Accounting for the sadomasochism and perversity of the Hitlerian régime.
— Many founding and high-ranking Nazis were homosexuals.
The evidence indicates that Adolf Hitler himself was a homosexual.
Persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis was for show to deflect from themselves and keep the German public fooled. And only feminine type homosexuals were then persecuted. The “Butch” homosexuals who founded Nazism viewed femmes as lower than heterosexuals, not even men. The persecution of a small percentage of Germany’s femme gays was a public relations move to obfuscate the Nazis’ own perversity and placate the German masses.
— After coming to power the Nazis did not persecute homosexuals at all. They did so only when their own homosexuality began to surface to the public, especially because of the antics of the obtusely flagrant homosexualist Ernst Rohm. Hitler was in fact Rohm’s early protege. The gay Rohm was Hitler’s longtime right hand man, head of the violent SA, the most powerful man in Germany beside Hitler, and the man most instrumental in creating the Nazi Party and setting Hitler up. He was also a homosexualist, an open advocate homosexuality, really one of the first militant gay activists. Rohm refused to hide his homosexuality because he wanted it to be accepted. This eventually created problems for the Germans along with the leaks about many other high-level Nazi homosexuals.
— When Rohm’s antics, and stories about homosexuality in the party generally, created political for the Nazis, Hitler made a show of denouncing gays. Still it was only a small percentage of the hated “femme” gays who were sent to camps. The Nazis also used the new “anti-gay” posture as a ruse to trump up charges and put away all manner of political enemy.
— Nazism was founded by macho-style “butch” homosexuals who pursued a Greek/Hellenic ideal of warrior pederasty. ….
Homosexual Movements of pre-Nazi Germany
A nature movement for youth, similar to the Boy Scouts, was started in 1890 by a 15 year-old.(See how amazing are youth when not institutionalized in public schools?) It was called the Wandervoegel (“Wandering Birds”, beautiful idea.) However, the movement quickly attracted adult pederasts as leaders. The pederasts perverted the movement into a nature and youth movement in which homosexuality was the norm and homosexuality began to spread to the young German males who joined it. One homosexual adult, Hans Blueher, joined the movement when it had fewer than 100 members. Blueher created a homosexual philosophy and worldview for the movement. It eventually grew to 60,000 members, involving a very large number of German male youth. These masses of German boys, many indoctrinated into a “masculine homosexuality” culture as members of the Wandervoegel, were later attracted to the Nazi movement — founded by masculine homosexuals Rohm and Hitler — and were the founding foot soldiers for Hitler and Nazism.
“Ultimately Hitler used and transformed the movement — much as the Romans had abused the paiderastia of the ancient Greeks — expanding and building upon its romanticism as a basis for the Nazi Party (Rossman:103).”
The early Nazi movement contained a great many men who grew up in the Wandervoegel. Songs of the Wandervoegel morphed later Nazi march songs. The famous Nazi salute (extended arm) was created by the Wandervoegel…
Hans Blueher and the Wandervoegel
From “The Pink Swastika“
“In Germany,” writes Mosse, “ideas of homosexuality as the basis of a better society can be found at the turn of the century within the German Youth Movement” (Mosse:87). Indeed, at the same time that Brand and Friedlander were beginning to articulate their dream of a neo-Hellenic Germany to the masses, a youthful subculture of boys and young men was already beginning to act out its basic themes under the leadership of men like Karl Fischer, Wilhelm Jansen and youth leader Hans Blueher. In Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys, homosexualist historian Parker Rossman writes,
“In Central Europe…there was another effort to revive the Greek ideal of pedagogic pederasty, in the movement of Wandering Youth [Wandervoegel]. Modern gay-homosexuality also can trace some of its roots to that movement of men and boys who wandered around the countryside, hiking and singing hand-in-hand, enjoying nature, life together, and their sexuality. Ultimately Hitler used and transformed the movement — much as the Romans had abused the paiderastia of the ancient Greeks — expanding and building upon its romanticism as a basis for the Nazi Party” (Rossman:103).
