Institute for Sexual Science (1919-1933)Online-Exhibition by the Magnus-Hirschfeld Society

Place of Work and Residence

Photovergrößern
Hirschfeld together with Karl Giese and an actor in the frontyard of number 10 In den Zelten (Magnus Hirschfeld Society)

In the old Palais Joachim, the founders of the Institute, Magnus Hirschfeld, Arthur Kronfeld and Friedrich Wertheim, had their chambers and, at the same time, Hirschfeld, his friend, Karl Giese, as well as Kronfeld lived at the Institute. Chambers and private quarters were not strictly separated. On the ground floor, for instance, there was a living-cum-dining-room as well as a small lecture hall. On the first floor, Hirschfeld and Giese had their private rooms which, however, were kept open for parties and smaller social gatherings.

Photovergrößern
Karl Giese, Francis Turville-Petre and the transvestite “Dorchen” on the Institute’s balcony (Gay Museum Berlin)

Other co-workers and friends of the Institute – as well as “customary” tenants – also resided at 9a In den Zelten, whose rooms leading to other rooms housed sections of the archives. There were boarding-rooms for visitors to the Institute 6 . The attic storey of number 9a also had rooms for people called to the Institute for expert assessment in criminal court matters. However, descriptions by witnesses of the time differ widely as to the state of affairs at the Institute. Whilst one witness reported of a “strictly isolated” upper storey with “guarded prison cells”, another described the living conditions of the men accused of sexual offences as free and open, with only plainclothes detectives – positioned opposite the building – making sure none of them left the premises.

Photovergrößern
Christmas at the Institute, 1930 (original with dedication by Karl Giese; Preben Hertoft Collection)
CDvergrößern
9a In den Zelten, view (Archives of the Land of Berlin, rep. 202, acc. 1559, no. 2160)
CDvergrößern
Sectional view of 9a and 10 In den Zelten. For alterations to the State Academy of Public Health Services, 1938 (Archives of the Land of Berlin, rep. 202, acc. 1559, no. 2161)
CDvergrößern
Ground plan of 9a and 10 In den Zelten. For alterations to the State Academy of Public Health Services. (Archives of the Land of Berlin, rep. 202, acc. 1559, no..2161)