Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate (2023) - full transcript

A glittery nightclub in 1920s Berlin becomes a haven for the queer community in this documentary exploring the freedoms lost amid Hitler's rise to power.

The night has just begun.

You are exactly where you want to be.

You feel confident, excited and seen.

you are with people who feel like you.

And for a moment,
you forget that you are different.

Tonight, everything is possible.

Berlin is the place
where everything is happening.

It's the capital of sin.

There were 80 to 120 cafes,
bars, clubs

that were almost exclusively
targeting LGBTQ people.

There are queer and trans people
all around.

After the Nazis come to power,

we see the worst homophobic persecution
in world history.

There is scarcely
another period in history

where freedom and oppression

are as close to each other
as in the 1920s and 1930s.

Even today, you can have these liberties
and they can be taken away from you.

These people were living the type of
life that I live now.

But it's only for a moment.

It was a calamity for humankind.

And I was part of that humankind.

You are coming
up the street in Berlin

and you see a building on the corner

that has a fantastic sign out front.

And it says, "Here It Is Right!"

Of all the nightclubs
that we have in the Golden Twenties,

the Eldorado
is the most spectacular queer venue.

The Eldorado heralds
a new freedom

where gay men, lesbian women,

trans men and trans women can be free
and self-determined for the first time.

One of the people you will
meet here is Charlotte Charlaque,

a Jewish American-German intellectual.

She's traveled the world, she's lived
in America, in Germany, in France

and is about to become

one of the first people

to undergo sex reassignment surgery
in the world.

In Berlin's nightlife,
we see two new faces:

Lisa and Gottfried,
newly married, in their early twenties,

like so many who visit the Eldorado
they are ready to just drift along,

to discover new things,
to discover new loves.

full name Lisa von Dobeneck,

and Gottfried von Cramm
have known each other since childhood.

They grew up in neighboring castles.

Lisa was a born Dobeneck.

And they lived 15 kilometers
from one of our estates.

It was called the "Babylon of Sin"

because it's where the Cramms
were free to do anything.

Lisa and Gottfried
want the big life.

And of course that eventually stops
happening in this rural environment

but instead in the magnet of wild Berlin.

There's also quite
a lot of freedom that comes in.

Rights for women are coming through.

There's a lifting of censorship

and press has much more freedom
to print what it likes.

And that creates a whole flourishing
of queer print media.


You had specific ones
for gay men and for gay women.

And you even had ones
that were specific to transvestites.

It's possible to talk now about sex
more openly than it had been before.

It feels to people

like there's this complete revolution
of the sexual order happening.

This is the first time Lisa and Gottfried

discover a world unknown to them.

The Eldorado was synonymous with the fact
that something new was beginning here.

So in the middle of this
kind of fabulous glittering nightclub,

you'd probably be surprised

to meet someone who's
on a first-name basis with Adolf Hitler.

This person is named Ernst Röhm,

has horrifying violent,
anti-Semitic politics

and is one of the real key strategists
and architects of the Nazi rise to power.

with swastika flags
blowing all across the Reich today

Röhm is a fanatical soldier devoted
to and in love with war and killing.

And as a pure nationalist,

he never got over
Germany's loss of the First World War.

Adolf Hitler and Ernst Röhm

meet as early as 1919
in the right-wing movement.

They very quickly become friends
on a first-name basis

and have a close friendship for years.

to stand strong
for all eternity.

They bond over the dream

of making the Nazis
into a movement capable of taking power.

Which is far away, for now.

So Ernst Röhm is gay,

is rather careless about being gay,

has many gay lovers and contacts.

His homosexuality is one open secret
and something that's gossiped about.

Hitler is likely aware
of the rumors about Röhm.

But he seems to prioritize
Röhm's potential usefulness to him.

At one point Hitler
seems to have been quoted as saying,

"His private life does not interest me

as long as he maintains
the necessary discretion."

But as we'll see, the necessary
discretion was not always maintained.

This club attracted

an incredible spectrum of people

in terms of their politics
or their world views.


What the Eldorado really represents

is Berlin's window of queer life
to the world.

Some of the queer performers
at the Eldorado

become really mainstream stars
in this period.

And one of them is Claire Waldoff.

Men out of the Reichstag!

And men out of the Landtag

And men out of the manor

We'll make it into a women's house

If you showed up
to the Eldorado alone,

you needed to pay for a taxi dancer
to escort you around the floor.

You can really check out
this gender illusion

that's so famous about the Eldorado.

One night,
Charlotte meets someone like her.

Not only is this person
an intellectual like Charlotte,

she's also trans.

And her name is Toni Ebel.

Unlike Charlotte,
she does not know what to do about this.

She's just escaped a terrible marriage.

She's about ten years older.

But the two become inseparable.

These kinds of relationships
between trans women

are actually really common,

where regardless of
what our sexual orientation may be,

we develop these deep sisterhoods

that sometimes cross the line over
into being lovers

or life partners.

In part this is because

we live in a world where there aren't
a lot of people like us.