Another homosexualist, Richard Mills, explains in Gay Roots: Twenty Years of Gay Sunshine how the Wandervoegel movement traces its roots to an informal hiking and camping society of young men started in 1890 by a fifteen-year-old student named Hermann Hoffman. For several years the open-air lifestyle of these boys grew increasingly popular. They developed their own form of greeting, the “Heil” salute, and “much of the vocabulary…[which] was later appropriated by the Nazis” (Mills:168). Early in its development, the movement attracted the attention of homosexual men, including the pederasts who belonged to the Community of the Elite. In 1901 a teacher by the name of Karl Fischer (who, as we have mentioned, called himself der Fuehrer) formalized the movement under the name Wandervoegel (Koch:25, Mills:153).
Hans Blueher, then just seventeen years old, organized the most ambitious Wandervoegel excursion to that date in 1905. It was on this trip that Blueher met Wilhelm Jansen, one of the original founders of the Community of the Elite. At this time the Wandervoegel numbered fewer than one hundred young men, but eventually the number of youths involved in Wandervoegel-type groups in Europe reached 60,000.
Wilhelm Jansen became an influential leader in the Wandervoegel, but rumors of his homosexuality disturbed German society. In 1911, Jansen addressed the issue in a circular to Wandervoegel parents. Jansen told them, “As long as they conduct themselves properly with your sons, you will have to accustom yourselves to the presence of so-called homosexuals in your ranks” (Mills:167). Hans Blueher further substantiated the fact that the movement had become a vehicle for homosexual recruitment of boys with his publication of The German Wandervoegel Movement as an Erotic Phenomenon in 1914 (Rector:39f). Mills writes,
“[T]he Wandervoegel offered youth the chance to escape bourgeois German society by retreating back to nature…But how was this accomplished? What made it possible for the lifestyle created within the Wandervoegel to differ significantly from its bourgeois parent? The answer is simple: the Wandervoegel was founded upon homosexual, as opposed to heterosexual sentiments …In order to understand the success of the movement, one must acknowledge the homosexual component of its leaders…Just as the leaders were attracted to the boys, so were the boys attracted to their leaders. In both cases the attraction was sexually based” (Mills 152-53).
Like many of the “Butch” homosexuals Blueher had married but only for the purpose of procreation. “Woe to the man who has placed his fate in the hands of a woman,” he wrote. “Woe to the civilization that is subjected to womens’ influence” (Blueher in Igra:95).
Foreshadowing the Nazi regime, Blueher “saw male bonding as crucial to the formation of male elites,” writes homosexualist historian Warren Johansson. “The discipline, the comradeship, the willingness of the individual to sacrifice himself for the nation — all these are determined by the homoerotic infrastructure of the male society” (Johansson:816). Mills adds that Blueher “believed that male homosexuality was the foundation upon which all forms of nation-states are built” (Mills:152). Blueher called his hypothetical political figures “heroic males,” meaning self-accepting masculine homosexuals. It is precisely this concept of the “heroic male” that prompts Steakley to compare Adolf Hitler’s views to those of Blueher and Friedlander.
But this is not the only instance in which the views of Blueher and Friedlander coincide. Like Friedlander, Blueher believed that homosexuals were the best teachers of children. “There are five sexual types of men, ranging from the exclusively heterosexual to the exclusively homosexual,” writes Blueher. “The exclusive heterosexual is the one least suited to teach young people…[but exclusive homosexuals] are the focal point of all youth organizations” (ibid.:154).
Blueher was also anti-Semitic. In writing about his visit with Magnus Hirschfeld and the SHC, Blueher denigrated Hirschfeld’s egalitarian views, complaining that “concepts like rank, race, physiognomy… things of importance to me — were simply not applicable in this circle.” Igra adds that “[a]according to Blueher, Germany was defeated [in W.W.I] because the homosexualist way of life (die maennerbuendische Weltanschauung) had been considerably neglected and warlike virtues had degenerated under the advance of democratic ideas, the increasing prestige of family life…the growing influence of women “and, above all, the Jews” (emphasis ours — Igra:97).
Importantly, Blueher’s hostility towards the Jews was not primarily based on a racial theory but on their rejection of homosexuality. Igra writes,
Soon after the defeat [of Germany in W.W.I] Blueher delivered a lecture to a group of Wandervoegel, which he himself had founded. The lecture was entitled “The German Reich, Jewry and Socialism.” He said: ‘There is no people whose destiny…so closely resembles ours as that of the Jews.’ The Jews were conquered by the Romans, lost their State and became only a race whose existence is maintained through the family. The primary cause of this collapse, he says, was that the Jews had failed to base their State on the homoerotic male community and had staked all on the family life, with its necessary concomitant of women’s encouragement of the civic and social and spiritual virtues in their menfolk rather than the warlike qualities (ibid.:97).
