The History of the Gay Male and Lesbian Experience during World War II

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Heinz Dörmer

Heinz F.

Caption

From Paragraph 175 a documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 2000.

Born in Berlin in 1912, Heinz Dörmer spent his early years in church-related youth groups. By 15, he was living the wild life in Berlin's gay bars and discovered a passion for theater -- and actors.

In 1929, he founded his own youth group, the so-called "Wolfsring" (ring of wolves), and in 1931 he was officially recognized as a "youth leader." The work in the group connected many of Heinz's interests: sexual affairs, amateur theater performances, and travel. In 1932, Heinz was promoted and worked on the Scout movement at the national level. When the Nazis started to force all independent youth groups into the Hitler Youth, Heinz and his group tried to stay independent. In October, 1933, however, they capitulated to brute force, and joined the Hitler Youth.

In April, 1935, Heinz was accused of homosexual activities with members of his troop. Thus began a series of arrests for Paragraph 175 and incarcerations in concentration camps and prisons. After his last release in 1963, he returned to Berlin to live with his father, who died in 1970. Throughout the years Heinz follwed the discussions about homosexual persecution during the Nazi regime. In 1982, he applied for reparations from the German government. His application was rejected.

PHOTO Heinz Dormer from Paragraph 175 Official website of the documentary. Heinz Dörmer, 1928, age 18. Dörmer was 10 when he joined the German Youth Movement in 1922. He eventually became a group leader before his troop was forced by the Nazis to join the Hitler Youth.

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