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Cultural Diplomacy and Human Rights

Don’t forget about Charlotte von Mahlsdorf on 22nd!

960x595By Ana Lordkipanidze, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

As a gay parade in Berlin is approaching, it is important to understand where it all started from and what was the place that became the meeting place for queer community in Berlin. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf is a very important name in the queer history of Berlin. Originally named Lothar Berfelde she was born in 1928 in Germany. From young age she started to cross-dress as she felt more like a girl than a boy. As she was living during Nazi Germany which was fighting against “non-traditional sexual orientation” it was a very bold step from her to dress as a woman, moreover that her father was a Nazi Party leader in Mahlsdorf. The Mahlsdorf’s important heritage to Germany is the Gründerzeitmuseum. She was helping to clear up apartments of deported Jews and would keep interesting items to herself (mostly musical ones), with which later she was able to establish the museum. The museum was not only important because of the items it contained but because of what it represented. It was the most popular place where queer people and prostitutes could gather in early 60-s and enjoy each other’s company. During times of gay oppression, this was the only place where people were not judged for their sexual urges, where they didn’t have to hide their true sexual identity. Today, so many years later Grunderzeitmuseum still exists in Mahlsdorf, Berlin and visitors are welcome to visit it on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 10:00-18:00. One can still find a cafe in Museum with pictures that clearly demonstrate what a horny place the Museum was in 1960s. Museum in Mahlsdorf today hosts many queer weddings, where people get married and have receptions in beautiful gardens outside of the house. Since gay parade in Berlin on 22nd is approaching, I thought it is important to know what was the first gathering place for the Berlin’s queer community.

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy


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We are the Blogsphere Team of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. We are the interactive part of the web resources of ICD. We spread culture and mutual understanding among cultures through blogs.


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