Though largely neglected by historians, Blueher was enormously important to Nazi culture. Igra writes that in the Third Reich “Blueher…[was] adopted by the Nazis as an apostle of social reform. And one of his disciples, Professor Alfred Bauemler…[became] Director of the Political Institute at the University of Berlin” (ibid.:75). Writing before the collapse of the Third Reich, he adds that “[Blueher’s teaching] has been systematically inculcated by the Nazi Press, especially Himmler’s official organ, Das Schwarze Korps, and has been adopted in practice as the basis of German social organization. The Nazi élite are being brought up in segregated male communities called Ordensburgen. These are to replace the family as the groundwork on which the state is to rest” (Igra:87). The all-male societies of these Ordensburgen (Order Castles) were fashioned after the Wandervoegel.
Through his influence in the Wandervoegel and later as a fascist theoretician, Hans Blueher must be recognized as a major force in the reshaping of Germany. This (and the homosexuality of other Wandervoegel leaders) is acknowledged by homosexualist author Frank Rector:
Blueher’s case further explains why many Nazi Gays were attracted to Hitler and his shrill anti-Semitism, for many gentile homosexuals were rabidly anti-Semitic…Gays in the youth movement who espoused anti-Semitism, chauvinism, and the Fuehrer Prinzip (Leader Principle) were not-so-incipient Fascists. They helped create a fertile ground for Hitler’s movement and, later, became one of its main sources of adherents….A substantial number of those Wandervoegel leaders were known homosexuals, and many others were allegedly gay (or bisexual) (Rector:40).
From Boy Scouts to Brownshirts
In the introduction to his book The Pink Triangle, homosexual author Richard Plant writes of his own experience in a Wandervoegel-type group called “Rovers.” “In such brotherhoods,” writes Plant, “a few adolescents had little affairs, misty and romantic sessions around a blazing fire…Other boys…talked openly about ‘going with friends’ and enjoying it. The leaders of these groups tended to disregard the relationships blossoming around them — unless they participated” (Plant:3).
Blueher himself described the homosexual quality of the group as follows:
“The Wandervoegel movement inspired the youth all around during the first six years of its existence, without awaking the slightest suspicion…towards its own members…Only very seldom might one might notice one of the leaders raising questions of why he and his comrades didn’t want any girls….[later] the name Wandervoegel was mentioned in the same breath as the words “pederasty club” (Blueher:23f).
Richard Plant’s reminiscences also substantiate that the Wandervoegel groups served as a training ground for Nazis. He recalls his friend in the Rovers, “Ferdi, who explained and demonstrated the mysteries of sex to me and my friends.” Plant was later shocked, he says, upon returning to Germany from abroad “to see Ferdi wearing a brown shirt with a red, white and black swastika armband” (ibid.:4).
E.Y. Hartshorne, in German Youth and the Nazi Dream of Victory records the recollections of a former Wandervoegel member who confirms that the organization was the source of important elements of Nazi culture. Our knowledge of the influence of the Community of the Elite on the Wandervoegel may provide us insight into the cryptic comment at the end of the testimony:
“We little suspected then what power we had in our hands. We played with the fire that had set a world in flames, and it made our hearts hot. Mysticism and everything mystical had dominion over us. It was in our ranks that the word Fuehrer originated, with its meaning of blind obedience and devotion. The word Bund arose with us too, with its mysterious undertone of conspiracy. And I shall never forget how in those early days we pronounced the word Gemeinschaft [”community”] with a trembling throaty note of excitement, as though it hid a deep secret” (Hartshorne:12).
Indeed, not only did the grown-up former members of the Wandervoegel become one of Hitler’s main sources of supporters in his rise to power, but the movement itself became the core of a Nazi institution: the Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth). So rampant had homosexuality become in the movement by this time that The Rheinische Zeitung, a prominent German newspaper, warned, “Parents, protect your sons from ‘physical preparations’ in the Hitler Youth,” a sarcastic reference to problems of homosexuality in the organization (Burleigh and Wipperman:188). Sadly, the boys themselves had by this time been completely indoctrinated by their homosexual masters. Waite writes,
With the exception of Ehrhardt, Gerhard Rossbach, sadist, murderer, and homosexual was the most admired hero of nationalistic German youth. “In Ehrhardt, but also in Rossbach,” says a popular book on the youth movement, “we see the Fuehrer of our youth. These men have become the Ideal Man, idolized…and honored as can only happen when the personality of an individual counts for more than anything else”…the most important single contributor of the pre-Hitler youth movement [was] Gerhard Rossbach (Waite, 1969:210f).
