Take two: archive me softly

Posted: August 10, 2011 in Homosexuality, Library, Magnus Hirschfeld, Museum, Research, Thesis Project, Uncategorized

Well staying positive and keeping your head up really pays off like you’d least expect it to some times.  Since I won’t be able to return to the Magnus Hirschfeld Society, I had to turn to alternative means to acquire the information I need, after all, this is my research project and I want to do some quality work, can’t give because of one unfortunately discouraging happening.  So I took Mr. H’s advice and went to the Schwules Museum (Gay Museum), which has an archive full of information about homosexuality in history, among many other things.  This experience was simply wonderful: quiet, small, comfortable, the gentleman who runs the library and archive was super helpful, showed me where I can find all of the materials they have about my topic; it’s very interesting, intriguing, you definitely can’t hide the feeling of being in a small research institution.  I’ll post some pictures…the museum and archives are also in an interesting, hip part of town, about 1.4 miles away from my apartment (walking distance? hellsyeah. and the walk there is just beautiful). So the first day I only had about an hour and a half two max to check some things out, but I got through a whole envelope of articles and materials about his graveyard (seeing the name of one of the authors who wrote a biography on Hirschfeld was pretty sweet – a man mentioned her and the integrity of her research in a letter to some other researcher back in the 80s, apparently she did good work, or at least verified her information before publishing it – always a good sign, haha).

The most exciting part of this initial, brief visit was reading an article published in the 30s in Munich, by a NAZI newspaper – pretty cool stuff to see such an article before you, reading through the words and feeling the hate, sarcasm, fiendish nature of it all.  Also exciting was to see how active Hirschfeld really was at that time.  He wasn’t just some doctor who sat in a lab all day and invited gay people to him so he could take measurements of their extremities.  The word activist probably comes closest to describing him best, or maybe a truly dedicated advocate: Hirschfeld was a resource for anyone and everyone in terms of sex, sexuality, sexual tension in marriages, etc. etc., the list goes on.  The article published by the NSPD ridiculed, mocked, demeaned Hirschfeld for visiting a local school to talk about sexual issues.  When I think about how uptight, prude, uncomfortable some of these topics were for many of my classmates, even myself at times, I am astonished, impressed, so much all at once, that this man had taken so many great strides himself to clear the murky waters that had been brewing for many years.  And that was a hundred years ago.  Remarkable, really.

On my way there and back, I passed a small park, atop its hill stands an interesting monument…haven’t figured out yet what it is, I’ll get back to you on that. Either way, this location offers a great view of the city, and a nice place for people like me to escape the city life for a brief moment and see some green space.

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