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


Dr Leopold Schafer

assistant head of department at the Reich Ministry of Justice

Commentary on details of June 28, 1935 amendment to criminal law (extract), in Hidden Holocaust? edited by Gunter Grau, pgs 66-67

[...] 4. Sex offence between males (Article 6.)

Bad experiences in the recent period have made it seem advisable to bring into force beforehand the harsher provisions against homosexual offenses between men which have been introduced in anticipation of the general renewal of the criminal law. The essential defect of the previous Section 175 of the Penal Code lay in the fact that -- at least in former case law -- it applied only to intercourse-like acts, so that public prosecutors and the police could not proceed against evidently homosexual practices unless they were able to prove such acts. The gap has now been filled, so that any sex offence between males renders them liable to imprisonment. In order to prevent this provision from being applied to lesser misdemeanours, which experience shows to occur particularly at a youthful age, the court is empowered to refrain from punishing persons under 21 years especially in minor cases. When persons under age abase themselves in intercourse-like acts with other under-age males or even adults, this mitigating factor shall not normally be applicable. In addition to this basic category, other designated cases which carry the threat of penal servitude up to 10 years or, with mitigating circumstances, imprisonment of not less than three months are: the use of violence or of a present threat to life and limb to compel another male to commit a homosexual vice, employment or subordination for the purposes of a homosexual offence, or the seduction of a minor by an adult, or male homosexual prostitution.