Hans Peter Bleuel, in Sex and Society in Nazi Germany, points out that most of the adult supervisors of the Hitler Youth were also SA officers (who were almost exclusively homosexual). Rector states that Baldur von Schirach, leader of the Hitler Youth organization, was reportedly bisexual (Rector:56). In Germany’s National Vice, Jewish historian Samuel Igra confirms this, saying Schirach was arrested by the police for perverse sexual practices and liberated on the intervention of Hitler, who soon afterward made him leader of the Hitler Youth (Igra:72). Igra further states that Schirach was known as “the baby” among the inner pederast clique around Hitler (ibid.:74). Rempel reports that Schirach always surrounded himself with a guard of handsome young men (Rempel:88). Psychiatrist Walter Langer in his 1943 secret wartime report, The Mind of Adolf Hitler, also writes of Schirach’s reputed homosexuality (Langer:99).
In 1934, the Gestapo reported forty cases of pederasty in just one troop of the Hitler Youth. Bleuel writes of the case of one supervisor, a 20-year-old man who was dismissed from the Hitler Youth in 1938. Yet he was transferred to the National Socialist Flying Corps (Civil Air Patrol) “and was assigned to supervise work by members of the Hitler Youth Gliding Association and eventually detained to help with physical check-ups — a grievous temptation. The man was once again caught sodomizing young men, but was not dismissed from the NSFK” (the National Socialist Flying Corps) – Bleuel:119).
Conditions were essentially the same in 1941. Bleuel reports of another homosexual flying instructor involved in “at least ten cases of homosexuality with student pilots of the Hitler Youth” and “a student teacher and student …[who] had committed twenty-eight proven acts of indecency with twenty boys at Hitler Youth and Young Folk camps” (ibid.:119). He adds that “[t]hese cases were only the tip of the iceberg, for few misdemeanors within the Party became public in later years and even fewer came to trial” (ibid.:119).
The prevalence of homosexuality in the Hitler Youth is also confirmed by historian Gerhard Rempel in his book Hitler’s Children: Hitler Youth and the SS:
“Homosexuality, meanwhile, continued on into the war years when Hitler Jugend boys frequently became victims of molestations at the hands of their SS tutors; Himmler consistently took a hard line against it publicly but was quite willing to mitigate his penalties privately and keep every incident as secret as possible” (Rempel:51f).
This last quote from Rempel raises two important points which will be addressed at greater length later in the book, but deserve at least some mention here. The first point is that Heinrich Himmler, who is often cited as being representative of the Nazi regime’s alleged hatred of homosexuals, was obviously not overly concerned about homosexual occurrences in the ranks of his own organization. The second point is that this homosexual activity continued long after Hitler had supposedly purged homosexuals from the Nazi regime (in 1934) and promoted strict policies against homosexuality (from 1935 on). As we shall see later, these policies were primarily for public relations and were largely unenforced.
An interesting sideline to the story of the Hitler Youth illustrates both the control of the youth movement by pederasts and the fundamental relationship between homosexuality and Nazism. In Great Britain, the pro-Nazis formed the Anglo-German Fellowship (AGF). The AGF was headed by British homosexuals Guy Francis de Moncy Burgess and Captain John Robert Macnamara. British Historian John Rempel relates how Burgess, Macnamara and J.H. Sharp, the Church of England’s Arch-deacon for Southern Europe, took a trip to Germany to attend a Hitler Youth camp. Costello writes,
“In the spring of 1936, the trio set off for the Rhineland, accompanied by Macnamara’s friend Tom Wylie, a young official in the War Office. Ostensibly they were escorting a group of pro-fascist schoolboys to a Hitler Youth camp. But from Burgess’ uproariously bawdy account of how his companions discovered that the Hitler Jugend satisfied their sexual and political passions, the trip would have shocked their sponsors — the Foreign Relations Council of the Church of England” (Costello: 300).