And so when we meet someone like us,

we form deep family commitments
to each other,

regardless of what shape that takes.

Toni has been trying for many years
to live her life as a woman,

but she doesn't know where to go.

Charlotte Charlaque has the answer.

She introduces Toni to Magnus Hirschfeld.

Magnus Hirschfeld
also frequents the Eldorado.

He loves observing queer life.

He is, in his own right,
a celebrity.

Everyone knows who he is.

He's a sexologist.

He's fascinated
by studying human sexuality

and gender roles.

He fundamentally believes

that gay people and trans people

can achieve liberation and their rights

through the tools of science.

He publishes, at a maddening rate,

books, pamphlets, his lectures.

He founded the world's first
gay rights organization in 1897.

On the queer city map of Berlin,

there is one focal point
for progressive thinking:

Magnus Hirschfeld's
Institute for Sexual Science.

There's a museum where you can
see things like some frilly panties

that a German soldier wore in World War I.

You can find dildos, all kinds of things.

It included space for a range
of services for all people

who need counseling
about their relationships,

any kind of STD,
information on abortion and pregnancy,

the list goes on and on.

The Institute is also
a social place for people.

It was a hub for queer people to go,
a kind of a community setting.

Just knowing that
the Institute is there

is an important piece of information
for many in the Berlin community.

One of the things that it specializes in

is trans identity
and trans treatments available for those

who are struggling with their gender
that was assigned at birth.

For Ernst Röhm,
Magnus Hirschfeld embodies the enemy.

He is Jewish, a social democrat,

and he championed the rights
of trans men and trans women.

As such, he is the opposite
of the masculine ideology

that Ernst Röhm adheres to.

But both have something in common,
they are not openly homosexual.

Magnus Hirschfeld knows that he would lose
his reputation as a scientist.

And Ernst Röhm knows that he
would be expelled from the Nazi Party.

Ernst Röhm seems to have had
an enormous degree of confidence

that his personal friendship with Hitler

and his long personal history with Hitler
would protect him.

Both in terms of the public at large
and in terms of the Nazi movement.

And this allows him to be quite careless
about his private life.

"Dear Dr. Heimsoth."

"A handshake first of all."

"I can remember a number
of same-sex feelings and acts

reaching back to my childhood,

but I have also associated
with many women."

"Never, however,
to my particular enjoyment."

There's not much evidence
of Röhm's interior life.

But we do have one real
sort of treasure trove of that.

And it's a series of letters
that he wrote to a friend

named Dr. Karl-Günther Heimsoth.

"All women are loathsome to me."

"I am not at all unhappy
about my disposition,

even if it has caused me
considerable difficulties at times."

"Internally, I may even be proud of it."

"At least I believe so."

And in these letters,

Röhm seems to become
more and more confident

in identifying as homosexual.

This is a moment
when the idea of sexuality itself,

heterosexuality, homosexuality, whatever,

the idea that a sexuality
is a coherent thing that a person has,

is really quite fresh and being developed.

But there is also another reality.

After all, Germany does not only
consist of cities,

but a large part of it is towns, villages.

For those, what is happening in Berlin
and other major cities is alien.

The also feel intimidated
by this rapid change.

The pace of change

is a source of frustration
for just about everybody.

If you're a radical, then change
is happening much too slowly for you.

On the other side,
if you're a conservative,

you're watching everything that gives
your life depth and meaning washed away.

And it's that experience
of being threatened by this change

that gives fascists fertile ground
in which to spread their poisonous ideas.

We want to school the Germans

insofar as that
there is no life without law

and that there is no law without power

and there is no power without strength

and that any strength
has to be rooted in our own nation!

He sounded to me like
Hitler always sounded

when he gave a speech,

like a madman.

The yelling and the things he said.

And of course he talked about the Jews,

It was a horrible thing to listen to.

I didn't concern myself with it
any further.

I was an innocent young man.

I had fallen in love, you see.

We had a villa in Sauerbrunn

where we spent our summers.

And someone else who went there on holiday
every year was Lumpi.

That's how I met him.

He lived in Budapest
and I lived in Vienna.

Lumpi and I became friends.

We did a lot of stuff together.

I loved him. After all, why not?

We were both Jewish.

But we didn't give it much thought.

We were pretty removed from it all,
as you'd put it.

But the trouble was in the air.

Not just in Berlin or in Germany,
but everywhere in Europe.

So in 1931, Hitler appoints Röhm
to be head of the SA.

The SA is the Nazis' paramilitary.
They do the dirty work.

They destabilize democracy,

they fight other people on the street,
they beat people up outside events.

Under Röhm, this force would grow
to three million members.

That's an enormously important
kind of backbone and insurance

for the Nazi movement.

The SA is a really huge part of the Nazis'
plan to take control of Germany

and to establish a racially pure empire

free of Jews, free of communists,
free of disabled people,

free of Roma and Sinti people
and free of queers.

The SA recruited its members

mostly among young men from lower class
and lower middle-classes.

