Odeman was born Martin Hoyer in the town Blankenese, later quarter of Hamburg. He took the stage name Robert T. Odeman when he began his career as an actor and musician.
After training to become a carpenter, Odeman studied classical piano, successfully performing throughout Europe for several years as a pianist. He played accompaniments for silent films in many cinemas in Hamburg. After suffering a hand injury, Odeman was forced to give up piano playing, and turned to theatre.
In 1922, at the age of 17, Odeman met his first love, architecture student Martin Ulrich Eppendorf, who went by the name Muli. The two shared a close relationship for 10 years until Muli's death. A year after Muli’s death, in 1933, Odeman became musical director of the New Theater in Hamburg. In 1935, Odeman opened a cabaret in Hamburg, which was shut down a year later by the Nazis, who claimed it was politically subversive.
Muli and Robert Odeman
Robert Odeman was a classical pianist, actor, writer, and composer. He was a Holocaust survivor. In 1922, 17 years old Odeman met his first love, architecture student Martin Ulrich Eppendorf known as Muli. The two shared a close relationship for 10 years until Muli's death. In 1937 he was arrested under Paragraph 175 and sentenced to 27 months in prison. In 1959, Odeman met Günter Nöring, with whom he lived until his death. Since the two were unable to marry, Odeman adopted his younger partner.
Odeman's boyfriend, a bookseller, was pressured by the Gestapo to denounce him in 1937 and he was arrested under Paragraph 175, which outlawed homosexual acts between men. Odeman was sentenced to 27 months in prison, which he spent first in Plötzensee and then in various Berlin prisons. After his release in 1940, Odeman was subject to a 'Berufsverbot' forbidding him from carrying on certain professions, and he was not permitted to appear in public. He also remained under police surveillance.
Odeman continued to carry on a relationship with the singer Olga Rinnebach, but in 1942 he was again arrested under Paragraph 175 and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp where he was assigned an office job. During a forced march from the camp towards the Baltic Sea in April 1945, he escaped with other homosexual concentration camp prisoners.
After the war, Odeman focused on cultural activities, completing training as an actor and appearing in various theatres and productions. He also wrote many satirical poems, which were released in book form, and were later put to music by musicians such as Charles Kálmán and Norbert Schultze and released on musical and spoken records, with Odeman himself performing on the latter at the suggestion of actresses Pamela Wedekind and Ursula Herking.
Odeman died in the Berlin-Grunewald district of Berlin in 1985, at the age of 81.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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