In a comment on a recent post (Another Reason Why Everything's So Gay), reader "Rockinrole" brought up Magnus Hirschfeld, the pioneering sexologist of Weimar Berlin, as someone whose legacy is a key to understanding our present. That may be true, but perhaps not in the way he thought. I learned something new about Hirschfeld in a fascinating thread I'll share with you below. Following that, we'll wrap up with a brief investing note about the recent rally in regional banks. First, though, let's start with the current-year conventional wisdom about Hirschfeld.
The Standard History
The standard history of Magnus Hirschfeld is probably best encapsulated by this Scientific American article from a couple of years ago: The Forgotten History of the World's First Trans Clinic. The subtitle gives the game away:
The Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin would be a century old if it hadn't fallen victim to Nazi ideology
It's true that the Nazis did shut the place down, and burn its books, as Scientific American notes:
When the Nazis came for the institute on May 6, 1933, Hirschfeld was out of the country. [Hirschfeld's partner Karl] Giese fled with what little he could.