Because of its relatively low-threshold
admission criteria,

it didn't consist
of only radical nationalists,

but also of outsiders, eccentrics
and quite a number of criminals.

Karl Ernst is a storm trooper

who Röhm probably meets and recruits

out of this Berlin nightlife world.

And Ernst ends up joining the SA

and becoming a right-hand man of Röhm
in the organization.

The storm trooper,
Karl Ernst, worked in Berlin,

sometimes as a doorman in gay and lesbian
nightclubs, sometimes as a bellhop.

After joining the SA, Ernst begins
to develop his own political ambitions,

even as he's living a gay double life.

So if we think about Röhm's life

in the military,
in these right-wing paramilitaries,

he's someone who creates around himself
an entirely single-sex environment.

You're living together,
you're showering together.

You're going out in the streets and
beating up Jews and communists together.

And all of this can have

a kind of erotic or sexual charge.

There is this hyper-masculinity.

"We are so much men

that we are actually disgusted by women."

"We don't want to look at them."

"And that doesn't make us effeminate,
that makes us even more like men."

To the movement!

There is one man
in the Nazi movement

whose dangerousness
Ernst Röhm underestimated for a long time.

That is the Reich Leader of the SS,
Heinrich Himmler.

As a young person, Heinrich Himmler
was very interested

in this kind of fraternity-based

But at the same time he always feared the
danger inherent in the possibility

of these manly friendships
giving rise to erotic attraction.

At this point in time, Himmler was
the leader of the SS, the Schutzstaffel.

The smaller paramilitary SS
is below Röhm's much larger SA.

So Röhm and Himmler
are competing in some way.

To distance himself
from the SA,

which is widely decried as homosexual,

he plans to forge this SS
into an elite organization.

For him, that includes that its members
should ideally be blond and blue-eyed.

So he invariably seems to consider
external criteria

to be an ostensible proof
of "good Aryan blood".

Gottfried von Cramm
becomes a star during those years.

After two extremely close games,

the German champion tears a muscle,

and from then on
cannot really resist Perry.

Gottfried started
playing tennis at the age of ten,

and at 13 he decided that he would become
the best tennis player in the world.

The moment he gets to Berlin,

he immediately joins
this very famous tennis club, "Rot-Weiß".

And one of its members is Hermann Göring,

the eventual Interior Minister
of the Nazi government.

Gottfried is a handsome man, a tall man.

He has blue eyes, blond hair.

He embodies the prototype of an Aryan.

And he gets prompted early on
to become a member of the Nazi Party.

We know that Gottfried refuses,

and of course over the years that becomes
more and more of a problem.

Of course we don't know any details
about how the meeting comes about.

But we do know that Gottfried
meets a young man,

of a similarly young age as Gottfried.

This young man is called Manasse,
Manasse Herbst.

Gottfried and Manasse certainly come
from very different worlds.

Manasse comes from a Jewish family
in the poor Scheunenviertel.

He's an actor.

But to make ends meet,
he works as a bartender at the Jockey,

a small jazz bar
a few blocks from the Eldorado.

Maybe there was a moment of recognition.

There exists a genuine threat
for homosexual men: Paragraph 175.


The paragraph criminalizes
homosexual relations between men.

But it is tricky in its application

since many courts demand proof
of coital acts.

And that isn't exactly
an easy task for the police.

Instead of actually
busting up bars or conducting raids,

what they do is
they maintain "pink lists."

And these are lists of people that
they suspect or know to be homosexual.

A lot of the time
you didn't know you were on them,

because you never ended up being charged.

But we know that the pink lists eventually
had thousands of names written on them.


But Gottfried possesses
this inner freedom,

that if he falls in love,

he pursues that love.

After their first meeting, Gottfried
and Manasse see each other regularly.

Of course, Lisa knows all about it.

There is no being secretive; instead
it is all being lived out in the open.

What are you doing?

Come here! Come on!

And the three of them
now start a new type of relationship,

that seems to work.

For Lisa, the move to Berlin
is also liberating.

She wants to live independently
and experience herself in a new way.

And she very quickly forms friendships

with the modern women
that this Berlin has created.

With female authors, with female athletes,
with female photographers.

It's important to note,
Lisa also does photography herself.

She's an avid jazz dancer,
she's an avid equestrian,

she plays hockey
and even becomes the German champion.

And this stems from a deeper movement
that began even before the 1920s

where you free yourself

from this "being confined by clothes,
by houses."

So she has this tough way of speaking
and goes her own way.

Relatively quickly, she had affairs,
also with lesbian friends.

She was curious, had a sexual thirst
for adventure that she lived freely.

♪ You do something to me ♪

♪ Something that simply mystifies me ♪

♪ Tell me, why should it be ♪

♪ You have the power to hypnotize me ♪

The relationship
between Gottfried and Lisa

is characterized by this
almost endless trust in each other,

that whatever one does, it is okay.

♪ ...so well, oh you ♪


So it's the spring of 1932.

