Karl-Günther Heimsoth

Karl-Günther Heimsoth , as well as Karl-Guenter Heimsoth ( Charlottenburg , 4 of December of 1899 – Berlin , July 1934 ) was a physician , publicist andpolitical German .

Life and work

Early years and studies (1919 to 1924)

Karl-Günther Heimsoth was the son of a mercantile court advisor and bank director. His youth was spent in Dortmund , where he approved a June 1917 Abitur , simplified maturity test temporarily because of the First World War . 1 then entered the Prussian army until the end of 1918 participated in World War I, being deployed on the Western Front – at the end, with the rank of lieutenant .

In the summer semester of 1919, Heimsoth began his medical studies at the University of Tübingen . He continued his clinical training in Munich , Kiel and Rostock . In Rostock he underwent his state examination to practice medicine in the spring of 1924. During his studies he participated in 1920 and 1921 in the Ruhr Uprising , struggles in Thuringia and uprisings in Upper Silesia as part of a Freikorps .

Between August and November 1924 Heimsoth wrote in Rostock his doctoral thesis with the title Hetero- und Homophilie (Hetero and homophilia ) and was dedicated to homosexuality . 2 With this work, Heimsoth was probably the first to introduce the term ” homophilia ” in Sexology . 3

The thesis argued that in certain erotic and friendly relations there are certain norms in which one seeks and desires “the same”. This “homophilia” may appear in both male and female relationships. In opposition, Heimsoth saw “heterofilia” as a relationship characterized by “the opposite”; So he also considered within the heterofilia the relations between an ” effeminate ” and a “masculine” man. His interpretations of male homosexuality and friendship were based on earlier ideas such as those developed in 1903 by Otto Weininger in Geschlecht und Charakter (“Sex and Character “) and in 1919 by Hans Blüher in Die Rolle der Erotik in der männlichen Gesellschaft ( “The role of eroticism in the male society”). Heimsoth’s reflections begin with Blüher’s theory of the central meaning of eroticism between men for society. From Weininger, Heimsoth took the “law of the polar union” as the impetus of sexual union and completed it with a second “law of homopolar union”. Basically he tried to prove that a male man could desire another masculine man, because there were esoteric and friendly ties in which the opposite sex was not wanted or sought, but the opposite sex.

Activist and publicist in the Weimar Republic (1924-1928)

After obtaining his doctorate, Heimsoth worked as a trainee at the University Gynecological Clinic in Kiel . At the same time, he became an “activist of the homosexual emancipation movement “, 4 but he distanced himself from the Humanitarian Scientific Committee that had been formed around Magnus Hirschfeld , since he considered that the theories defended by the Committee on the ” third sex “Were erroneous. In its “Freundesliebe oder Homosexualität” ( “Love between friends or homosexuality ‘), published in the journal Der Eigene of Adolf Brand in 1925, it showed anti – Semitism of Heimsoth:” Every heroic and masculine love between friends “remains,” in His idea and possibilities of understanding [,] strange to the Jewish spirit . ” 5 The ideal of Heimsoth was that of a whole man, manly and Aryan . The homoerotic friendships between men had to serve as nexus of the ” obersten Machtaufgebot ” (superior appeal of power). 6 Heimsoth believed he could find examples of such male heroes between World War I soldiers and Freicorps , as can be seen from a 1925 publication in the Der Eigene magazine : he called for the sending of Documentation to demonstrate “homoerotic circumstances and relations in Kampfwagen formations and secret societies” and wanted to obtain material “on heroism, the heroic problem of the leader and the psyche of the volunteer, the desperate, the Lansquest , the members of the Freikorps and the secret societies. ” 7

From 1925 to 1928 he learned astrology with the captain of frigate Friedrich Schwickert in Vienna . The publication Charakter-Konstellation: Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Gleichgeschlechtlichkeit (1929; “Constellation of character, especially bearing in mind the homosexuality”) of Heimsoth is dedicated to Schwickert. In the work tries to unite psychology and astrology and to create a scheme to determine the degree of the homosexuality of a person taking as a base the constellation of the stars at the moment of his birth.