In pre-World War II France, the pro-Nazi faction was represented by the Radical-Socialist Party (RSP) and the Popular Party (PP). The Secretary-General of the RSP was Edouard Pfeiffer. Costello writes of Guy Burgess’ visit to Pfeiffer in Paris shortly before the war:
“As a connoisseur of homosexual decadence, Pfeiffer had few equals, even in Paris. As an officer of the French Boy-Scout movement, his private life was devoted to the seduction of youth. Burgess discovered all this when he visited Pfeiffer’s apartment in Paris and found…[him] with a naked young man…he explained to Burgess that the young man was a professional cyclist, who just happened to be a member of Jacques Doriot’s Popular Party” (ibid.:315).
Once again we see flagrant sexual perversion in the heart of the Nazi movement — long after the Roehm Purge. It appears also that the correlation between Nazism and homosexuality disregarded national boundaries. As we have seen, both Hans Blueher and Benedict Friedlander observed that youth organizations are often (in their view, appropriately) led by pederasts. Events in Europe during the first part of the twentieth century, particularly those involving the National Socialists, strongly support this theory.
The revival of Hellenic culture in the German homosexual movement, then, was an integral factor in the rise of Nazism. Right under the nose of traditional German society, the pederasts laid the groundwork for the ultra masculine military society of the Third Reich. The Wandervoegel was certainly not a “homosexual organization” per se, but its homosexual leaders molded the youth movement into an expression of their own Hellenic ideology and, in the process, recruited countless young men into the homosexual lifestyle. The first members of the Wandervoegel grew to manhood just in time to provide the Nazi movement with its support base in the German culture. As Steakley put it, “[the] Free German Youth jubilantly marched off to war, singing the old Wandervoegel songs to which new, chauvinistic verses were added” (Steakley:58).
Gerhard Rossbach and the Freikorps Movement
The Freikorps movement began during the years immediately following the close of World War I. After the war and the subsequent socialist revolution in Germany in 1918, tens of thousands of former soldiers of the German army volunteered for quasi-military service in a number of independent reserve units called Freikorps (Free Corps), under the command of former junior officers of the German army. These units were highly nationalistic and became increasingly violent as the social chaos of the Weimar Republic worsened. Rossbach’s organization, originally called the Rossbachbund (“Rossbach Brotherhood”) exemplified the German Freikorps. As Waite records in Vanguard of Nazism, “the lieutenants and the captains — Roehm…Ehrhardt, Rossbach, Schultz and the rest — formed the backbone of the Free Corps movement. And…it was they who were the link between the Volunteers [anti-communists] and National Socialism” (Waite, 1969:45). Once again we see the essential relationship between homosexuality and Nazism, since many of these “lieutenants and captains” were known or probable homosexuals, some of whom eventually served in the SA. German historian and Hitler contemporary Konrad Heiden writes that “[m]any sections of this secret army of mercenaries and murderers were breeding places of perversion” (Heiden:30). Historian G. S. Graber agrees:
“Many…[Freikorps] leaders were homosexual; indeed homosexuality appears to have been widespread in several volunteer units. Gerhard Rossbach…was an open homosexual. On his staff was Lieutenant Edmund Heines who was later to become the lover of Ernst Roehm” (Graber:33).
Waite’s analysis shows that the Freikorps movement was one intervening phase between the Wandervoegel movement and the Nazi Stuermabteilung — the SA. “The generation to which the Freikorpskaempfer [‘Free Corps warriors’] belonged,” writes Waite, “the generation born in the 1890s — participated in two experiences which were to have tremendous effect on his subsequent career as a Volunteer [in the Freikorps]. The first of these was the pre-war Youth Movement; the second, World War I” (Waite, 1969:17). The young men who had been molded by the Hellenic philosophies of the youth movement had come of age just in time to fight in the first World War. There, they were further shaped and seasoned by the hardships and horrors of trench warfare.
It was in the trenches of World War I that the concept of Stuermabteilung (Storm Troops) was developed — elite, hard-hitting units whose task it was to “storm” the enemy lines. The tactics of the Storm Troopers proved to be so effective that they were quickly adopted throughout the German army. The Storm Troop system created a tremendous increase in the number of young commanders of a certain breed. Waite writes,
“Only a very special type of officer could be used. He must be unmarried, under twenty-five years of age, in excellent physical health…and above all he must possess in abundance that quality which German military writers call ruthlessness. The result was that at the time of the Armistice Germany was flooded with hundreds of capable, arrogant young commanders who found an excellent outlet for their talents in the Free Corps movement” (ibid.:27).
