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



August Bessunger, M.D.

Radiologist, Urologist

After working at a clinic for venereal diseases in Bonn, Bessunger worked at the Institute from 1919. He worked in a practice for skin diseases and devoted himself to radiological treatment, among others, the removal of beard growth in women and transvestites. This department of the Institute was therefore also called the “department of trichopathy and surgical cosmetics”. After leaving the Institute in 1921, he went into private medical practice and was still working as a doctor in Berlin in 1937.


E. Littaur, M. D.

Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist

Littaur agreed to head the “Department of physical sexual ailments” on January 1, 1921 for one year. He resided at the Institute and lectured participants in the in-house study courses.

His was particularly interested in treating impotence by means of the so-called “Steinach rejuvenation operations”. Von Reitzenstein, who later worked at the Institute, reported on the operations’ “success”: “On average, the cases proved to be good, with partly astonishing results observed in two cases.

Magnus Hirschfeld and Bernhard Schapirovergrößern
Magnus Hirschfeld and Bernhard Schapiro (right) in Berlin (Magnus Hirschfeld Society)

Bernhard Schapiro, M.D. (born 1885)

Dermatologist, urologist

Starting in 1922, Schapiro taught classes at the Institute for Sexual Science.

From 1924 to 1933, he was head of the department of physical sexual ailments and radiology departments. He treated skin and venereal diseases and conducted sexual consultation regarding contraception. His main area of interest was impotence and hormone research. He and Hirschfeld developed a remedy for impotence called Testifortan.

Schapiro lived for a period of time in the Institute and also had his own practice elsewhere. In 1933, Schapiro emigrated to Switzerland and then on to Israel. In the 1980s, his wife was still living in Jerusalem.