocket during this time in Berlin, you could buy whatever you wanted, whatever experience you wanted.”

The Kentler Project

With “sexual liberation” on the rise, things quickly grew darker. One such consequence of the era was the 1970s Kentler Project, initiated by psychology professor Helmut Kentler. Kentler was seen during his time as an expert sexologist. His books were popular and he was a regular commentator for radio and TV. His theory of “emancipating sexual education” was based on the idea that children are also sexual beings who have the right to express their sexuality. He also believed “liberating children’s sexuality from repressive moral strictures would help to unleash energies that would in turn lead to political protest and the true democratization of German society,” which he believed to be needed.

The Kentler Project was one of his experiments that routinely placed homeless boys of West Berlin with known pedophile men. He claimed these men would make “especially loving fathers” and even gave them regular care allowance. In an 1988 report, Kentler bragged how he had "succeeded in winning the backing of responsible local authority employees."

A team of researchers from the Univeristy of Hildesheim found this practice was condoned by Berlin authorities and went on for almost 30 years. They also concluded that most of the fathers involved in this project were high-profile academics: “Evidence so far gathered shows that the care homes were, in fact, men living alone, often powerful and influential men…from academic life, research organizations and other educational contexts." The report describes a “network” that encompassed academia, state welfare offices, and the governing Senate, that either turned a blind eye or gave approval for the placements.

The Kentler Project placed hundreds of homeless boys with pedophile “foster fathers.”

Sadly, Kentler walked away a free man and died in 2008 before his victims began to come forth about their abuse. One victim by the name of Marco stated, "Our lives have been ruined.” While another boy named Sven said, "You can never really get over it.” Undeniably, the psychological and emotional damage has had lifelong effects due to traumatic adolescent experiences.

Unfortunately, Kentler wasn’t the last academic to promote or defend pedophilia. Michel Foucault and Jean-Paul Sartre were also proponents of pedophilia, as was Dr. John Money, the father of gender theory.

Closing Thoughts

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the pendulum swings to extremes before finding a balance. However, radical extremes don’t leave those in its path unharmed. The lessons we can derive from this era in German history is that rampant blind acceptance of sexual promiscuity will breed abuse. As seen in the claims of “liberation,” innocence was stripped away, leaving children prisoners to abuse, defying the very definition of liberation. Allowing morality to rest in the hands of elitists and “experts” is hardly ever the answer. Questioning movements and challenging trends is the only way to push the pendulum back.  

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