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Gay Berlin The Cabaret Between The Wars (1918-1933)

Updated on August 8, 2011

World war one had ended in 1918 leaving Germany defeated and the country bankrupt, super inflation had now taken over with a loaf of bread costing up to 1 million german marks.Many people were starving and on the streets, communism was on the rise only to be quashed be Ernst Rohm and his militia, keeping them in there places. As the years rolled by Berlin the capital became wild, the cabaret clubs in cellars and buildings were now rivalled with that of Paris, boasting culture and sexual freedom.

Transvestitism was rife in these clubs with men dressed as women and women dressed as men. The Intelligentsia and Artists haunted these clubs and cellar bars of gay Berlin, even the aristocracy with their perverse sexual desires and financial stability.

In these golden days of Berlin anything went, Berlin had become noted around the world as the homosexual paradise because it was a free society. Men danced with men, women could dance with women, it was not uncommon to see in clubs and at parties. Although the original version of paragraph 175 of 1871 was still in operation, it was ignored in Weimar Berlin, however this did not stop blackmail and threat of prison for some.

Homosexual and lesbian bars and cabarets in Berlin were varied and many, and some had acquired fame even throughout Europe. The clubs contained different forms of cabaret, either stage shows or a simple piano for singers to accompany.

The Eldorado was a well known venue in Berlin at that time, guidebooks of the era recommended to tourists this club to see men dressed as women, The gay life flourished openly at the Cabaret of the Spider, the Alexander Palast or the Adonis Lounge.

In 1933 when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany he closed down a lot of the gay clubs in Berlin even three known lesbian clubs and bathhouses, the Nazis party believed thathomosexuality was a disease in gay men, however with lesbian women the Nazis believed that it was a temporary, curable through sexual re-education and therefore was permitted.

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    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Some useful information. I vote up. For more information I would check out I am a Camera which is the book Cabaret was based on.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Good article. Some things i did not know. Thanks for sharing.

    • calpol25 profile image
      Author

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thanks Rod and d.william I loved Cabaret the film and the book I am a camera. I am glad that you both like my hub :-)

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