Hitler's running
in the presidential election.

The Nazis are running
in the Parliamentary election.

Shortly before they seize power,

the Nazis once again significantly
increased their street terror.

There were massive street fights
with fatal casualties.

The purpose behind all of this

was to attempt to demonstrate
the instability of democracy.

And they presented themselves
as the part of law and order

that, after winning the election,

would once again restore security,
order and peace.


It is not so much fear

that the people associate with the Nazis

but the hope for a reinvigorated Germany

and the promise of a golden future.

Hello, good evening.

So Charlotte, Toni
and another woman,

Dorchen Richter,
they have their surgeries now.

And they are only three examples
that we know

had gender reassignment surgery
at the Institute

and survived those surgeries initially.

These surgeries
and these different procedures

were incredibly risky,
they were very experimental.

These were some of the first times

when multiple surgeries were being
performed on humans in history.

People would want to come to this place

precisely because
there was no other alternative.

So its renown was global.

Charlotte and Toni
must feel a huge amount of relief

that they were able to access surgeries
while those surgeries were possible.

Now, having had the surgeries,

they feel much more content
in their gender

and more solidified in their femininity.

Charlotte frequently proclaims

that the surgery has made her
the happiest she's ever been.

I can't think
of another piece of film from this time

where you see not just one trans person,

but multiple trans people together,

really quite happy and joyful.

In Germany at this time,

if one of the drag acts at the Eldorado

walks out the door still in drag,

they can be arrested
for causing a public disturbance.

This means that most trans people
aren't able to live as themselves

without facing police repression.

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute

come up with a negotiated solution
with the police,

which is to provide these people

walking papers or the "trans pass."


Basically an ID card
that indicates to police:

You shouldn't arrest this person because
they're under the care of a doctor.

And they are legally entitled
to move through the public

dressed as the gender they identify with.

This is the first time in the world

that there's legal recognition
for trans people's genders.

And now people like Charlotte and Toni,

they can walk freely, carrying this pass,

without worrying
that a policeman is going to stop them

and say, "you're doing something illegal."

Queer and trans people
can live in the light, in public.

And it happens right here in Berlin.

A few years later I went to Budapest

to spend my Easter holidays there

and I stayed with Lumpi,
in the Andrássy út,

I don't remember the street number,
near the opera.

During that first visit,
we were up to so many shenanigans.

They didn't have a real bathroom.

They had this,
what we in Vienna called a lavor.

His mom would fill it with water

and put us both, naked,
into this bathtub, see?

And as Lumpi saw me, he got a boner.

As he saw me naked. I did notice it.

But we didn't touch each other sexually.

But I was always very flustered.

In the early 30s,

Hitler tries to come to power through
legal means

by using as much propaganda as possible
to get people's votes

and to take over parliament
in order to then destroy it from within.

The Nazis' biggest enemies

in some sense are the social democrats
and the communists.

And the social democrats
need to come up with a campaign,

something to do to try to stop the Nazis
from coming to power.



Social democratic journalists
get their hands on copies

of Röhm's letters to Dr. Heimsoth

and publish what they call
"the love letters of Ernst Röhm."

about Hitler's chief mercenary."

"Welt am Sonntag is publishing a letter
by Lieutenant Colonel Ret. Röhm"

An enormous scandal is made of this.

The social democrats really think
that they have their silver bullet here

that's going to help them
win back some elements of this base.

In March of 1932,
as the scandal is breaking,

Hitler gets 30 percent of the vote
in the presidential election,

which is a whole lot.

In July of 1932, after the scandal
has been raging for a few months,

he gets 37 percent of the vote.

And so you can see,
the scandal didn't work.

It's kind of a failed political tactic.

Same sex!

I think if you're Röhm,

when this breaks in the newspapers,
you're probably terrified.

When it doesn't have an effect

and the Party still cruises to this
victory in the elections, its first ever,

you feel vindicated.

And even more importantly,
you feel really unstoppable.

fellow members of the German Nation.

On January 30th,

the die has been cast in Germany.

And I do not believe

that the enemies who were laughing back
then are still laughing today.



- Sieg!
- Heil!

On January 30th, 1933,
Hitler is appointed chancellor.


Hitler becomes
the Führer of his totalitarian regime.

The Nazi ideology
has no use at all anymore

for determining your life individually.

Instead everything is only ever subject
to a higher idea.

Every individual
in this national community

has to defer to this higher purpose.

The Nazis are enormously invested

in ideas of racial and social
and sexual health and hygiene.

And that, of course, means producing
racially pure and healthy babies.

Anything that gets in the way
of growing the population

is bad and a threat to the nation.

Shortly before the Nazis even seize power,

the Eldorado is closed down.

No farewells, no send-off.

And the queer community loses
one of its most important ports of call.

A lot of the people
that were employed by the Eldorado

had a lot of their protections
taken away from them

as well as job opportunities.

And then, to go from bad to worse,

the Eldorado is used
as advertising space for the Nazis.