It is not difficult to recognize that the description of the preferred Storm Trooper is a model of the Wandervoegel hero: ultra masculine, militaristic, physically conditioned, largely unrestrained by Judeo-Christian morality, and guided by the “Fuehrer Principle” (ibid.:28). It is no wonder, then, that many of these men became youth leaders in their turn (ibid.:210). In the preceding chapter, we learned that homosexual sadist and murderer Gerhard Rossbach was “the most important single contributor to the pre-Hitler youth movement” and a “hero to nationalistic German youth.” In the days before Baldur von Schirach developed the Hitler Youth, Rossbach organized Germany’s largest youth organization, named the Schilljugend (“Schill Youth”) in honor of a famous Prussian soldier executed by Napoleon (ibid:210n).
But Rossbach’s contribution to the Nazis was far greater than the mere shaping of young men into Nazi loyalists. It was Rossbach who formed the original terrorist organization which eventually became the Nazi Storm Troopers, also known as “Brown Shirts.” Both the Rossbach Storm Troopers and the Schilljugend were notorious for wearing brown shirts which had been prepared for German colonial troops, acquired from the old Imperial army stores (Koehl:19). It is reasonable to suppose that without Rossbach’s Storm Troopers, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis would never have gained power in Germany. Heiden describes them:
“Rossbach’s troop, roaring, brawling, carousing, smashing windows, shedding blood…was especially proud to be different from the others. Heines had belonged to it before joining Hitler; then Rossbach and Heines had formed a center with Roehm; it led the SA while Hitler was under arrest [for leading the Beer Hall Putsch]” (Heiden, 1944:295).
Rossbach’s Freikorps was formed almost exclusively of homosexuals. As fascist novelist, Edwin Dwinger, would later declare through one of his characters, Captain Werner, “Freikorps men aren’t almost all bachelors for nothing. Believe me, if there weren’t so many of their kind, our ranks would be pretty damn thin” (Theweleit, Vol 1:33). Rossbach’s adjutant, Edmund Heines, was another pederast and a convicted murderer who later became Ernst Roehm’s adjutant in the SA (he was also the sexual partner of Rossbach, Roehm and possibly Hitler as well). During the incident known as “The Night of the Long Knives” in which Hitler killed Roehm and a number of other SA leaders, Heines was surprised in bed with a young SA recruit (Gallo:236). Historian Frank Rector describes Heines:
“Distinguished by a girlish face on the body of a truck driver, Heines was an elegant, suave, and impeccably groomed killer. He liked to shoot his victims in the face with his 7.65 Walther automatic or beat them to death with a club…In addition to Heines’ value as a first rate adjutant, gifted administrative executive, and aggressive and adroit SA leader, Heines had a marked talent as a procurer [of boys]…garnering the fairest lads in the Fatherland for…sexual amusement” (Rector:89).
Perhaps because of Edmund Heines’ special talent, Rossbach assigned him to develop the Schilljugend. Igra tells how he profited thereby:
“Edmund Heines, the group-leader of the storm troops at Breslau, was a repulsive brute who turned the Nazi headquarters of the city into a homosexual brothel. Having 300,000 storm troopers under his command he was in a position to terrorize the neighborhood…One of his favorite ruses was to have members of the youth organization indulge in unnatural practices with one another and then threaten their parents that he would denounce these youths to the police…unless he received…hush money. Thus Heines not only indulged in homosexual orgies himself — he was often Roehm’s consort in this — but he promoted the vice as a lucrative business” (Igra:73).
Ernst Roehm and the Development of the SA
Next to Adolf Hitler, Ernst Roehm was the man in Germany most responsible for the rise of Nazism, indeed of Hitler himself. Rector writes that “Hitler was, to a substantial extent, Roehm’s protégé” (Rector:80). A driving force behind the National Socialist movement, Roehm was one of the early founders of the Nazi Party. Both Roehm and Hitler had been members of the socialist terrorist group called the Iron Fist (Heiden, 1944:89).
It was at a meeting of the Iron Fist that Roehm reportedly met him and “saw in Hitler the demagogue he required to mobilize mass support for his secret army” (Hohne:20). With Roehm’s backing, Hitler became the first president of the Nazi Party in 1921 (ibid.:21). Shortly thereafter, Rossbach’s Freikorps, integrated into the Party first under Herman Goering’s and then Roehm’s authority, was transformed into the dreaded Nazi SA.
