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LGBT People of History 37 - Heinz Dormer

Updated on April 2, 2012
A Youth Group in Germany between the wars.
A Youth Group in Germany between the wars. | Source
Heinz Dormer
Heinz Dormer | Source

Heinz Dormer

Heinz Dormer (1912 – 2001) was a gay man who had a zest for life.

At the early age of 15 he was already enjoying the blossoming gay cabaret and bar culture of Berlin in the 1920s. In 1929 he founded the ‘Wolfsring’, a youth group, which idealised the outdoor life. His passionate interest in travel, theatre, romanticism and sex with young men were well catered for in this group. He became a leader and worked in the Scout movement on a national level.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, all youth groups were forced to join the Hitler Youth and the ‘Wolfsring’ was no exception even though they resisted. In 1935 he was accused under p175 of the German penal code of homosexual acts with members of his group. Thus began a series of arrests and incarcerations in various prisons and concentration camps. This lasted for well over 20 years!

At one point he was an inmate at Neuengamme concentration camp for 3 years. There he witnessed the utterly appalling murder of inmates by the euphemistically named ‘singing trees’. This happened when prisoners were suspended by their hands from trees so that their arms were wrenched backwards from their sockets. They were left there for as long as it took for them to die, their screams and yelling being the ‘singing’.

After the war, Heinz was AGAIN imprisoned under p175 and after his final release in 1963 lived in Berlin. He applied for compensation from the German Government in 1982. This was rejected.

He appeared in the documentary ‘Paragraph 175’ where five gay men recount their experiences at the hands of the Nazi Regime.

He died in 2001.

Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia and

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    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      You and me both, Dave! And Cal, of course!!


    • d.william profile image

      d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      You won't be alone in shedding your tears of joy. It will be a glorious day for all of humanity. I just hope that i get to see that day in my lifetime.

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      This man's suffering was awful, awful and it extended far beyond the War!

      You're absolutely right, Dave, things are much better but we still have along way to go.

      Legally, over here things are nearly there but the wider problem of total social acceptance will take a lot longer to achieve so we can all just - be - and noone cares a damn about ones' sexual orientation. I shall cry on that day - a lot!!


    • d.william profile image

      d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      voted up, awesome and interesting.

      No matter how bad our individual lives were growing up, there are always those who were much worse off. Sometimes, it seems that this discrimination and hatred will never end. But it has certainly gotten greater attention and sympathy today than i ever expected to see in my lifetime. There is some small light at the end of the tunnel, but not quite there yet. Now, i am more hopeful that we will see actual equality for everyone in my lifetime.

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      For nearly 30 years!!


    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Brilliant hub Ian,

      Heinz suffered terribly.


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