It must have caused
people's blood to run cold

to think that you could go so far
in the extreme opposite direction

in the same building.

The Eldorado is closed

and all of the social spaces
that had flourished for ten years before,

disappear almost overnight.

People are still queer but
they haven't got the same kind of venues

where they can meet with each other.

They have to do this
in a much more secretive way.

In 1933,

the life that Gottfried and Manasse
had led also changes drastically.

Manasse very quickly loses
all his theater engagements

because as a Jew he is no longer allowed
to work in the theater.

He realizes very early on
that he is no longer safe in Germany.

Everyone is aware
that the situation is quickly escalating.

More and more, the relationship
is overshadowed by the question,

how can Manasse safely get out of Germany?

But Gottfried wants to play tennis.

And if that means
he has to play tennis in Nazi Germany,

then he will play for Germany.

The pressure is mounting.

He has a romantic relationship
with a homosexual Jew.

But at the same time
his popularity also grows,

both nationally and internationally.

And maybe he's thinking
that as long as he keeps winning,

the regime can't touch him.

And with Cramm's decision to play
for Germany, there was no other option.

Despite the Nazis
having already come into power in '33,

Charlotte and Toni
felt comfortable going outside,

presenting themselves on the street,

having photographs taken

and even talking to a journalist
really openly about themselves.

Everything seems to be okay.

You could still go to the Institute

Charlotte is deeply enmeshed
within Hirschfeld and his circle.

She provides advice to new trans people

who don't even know
how to pick out dresses.

She helps people get access to housing.

Charlotte and Toni
are finally living lives

and not just completing a medical process.

Magnus Hirschfeld
meanwhile is on a tour of the world.

While he can't make public appearances
in Germany anymore,

he's still being celebrated

He's already notorious

for being the Jew
who's effeminizing Germany

and seducing the youth into homosexuality.

So he's really Nazi enemy number one.

Charlotte and Toni
are starting to feel the heat.

The two of them make a decision
to leave the Institute.

They move into a squalid one-room flat
elsewhere in Berlin.

These two women

develop such strong feelings to each other

that Toni converts to Judaism.

I find it hard to believe

that anyone would be
converting to Judaism at this time

if they didn't really
love the person they were with.

After they've left,
this is when the Institute is attacked.

On the morning of May 6th, 1933,

a group of Nazi students
ransack the Institute.

Nazi youths pull down all the shelves,
they throw ink all over the research.

They destroy the library,
they destroy the rooms.

This includes some 20,000 books.

They take pictures of themselves

gleefully destroying
everything Magnus Hirschfeld has built.

This must be one of
the most devastating experiences

in Hirschfeld's life.

Hirschfeld is not at the Institute
when it's attacked.

He is in Paris.

There are still employees at the
Institute when the attack happens,

like Dorchen Richter.

The Institute was her home
and place of work and it was destroyed.

And from what we know, she might have
been destroyed along with it.

I consign to the flames
the writings of Heinrich Mann,

Ernst Glaeser, Erich Kästner.

I consign to the flames the writings
of the School of Sigmund Freud

Four days later,
at the infamous book burning,

books from the Institute
are burned on the Opernplatz.

There's even a photograph

of one of Hirschfeld's busts
being carried to the flames.

These photos

are deeply terrifying to look at to me.

Because they are actively trying

to destroy all evidence

that queer and trans people exist.

Once the Nazis are in power,

this also dismantles
a lot of the opportunities

that were within Germany
at the time for gender expression,

for playing with gender.

Women are meant to be
in the domestic sphere at home.

They're meant
to bear children for the country.

And men are meant
to kind of embody masculine virility

and be able to go to war.

So this experimental,

tolerant period is now over.

And it's been replaced
with very, very rigid gender roles.

In September of 1933, Karl Ernst,

who's one of Röhm's top deputies

and who he met in gay nightclubs,

very suddenly marries a woman.

The two best men at this wedding
are Röhm and Hermann Göring,

who's Hitler's Minister of the Interior.

They walk down the aisle
behind the bride and groom,

flanked by rows and rows of SA officers.

You can imagine why it might be
very strategically useful for Röhm

to put on a big public show

and have a major SA officer
like Karl Ernst marrying a woman,

as if to say,
"No, no. These are all just rumors,

these paramilitaries have nothing to do
with dirty or impure homosexuality."

In January of 1934,

Röhm receives
a very warm personal letter from Hitler.

"I feel compelled to thank you,
my dear Ernst Röhm,

for the imperishable services

and to assure you
how very grateful I am to fate

that I am able to call such men as you
my friends and fellow combatants."

"In true friendship and grateful regard.
Your Adolf Hitler."

After getting this letter, Röhm
is confident enough to demand, openly,

that he be made Minister of Defense.

And he be made minister in such a way

that would take
the 100,000 strong German Army

and fold it into the SA
and put all of that under his command.

At the beginning of 1934,

the SA has reached
its highest member count

with approximately 4.5 million members.

It has become something that
is increasingly causing Hitler problems.