Relationship with Röhm (1928 to 1934)

In 1928 he wrote to Ernst Röhm . Röhm, convicted of treason after his participation in the Putsch in Munich , had quarreled with Hitler . Passages from the book of Röhm Geschichte eines Hochverräters , published in 1928, were read by Heimsoth as an acknowledgment between lines of the author’s homosexuality. At that time a reform of article 175 was being discussed in parliament , where the Nazi party demanded a more severe persecution of homosexuals, 8 and it seems that Heimsoth wanted to convince Röhm, a well-known Nazi, to stand against the §175 clearly. 9 Röhm confirmed the assumptions of Heimsoth:

Sie haben mich voll verstanden! Natürlich kämpfe ich mit dem Absatz über Moral vor allem gegen den §175. Sie meinen aber nicht deutlich genug? Ich hatte im ersten Entwurf eine nähere Ausführung über das Thema; Habe is aber auf den Rat von Freunden, die sich von dieser Art zu schreiben, mehr Wirkung versprechen, in die jetzige Fassung geändert. He understood me completely! Of course I struggle with the paragraph on morality, especially with § 175. But you mean I do not do it clearly enough? In the first draft he had introduced a more detailed clarification on the subject; But I modified it to its current version after listening to the advice of friends, who believe that this type of writing is more effective.
Letter from Röhms to Heimsoth of December 3, 1928 10

Röhm and Heimsoth met in person in 1928. From later letters by Röhm, one can deduce that they had conversations on very personal subjects and went together to places of encounter of gays in Berlin . 11 Heimsoth later deposited Röhm’s letters into a lawyer’s safe. In 1930 Röhm assumed the headquarters of the SA . From April 1930, the prosecutor’s office in Munich investigated Röhm for “counter-fornication.” On July 10, 1931, the Berlin police seized Röhm’s letters in a register of his house; Heimsoth was interrogated. By the end of 1931 and early 1932, the deputy minister of Interior of Prussia , Wilhelm Abegg , informed the Social publicist Helmuth Klotz of the existence of the letters. 12 Along with a large press report, Klotz published the letters in March 1932.

At the time of correspondence with Röhm, it appears that Heimsoth was a member of the NSDAP . 13 According to Otto Strasser , in the following years Heimsoth was not only an active member of the Nazi party, but also an “ardent nationalist”. 14 In 1930 joined the Kampfgemeinschaft revolutionärer Nationalsozialisten (KGRNS), a group led by Strasser who had separated from the NSDAP, and that same year went on to take the “Office for the study of foreign policy” as well as belonging to Reichsführerrat ( “Council of the kingdom’s leader”) of the KGRNS. 15 Between Strasser, who belonged to the “left wing” of the NSDAP, and Hitler had previously differed because of the latter’s policy of legality. Strasser warned the police in June 1931 about the existence of Röhm’s letters. 16 Heimsoth was discharged from the KGRNS in August 1931; In September he called the KGRNS a “reserve of fascist government” and accused them of not being the result of a political discussion, but of personal reasons. 17

Heimsoth joined the nationalist group of the Communist Party of Germany , the KPD, around Beppo Römer . It belonged to the Board of Directors (Leiko) of the Aufbruch-Arbeitskreise (AAK) around the magazine Aufbruch published by Römer. 18 The AAK was an attempt by the KPD to win over circles of intellectuals and military officers as allies in their struggle against Nazism. Heimsoth was also an informant of the KPD’s politico-military apparatus, the party’s secret service under Hans Kippenberger . 19

Following the Machtergreifung , the Nazi takeover, Heimsoth continued to give information to the KPD secret service. 20 A September 1933 report by the Gestapo points to continued contact with Beppo Römer. 21 In early July 1934, Heimsoth was shot dead by a commando of the SS in Berlin, as part of the purge carried out during the call Night of the long knives , where Hitler got rid of real political enemies or imagined . 22 Ernst Jünger , a writer close to Nazism, later commented on the murder, saying that Heimsoth “kept a questionable query on the Wittenbergplatz, a real trap. Like the seer Hanussen , was full of dangerous secrets and was one of the first to be liquidated. ” 23

The writer Hanns Heinz Ewers used in his 1931 novel, Reiter in deutscher Nacht (“Knights of the German Night”), on the Freikorps , information from Heimsoth. Heimsoth is recognized in the character of the lieutenant Detlev Hinrichsen . 24


  • Hetero- und Homophilie. Eine neuorientierende An- und Einordnung der Erscheinungsbilder, der “Homosexualität” und der “Inversion” in Berücksichtigung der sogenannten “normalen Freundschaft” auf Grund der zwei verschiedenen erotischen Anziehungsgesetze und der bisexuellen Grundeinstellung des Mannes , Dortmund 1924. (Dissertation)
  • Charakter-Konstellation. Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Gleichgeschlechtlichkeit , München 1928.
  • Freikorps greift an! Militärpolitische Geschichte und Kritik der Angriffs-Unternehmen in Oberschlesien 1921 , Berlin 1930.


