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GAY LITERATURE / GERMANY / CENSORSHIP: Konfisziert! Verlagswechsel! Verein! Der Eigene.


A rare ephemeral pamphlet in German was published by the editor of the first gay magazine on the world Der Eigene (The Unique) as a protest on the censorship, which had two issues, published in 1903, removed from the sale. 


A rare broadside with text on four pages is a protest of Adolf Brand, an editor of a German gay magazine, against the censorship of the first two issues of 1903. The magazine Der Eigene. Ein Blatt für männliche Kultur (The Unique. Paper for Manly Culture) was the first gay magazine in the world and was published by Adolf Brand in Berlin between 1896 and 1932, when it was banned by the Nazis.

The magazines were censored and removed from the sale by the state, by enforcing the Paragraph 175 (§ 175) and 184 (§ 184). The paragraph 175 was a provision of the German Criminal Code, active between 1871 and 1994, marking a homosexual act between males a crime, and paragraph 184 is a still active provision forbidding the distribution of pornographic material to the people under 18.

The censored text was allegedly involving the “Greek love”, a relationship between an adult man and a youth, and the authors, who were eventually put to court, were the editor Adolf Brand and Max Spohr (1850-1905). The magazine won the lawsuit by proving that the text in question, a poem Die Freundschaft (The Friendship) was written by one of the greatest German poets Friedrich Schiller.

The founder and editor of the magazine Adolf Brand (1874-1945) was a writer and gay activist. He was one of the founders the Association of the Unique Ones (Gemeinschaft der Eigenen), a group practicing hiking and nudism, which found followers also decades later, and an active member of the Institute for Sexual Science (Institut für Sexualwissenschaft), an institute in Berlin, which was researching the bisexual and homosexual relations, transgenders, the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and women’s emancipation.

The other author of the censored text was Max Spohr (1850-1905), one of the first publishes of LGBT literature worldwide. In the year of the lawsuit, in 1903, he was diagnosed with cancer and he died two years later.

In 1932 the Nazis banned the magazine Der Eigene, and a year later ransacked the institute and burned most of the books and researches from its valuable library. Some documentation was allegedly used as a source for arrests. Brand retreated from the public life and suffered a life changing financial loss. He was killed at the end of WWII by an allied bomb attack on Berlin.

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