In his classic Nazi history, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, author William Shirer describes Ernst Roehm as “a stocky, bull-necked, piggish-eyed, scar-faced professional soldier…[and] like so many of the early Nazis, a homosexual” (Shirer:64). Roehm was recruited into homosexuality by Gerhard Rossbach (Flood:196). Rector elaborates,
“Was not the most outstanding, most notorious, of all homosexuals the celebrated Nazi leader Ernst Roehm, the virile and manly chief of the SA, the du buddy of Adolf Hitler from the beginning of his political career? [Hitler allowed Roehm the rare privilege of addressing him with the familiar form “thou,” indicating intimate friendship]. Hitler’s rise had in fact depended upon Roehm and everyone knew it. Roehm’s gay fun and games were certainly no secret; his amorous forays to gay bars and gay Turkish baths were riotous. Whatever anti-homosexual sentiments may have been expressed by straight Nazis were more than offset by the reality of highly visible, spectacular, gay-loving Roehm. If there were occasional ominous rumblings and grumblings about “all those queers” in the SA and Movement, and some anti-gay flare-ups, homosexual Nazis felt more-or-less secure in the lap of the Party. After all, the National Socialist Party member who wielded the greatest power aside from Hitler was Roehm” (Rector:50f).
Consistent with the elitist philosophies of Benedict Friedlander, Adolf Brand, and Hans Blueher, Roehm viewed homosexuality as the basis for a new society. Louis Snyder, prominent historian of the Nazi era, writes,
“[Roehm] projected a social order in which homosexuality would be regarded as a human behavior pattern of high repute…he flaunted his homosexuality in public and insisted that his cronies do the same. What was needed, Roehm believed, was a proud and arrogant lot who could brawl, carouse, smash windows, kill and slaughter for the hell of it. Straights, in his eyes, were not as adept in such behavior as practicing homosexuals” (Snyder:55).
Under Roehm, the SA became the instrument of Nazi terrorism in German society. It was officially founded on August 3, 1921, ostensibly as a “Special section for gymnastics and sport,” but in his first directive to the group, Hitler defined the SA’s purpose as “a means of defense for the movement, but above all a training school for the coming struggle for liberty” (Heiden, 1935:82f).
Historian Thomas Fuchs reports that “The principle function of this army-like organization was beating up anyone who opposed the Nazis, and Hitler believed this was a job best undertaken by homosexuals” (Fuchs:48f). At first serving simply to protect the Nazis’ own meetings from disruptions by rivals and troublemakers, the SA soon expanded its strong-arm tactics to advance Nazi policies and philosophies. In a 1921 speech in Munich, Hitler set the stage for this activity: “[the] National Socialist movement will in future ruthlessly prevent if necessary by force all meetings or lectures that are likely to distract the minds of our fellow citizens…” In Mein Kampf, Hitler describes an incident (when his men were attacked by Communists adversaries) which he considered the baptismal act of the SA:
“When I entered the lobby of the Hofbrauhaus at quarter to eight, I no longer had any doubts as to the question of sabotage…The hall was very crowded…The small assault section was waiting for me in the lobby…I had the doors to the hall shut, and ordered my men — some forty-five or -six — to stand at attention…my men from the Assault Section — from that day known as the SA — launched their attack. Like wolves in packs of eight or ten, they threw themselves on their adversaries again and again, overwhelming them with blows…In five minutes everyone was covered with blood. These were real men, whom I learned to appreciate on that occasion. They were led by my courageous Maurice. Hess, my private secretary, and many others who were badly hurt pressed the attack as long as they were able to stay on their feet” (Hitler:504f).
In all actions the SA bore Roehm’s trademark of unabashed sadism. Max Gallo describes the organization:
“Whatever the SA engage in — whether they are torturing a prisoner, cutting the throat of an adversary or pillaging an apartment — they behave as if they are within their rights, as artisans of the Nazi victory…They are the SA, beyond criticism. As Roehm himself said many times: “The battalions of Brown Shirts were the training school of National Socialism” (Gallo:38).
The favorite meeting place of the SA was a “gay” bar in Munich called the Bratwurstgloeckl where Roehm kept a reserved table (Hohne:82). This was the same tavern where some of the early meetings of the Nazi Party had been held (Rector:69). At the Bratwurstgloeckl, Roehm and associates — Edmund Heines, Karl Ernst, Ernst’s partner Captain [Paul] Rohrbein, Captain Petersdorf, Count Ernst Helldorf — would meet to plan and strategize. These were the men who orchestrated the Nazi campaign of intimidation and terror. All of them were homosexual (Heiden, 1944:371).