And the idea of Röhm
running the German military

horrifies conservatives in the German Army

who had enabled and gone along
with the Nazis' rise to power,

but did not want to go along
with losing their titles,

with losing their roles in this hierarchy.

And so this had to be stopped.

It seems to
Heinrich Himmler that the moment has come

to lead his SS out of the shadow
of Ernst Röhm and his SA

and to expand his own position of power.

Röhm's opponents
in the Nazi movement,

like Himmler,

begin to propagate the idea that Röhm
is planning to actually take over,

depose Hitler
and pursue his own further revolution.

They end up succeeding
in convincing Hitler

that this threat is imminent
and he really has to act.

And Röhm's sexuality became a tool
that they could try to use to stop him.

So it's the summer of 1934.

Hitler invites Röhm
and the other top SA lieutenants

to take a well-deserved break
on the Tegernsee in Bavaria.

And these guys are having a great time
during these summer days.

And so you can see,
Röhm is not off in this lake

planning a takeover.

He thinks he's on vacation.

It's early in the morning
on June 30th, 1934.

Ernst Röhm is asleep in his hotel room.

But Hitler and Goebbels
are on their way to Bavaria.

So Hitler immediately goes to this hotel
on Lake Tegernsee.

And together with this SS troop

personally bursts through the door
of Röhm's bedroom.

When he gets into the room,
he accuses Röhm of treason.

Get dressed!

At this point,
Röhm is maybe confused,

thinking this is all
some kind of misunderstanding.

A lot of the other top SA men
and Röhm are arrested

and brought to the Stadelheim prison
in Munich.

Six of these men
are shot immediately on the spot.

Two days later Hitler decided

to make Röhm the offer
that he should shoot himself.

Röhm's response was,

"If I'm going to be killed,
then let Adolf do it himself."

Only after Röhm refuses to kill himself

is he shot dead by two SS captains.

On June 30th and the following two days,

a total of around 90 people are shot,

around 1,000 people are arrested.

Among them aren't only Ernst Röhm
and some of his SA men,

but political opponents
and members of parliament.

It is the regime's
first state-sanctioned mass murder.

The public had been told

that all of these people
were planning a coup against Hitler,

but that wasn't necessarily a story
that people were going to believe.

welcomed the SA murders,

saying that the sexual debauchery inside
the SA had recently increased so much

that it supposedly damaged
the reputation of National Socialism.


Hitler gives a speech which reads,
and I quote,

"I would especially like every mother
to be able to offer her son to the SA,

the Party or the Hitler Youth

without the fear that he might become
morally or sexually depraved."

"I want to see men as SA officers
and not disgusting apes."

It was a huge, a huge scandal.

It was on the front page
of every newspaper.

I gave the order to shoot

the chief culprits of this treason,

and I gave the order to burn out these
ulcers of our internal well poisoning

and the poisoning from foreign countries.

I must have heard it on the radio,

because I have a very clear memory
of that moment

that I found out what happened there.

It, it frightened you.

No matter if you were homosexual
or not homosexual.

As a human
It could have happened to anyone.

And it showed who Hitler was.

Due to the SS
committing the murders of the SA,

Himmler has once again clearly proven
his loyalty to Hitler.

And Hitler thanks him
by satisfying Himmler's wish

and separating the SS from the SA.

It is now directly under Hitler's command.

Which is what Heinrich Himmler
had wanted all along.

This ultimately creates the basis
of Himmler's rise and career.

After the Röhm murders,

he bit by bit takes over the leadership of
the political police in all German states

until he eventually becomes both
chief of the whole of the German police

as well as Reich leader
of the SS and Gestapo.

Heinrich Himmler becomes the leader

of the fight against homosexuality.

His goal is to eradicate homosexuality.

tears down any accomplishment

and destroys the state
in its very foundation."

"For only the nation
that has a great many children

has an entitlement
to world power and world domination."

has to be combated at all costs,

otherwise it will be the end of Germany,
the end of the Germanic world."

It is the sword of the revolution

that the only enemy
no longer causing damage

is the one who is dead
and who is annihilated.

The pink lists
previously compiled by the police

now not only fall into the hands
of the German police,

but also the hands of the Gestapo.

There is then a wave of persecution
and sentencing like never seen before.

Gay men are persecuted
directly through paragraph 175.

But trans people and lesbians are also
persecuted under the Nazi regime,

but through more indirect
and complicated ways.

They could be targeted
by being called "asozial"

or for not fitting
into the Volksgemeinschaft.

Many, I think,
were also surprised

by how quickly the police stepped in,

how quickly you ended up in court.

They don't yet know
how to protect themselves.

They have address books at home

that suddenly turn up
as evidence in court.

Denunciations are expressly encouraged.

And the German people deliver.

Neighbors monitor if you get a visitor

and pull the bedroom curtains closed.

Neighbors make statements on
women wearing pants and looking lesbian.

So the police are called upon
to remove these individuals

that one no longer wants to tolerate
within Nazi Germany.

