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

Eugenicists, Marriage and Sex Counsellor

Portrait, Hans Graazvergrößern
Portrait, Hans Graaz, around 1950 (Heilkunde und Heilwege, vol. 13, 1963, no. 4)

Hans Graaz, M.D.

1879-1953 – Natural health practitioner, eugenicist and lifestyle reformer, nudist

Graaz was a gymnast, coppersmith, masseur, and therapeutic bath specialist before studying medicine and becoming a doctor in 1920.

He started working at the Institute in 1923 and was the head of the eugenics department for a year. Graaz was primarily involved in consultation, with a focus on reproduction hygiene. Within this scope, he gave advice on eugenic “mating” choices and marriage.

In 1924, he turned his attention to his special field of interest: nudism. He became medical director at a “therapeutic school of nudism” where Magnus Hirschfeld and Karl Besser were also employed. In addition, he worked as a natural health practitioner.

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Karl Besser

1900 – 1931 – Graphologist, Characterologist

Without having completed his medical studies, Besser worked at the Institute from 1924 right up to his death. First, he ran the “auxiliary section for genealogical and family research” and then set up an “auxiliary section for graphology and the study of facial expressions”. He started collecting autographs and drew up expert graphological reports. He was particularly interested in the handwriting of homosexuals.

He regularly took part in lecturing at the Institute, where he had been living since 1929. He was an executive member of the “Scientific-Humanitarian Committee” (Wissenschaftliches-humanitäres Komitee) and conducted consultation sessions for people facing “psychological crises” on the Committee’s behalf. Furthermore, he was temporarily the president of the German Society for Graphological Studies and managed its offices from the Institute.

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Walter Wolf, M.D.

Neurologist

Starting in 1924, Wolf provided eugenic marriage counseling at the Institute’s genealogy and family research facilities. He worked on “heredity studies on the problem of homosexuality” and drew up medical expert evaluations.

In 1925, he started working in the neurology department under Arthur Kronfeld, probably until Kronfeld left the Institute in 1926.

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Hans Kreiselmaier (Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im Bundesarchiv,SAPMO/BArch, Bild Y 10-7947)

Hans Kreiselmaier, M.D.

1892-1944 – Physician

Kreiselmaier worked as an assistant physician at the Institute from 1924 to 1926. He offered counseling on marital issues, eugenics, motherhood and midwifery. In his medical practice, he treated gynaecological and general disorders.

From 1927, he had his own practice near Berlin and was still practicing there in 1937.
In 1938, he opened a private practice in Berlin-Zehlendorf. In 1941, the National Socialist Kreiselmaier came in contact with the illegal communist resistance group Saefkow-Bästlein-Jacob. He was arrested, sentenced to death and executed in 1944.

Portrait of Ludwig Levy-Lenzvergrößern
Portrait of Ludwig Levy-Lenz (Kaiser: Liebeslehre. Berlin 1928, p. IX)

Ludwig Levy-Lenz, M.D.

1889 – 1976 – Sexual physician, surgeon

He was head of the Institute’s gynaecological department between 1925 and 1933 and became actively involved in sexual counselling. He drew up expert forensic reports, published on abortion techniques and worked as the editor of the Institute’s popular journal: “Die Ehe” (“Marriage”).

Levy-Lenz performed the first sex-change operations on tranvestites. Furthermore, he ran a private clinic for sexual disorders in Berlin. In 1939, he was deprived of his citizenship. He went to Cairo in exile.

After the war, he practiced alternately in Cairo and Baden-Baden (West-Germany) as a famous cosmetic surgeon.

Portrait of Max Hodannvergrößern
Portrait of Max Hodann (Kaiser: Liebeslehre. Berlin 1928, p. VII)

Max Hodann, M.D.

1894-1946 – Physician, eugenicist, sex educator, socialist

In 1921, Hodann worked temporarily as a doctor for venereal disease; from 1922-1923, he served as medical health officer in Reinickendorf, Berlin. Hodann was on the staff of the Institute for Sexual Science from 1926 to 1929. He was head of sexual counseling, the “eugenic department for mother and child,” and organized public question-and-answer evenings on sex education. He wrote a number of sex education publications, which were temporarily banned.

Hodann was a member of the Association of Socialist Physicians and the Reich’s Association for Birth Control and Sexual Hygiene.

He was arrested in 1933 and detained without a trial for a while. In exile in England, Hodann failed in his effort to set up an Institute there. He died in Sweden.