Indeed, homosexuality was all that qualified many of these men for their positions in the SA. Heinrich Himmler would later complain of this: “Does it not constitute a danger to the Nazi movement if it can be said that Nazi leaders are chosen for sexual reasons?” (Gallo:68). Himmler was not so much opposed to homosexuality itself as to the fact that non-qualified people were given high rank based on their homosexual relations with Roehm and others. For example, SA Obergruppenfuehrer (Lieutenant General) Karl Ernst, a militant homosexual, had been a hotel doorman and a waiter before joining the SA. “Karl Ernst is not yet thirty-five, writes Gallo, he commands 250,000 men…he is simply a sadist, a common thug, transformed into a responsible official” (ibid.:50f). Later, Ernst became a member of the German Parliament (Machtan:185). Gallo writes,
“Roehm, as the head of 2,500,000 Storm Troops had surrounded himself with a staff of perverts. His chiefs, men of rank of Gruppenfuehrer or Obergruppenfuehrer, commanding units of several hundred thousand Storm Troopers, were almost without exception homosexuals. Indeed, unless a Storm Troop officer were homosexual he had no chance of advancement” (Knickerbocker:55).
Otto Friedrich’s analysis in Before the Deluge is similar:
“Under Rohm, the SA leadership acquired a rather special quality, however, for the crude and blustering Oberster SA Fuehrer was also a fervent homosexual, and he liked to surround himself, in all the positions of command, with men of similar persuasions” (Friedrich:327).
In the SA, the Hellenic ideal of masculine homosexual supremacy and militarism had finally been realized. “Theirs was a very masculine brand of homosexuality,” writes homosexualist historian Alfred Rowse, “they lived in a male world, without women, a world of camps and marching, rallies and sports. They had their own relaxations, and the Munich SA became notorious on account of them” (Rowse:214). The similarity of the SA to Friedlander’s and Brand’s dream of Hellenic revival is not coincidental. In addition to being a founder of the Nazi Party, Ernst Roehm was a leading member of the Society for Human Rights, an offshoot of the Community of the Elite (J. Katz:632).
The relaxations to which Rowse refers in the above quote were, of course, the homosexual activities (many of them pederastic) for which the SA and the CE were both famous. Hohne writes,
“[Roehm] used the SA for ends other than the purely political. SA contact men kept their Chief of Staff supplied with suitable partners, and at the first sign of infidelity on the part of a Roehm favorite, he would be bludgeoned down by one of the SA mobile squads. The head pimp was a shop assistant named Peter Granninger, who had been one of Roehm’s partners…and was now given cover in the SA Intelligence Section. For a monthly salary of 200 marks he kept Roehm supplied with new friends, his main hunting ground being Geisela High School Munich; from this school he recruited no fewer than eleven boys, whom he first tried out and then took to Roehm” (Hohne:82).
Although the original SA chapter in Munich was the most notorious, other SA chapters were also centers of homosexual activity. In Political Violence and the Rise of Nazism, Richard Bessel notes that the Silesian division of the SA was a hotbed of perversion from 1931 onward (Bessel:61).
Roehm and his closest SA associates were among the minority of Nazi homosexuals who did not take wives. Whether for convention, for procreation, or simply for covering up their sexual proclivities, most of the Nazi homosexuals had married. Some, like Reinhard Heydrich and Baldur von Schirach, married only after being involved in homosexual scandals, but often these men, who so hated femininity, maintained a facade of heterosexual respectability throughout their lives. As Machtan notes, “That Hitler…encouraged many of them to marry should not be surprising: every conspiracy requires camouflage” (Machtan:24). These were empty marriages, however, epitomized by one wife’s comment: “The only part of my husband I’m familiar with is his back” (Theweleit:3).
As we have seen, then, the SA was in many respects a creation of Germany’s homosexual movement, just as the Nazi Party was in many ways a creation of the SA. Before we take a closer look at the formation and early years of the Nazi Party, we must examine two other very important movements which contributed to Nazism. These are the occult Theosophical-Ariosophical movement, and the intellectual movement which created the National Socialist philosophy. Both of these movements, which are integral to our understanding of the Nazi Party and its actions, were also heavily influenced by homosexuals.