Thus you see between 1933 and 1936,

Manasse tries again and again
to find a place where he can keep living,

a place outside Germany.

And they try to meet up,
whether it be in Berlin

or in cities where Gottfried plays tennis,

in order to be able
to keep seeing each other.

It must have been very, very exhausting
and also very oppressive.

They are young lovers after all.

And that easiness
suddenly changes to this intense,

"How can I get out of here?
How can I get to safety?"

And there is one last meeting.

And for many years, that is the last night
they can spend with each other.

Gottfried transfers prize money
he won in various tournaments to Manasse,

so that in early 1936 Manasse is able
to emigrate to Palestine and be safe.

He also loses Lisa that same year
because Lisa files for divorce.

We know from her later letters
that she often regretted this step,

but is also convinced

that she couldn't exist

alongside this huge love
that Gottfried has for tennis.

She says that if she had continued
to live this life with him,

she would have had to give up
everything important to her.

Because there was barely room
for her anymore.

One of the biggest tennis matches
in Gottfried von Cramm's career

is the 1937 Davis Cup at Wimbledon

against his American opponent,
Donald Budge.

At this time, Gottfried is one of
the most popular athletes in the world.

The Nazi regime expects
their tennis player,

the German player, to win.

There are 15,000 spectators,
Queen Mary herself

and part of the global public watching.

There had never been
anything quite like it.

And to this day,

this match is remembered as one of
the greatest games of tennis of all time.

There is an anecdote by Donald Budge

that Gottfried had a call
shortly before the match,

supposedly from Hitler,

threatening him that
if he did not win this match,

they could no longer protect him.

Wimbledon finals,

where the big men's championship match

sees Baron von Cramm,
German Davis Cup ace,

serve to California's Donald Budge,

Wimbledon Champion
and this year's unbeatable Yankee.

Budge in the near court.


A match unfolds
where it looks for the most part

as if Gottfried would be the winner.

Advantage von Cramm.

Quiet, please.

Budge now in the far court.

At the very end,
in the fifth set,

he ends up losing eight to six

and does what he has
also become famous for,

he honors the victor.

My dear Don, I want to congratulate you
on your splendid playing.

I think you deserve to win
every championship in the world now.

But I'll do what I can to prevent that.

You're such a grand sportsman.

That is very kind of you, my dear Donald.
Thanks very much indeed.

That delighted the audience.

And everyone understood
that this tennis player,

while he might play for Nazi Germany,
is not identical with Nazi Germany.

Which then poses the question:

does that still serve the regime?

After the defeat,
Gottfried goes on a tour of the world

where he rushes from one tennis tournament
to the next.

At a press conference,

he is asked what he thinks about
the persecution of Jews in Germany.

And he clearly states
that he does not agree with it.

So he makes no bones about his distaste
for National Socialism,

which means he puts himself
in more and more danger.



The Austrians became Nazis overnight.

He had 400,000 people at Heldenplatz

cheering for him.

As Führer
and Chancellor

of the German Nations of the Reich,

I now declare before German history,

the accession of my homeland
to the German Reich!

Heil! Heil!


When you went out into the street,

the whole city was full of these posters:
"Jews banned."

There were posters everywhere you looked.


But I still went out into the street.

I really was just wandering the city.

Suddenly I see a crowd of people.

And there's my Aunt Gretel on her knees,

made to clean the pavement
with a toothbrush.


The day after Hitler came here,
this letter comes in a blue envelope.

"Dear Walter,

Since you visited me, everything
has become so dreadful in Budapest."

"You wouldn't recognize it anymore."

"I also hear dreadful things
out of Vienna."

"How are you? Are you safe?"

"My parents have to give up the business,
even though we converted."

"They're trying
to get us out of the country."

"But we have no family or close friends."

"Except you."

"The Nazis are ever-present everywhere and
I am very scared."

"Can you help us somehow?"

"What will you do?"

"If you go,

please take me with you
and write to me quickly."

"Your Lumpi."

It was a desperate letter.

But I didn't answer the letter
because I...

At the time the letter arrived,

we were already in a very, very precarious
situation in Vienna.

And then, that night,

they came into our apartment
at two in the morning

and took my father

and sent him to Dachau.

It was terrible.
How could I have helped him?


That was the end of Lumpi for me.

Blessed are You, Lord our God,
Ruler of the universe.

who has sanctified us with His good deeds,

and commanded us
to light a candle for the Sabbath.

During the nights
of the 9th and 10th of November, 1938,

the Pogrom takes place
in the entire Reich.

It was long called
the Night of Broken Glass,

downplaying its severity.

During those nights,
synagogues burn all over Germany.

Jewish stores as well as homes

are looted, robbed and destroyed.

Many, many Jews are arrested,
and sent to concentration camps.

It must be an incredibly
anxious time for Charlotte and Toni.

They make the decision
to flee to Czechoslovakia

where they think it might be safer.

For now.

It's a cold March

when Gottfried returns
from his six-month world tour.