  1. Back to top↑ Biographical data come from: Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller : Mann für Mann. Biographies Lexikon zur Geschichte von Freundesliebe und Mannmännlicher Sexualität im deutschen Sprachraum. MännerschwarmSkript Verlag, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-928983-65-2 , p. 331 s.
  2. Back to top↑ About the content of the thesis: Nieden: Freundesliebe , p. 329 fs.
  3. Back to top↑ Moritz Pirol : Hahnenschreie , tome 2, 2000, p. 285.
  4. Back to top↑ Susanne zur Nieden: “Aufstieg und Fall des Virilen Männerhelden. Der Skandal an Ernst Röhm und seine Ermordung “, in: Susanne zur Nieden (Ed.): Homosexualität und Staatsräson. Männlichkeit, Homophobie und Politik in Deutschland 1900-1945 , Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-593-37749-7 , p. 147-192, p. 149.
  5. Back to top↑ Karl Günther Heimsoth: “Freundesliebe oder Homosexualität. Ein Versuch einer anregenden und scheidenden Klarstellung, “in: Der Eigene , 1925, p. 415-425. Op.cit. Nieden: Freundesliebe , p. 332.
  6. Back to top↑ Nieden: Freundesliebe , p. 333.
  7. Back to top↑ Karl Günther Heimsoth: “Von Kampf und Ziel” in: Der Eigene , 1925, p. 527. Op.cit. Nieden:Freundesliebe , p. 335.
  8. Back to top↑ The speech of the parliamentarian Wilhelm Frick of June 22, 1927, can be read in Reichstagsprotokoll
  9. Back to top↑ The assumption is from Nieden, Aufstieg , p. 154.
  10. Back to top↑ Nieden, Aufstieg , p. 154.
  11. Back to top↑ Nieden, Aufstieg , p. 155.
  12. Back to top↑ Nieden, Aufstieg , p. 170 secs. See also Herbert Linder: Von der NSDAP zur SPD. Der Politische Lebensweg des Dr. Helmuth Klotz (1894-1943). (= Karlsruher Beiträge zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus, Vol . 3) Universitätsverlag Konstanz, Konstanz 1998, ISBN 3-87940-607-3 , p. 168 secs.
  13. Back to top↑ Burkhard Jellonnek: Homosexuelle unter dem Hakenkreuz. Die Verfolgung von Homosexuellen im Dritten Reich. Schöningh, Paderborn 1990, ISBN 3-506-77482-4 , p. 64. In Hergemöller, Mann , p. 332, however the date of entry is May 1, 1933.
  14. Back to top↑ Otto Strasser: Flight from Terror , 1943, p. 189.
  15. Back to top↑ Patrick Moreau : Nationalsozialismus von links. Die »Kampfgemeinschaft Revolutionärer Nationalsozialisten und die Schwarze Front« Otto Straßers 1930-1935. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 3-421-06192-0 , p. 60.
  16. Back to top^ Jellonnek, Homosexuelle , p. 66.
  17. Back to top↑ Moreau, Nationalsozialismus , p. 103.
  18. Back to top↑ Bernhard Kaufmann, Eckhard Reisener, Dieter Schwips, Henri Walther: Der Nachrichtendienst der KPD 1919-1937. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-320-01817-5 , p. 234 s.
  19. Back to top↑ Kaufmann, Nachrichtendienst , p. 230.
  20. Back to top↑ Kaufmann, Nachrichtendienst , p. 291.
  21. Back to top↑ Report of the Gestapo on Römer’s contacts of September 25, 1933, see Oswald Bindrich, Susanne Römer: Beppo Römer – Ein Leben zwischen Revolution und Nation. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-926175-97-4 , p. 156.
  22. Back to top↑ Regarding a note in an NSDAP file: Hergemöller, Mann , p. 332.
  23. Back to top↑ Ernst Jünger: Jahre der Okkupation. April 1945-December 1948 , 1958, p. 39.
  24. Back to top↑ Hergemöller, Mann , p. 331.