elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Learning from Experience: Heinz Dörmer

I know that, for some people this is a delicate and painful matter, but please, read this story as I read it, the experience of a man who can teach a lot to others. I don't want to judge who was right and who was wrong, one of my favorite quote is from Simon Wiesenthal, "the things are not white and black, but they have shades of grey".

Heinz Dörmer (born 1912, Berlin, Germany) was a gay man deeply involved with church youth groups as a child. By age fifteen, Dörmer was frequenting Berlin's gay bars.

By the 1920’s, Berlin had become known as a homosexual eden, where gay men and lesbians lived relatively open lives amidst an exciting subculture of artists and intellectuals.

In 1929, Heinz Dörmer founded his own youth group, the so-called "Wolfsring" (ring of wolves), which combined sexual affairs, amateur theater performances, and travel. In 1932, Heinz was promoted and worked on the Scout movement at the national level.

Dörmer and his group tried to stay independent, but in October, 1933 they were forced to join the Hitler Youth.

In April, 1935, Dörmer was accused of homosexual activities with members of his troop, and was imprisoned. He was repeatedly released and rearrested, spending more than ten years in a variety of concentration camps and prisons.


Heinz Dörmer on a camping trip in 1931 with his friend Werner Henneberg, who died in a concentration camp. From PARAGRAPH 175, the documentary feature by Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman. © 2003 Telling Pictures

After the war, Dörmer spent another eight years in prison on various charges. After his last release, he returned to Berlin to live with his father, who died in 1970.

In 1982, he applied for reparations from the German government. His application was rejected.

The story of Heinz Dormer was told for the first time in "Paragraph 175" (Paragraph 175 was the sodomy provision of the German penal code dating back to 1871), awards documentary winner at Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival in 2000. (From Wikipedia)

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  • 2020-2021 Rainbow Awards

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