And on the first evening back,

he sits down with his mother
and his brothers for supper.

There was a dinner in Brüggen,
where everyone came together.

And then suddenly,
like knock, knock, knock on heaven's door.

Grandma went out
and returned all pale, saying,

"Gottfried, they're asking for you."

It was two Gestapo officers,
they immediately took him with them.

And so he was in prison.

The arrest| was really
theatrically staged.

They could just have written a letter
telling him to come to the police station.

But I think the Nazi regime
pretty deliberately chose

to do this very publicly.

On May 14th, 1938,

Gottfried is sentenced to one year
in prison for violation of Paragraph 175.

The basis for that is his five-year
relationship with Manasse Herbst.

"We had to consider the aggravating factor

that the accused
engaged in homosexual activity

so quickly after his wedding."

"But most egregious was that the accused,

with his standing in German sports

with his world-renowned name
and his overall position,

didn't shy away from engaging

in homosexual intercourse
with a Galician Jew."

It's lucky that Manasse
had already left Germany at that time.

Or he would not have survived that.

During the period
of the Third Reich,

it's estimated that 100,000 men

were charged
under the German anti-gay law.

Some 50,000, it's estimated,

were successfully prosecuted.

Somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000

perished in concentration camps.

From the beginning,

concentration camps
were an instrument of Nazi terror.

Prisoners marked as homosexual

faced particular cruelty

and rarely experienced solidarity
from other prisoner groups.


Homosexuals have to wear a pink triangle.


They are forced to do hard labor

under the harshest,
most terrible conditions.

The rations are disastrous,

so that many, many of the prisoners

die from the unspeakable conditions
of imprisonment.

Some of them are abused in medical trials,

not all of them survive.

There's also the option to get castrated

with the offer or the promise

that you get to leave
the concentration camp afterwards.

However, we know from various documents

that a lot of them were not released
despite that.

Many prisoners
who were accused of homosexuality,

often based on denunciations,

don't survive imprisonment in the camps.

Their prosecution
reaches its peak between 1937 and 1939,

Immediately before Hitler
starts the war against Europe.

It's not like the genocide of Jews.

The Nazis don't think
that they need to kill all homosexuals.

What they want to do
is eliminate homosexuality.

In 1941,
Hitler puts Heinrich Himmler in charge

of the so-called
"final solution of the Jewish question."

That means Heinrich Himmler is tasked

with the order to exterminate
German and European Jews.

In Czechoslovakia,
the Aliens Police come for Charlotte.

She gets arrested

while Charlotte and Toni are celebrating
their 10-year anniversary.

And she is about to be interned
in a concentration camp.

Toni panics.
And she runs to the Swiss Consul.

And alerts the authorities to the fact
that Charlotte is actually American.

Eventually Charlotte is put
on a boat and sent to New York City.

Toni thought on her feet about
how to get her out of the situation.

Otherwise she would have
been sent to an extermination camp.

It separates them
for the rest of their life.

They never see each other again.

I searched for Lumpi all my life.

I wanted to know where he was,
what had happened to him.

Only now have I seen this pictures.

And only now has it all come out.

He was in a labor camp
and starved to death.

It was terrible to me
that he died like that.

Not only... The only thing you can say
is that he didn't deserve that.



And what do I see?

This, this large stone, the photograph
of this large stone that says,

"Fülöp Loránt", 24 years old or maybe 25.


In Vienna you say
that there's a lot to verkiefeln.

It's something you can never accept
if you can't verkiefeln something.


I'm glad that if Lumpi
is remembered by history,

I did my very small part in that.

Not knowing what happened to a loved one

is unfortunately very common
for many Jewish victims.

For many of them we learn only much later
or sometimes never at all

where they were murdered.

Homosexual survivors want to,
but can't share their stories.

It's too dangerous.

After 1945,

the state-sponsored
persecution of homosexuals

is not recognized as an injustice.

West Germany
adopts the Nazi Paragraph 175.

Society considers homosexuals
to be criminals and perverts.

Families remain silent,
historians don't ask questions.

The persecution continues.


In 1951, Gottfried tries, incidentally
like many other homosexuals as well,

to have the conviction
according to Paragraph 175

deleted from his record.

Without an expungement,

he can't receive a visa to be able

to participate in tennis tournaments in
the US, Great Britain or France.

There is a trial

for which Manasse Herbst
also returns to Germany

for the first time in 1951.

That means he returns to the country
that had wanted to kill him.

And it is the first reunion
between Gottfried and Manasse.

Lisa is also questioned.

She confirms the relationship
between Manasse and Gottfried.

For one moment, they fearlessly rebuild

on the freedom
that they lived in the late 20s.

And all that in the extremely conservative
50s in a German court.

Like for other convicted homosexuals,

Gottfried's expungement is denied.

He can't get a visa
for the most important tennis tournaments.

He does win other tournaments
in countries where he's admitted,

but the really important ones
he can't play in,

exactly because he has a previous criminal
conviction under Nazi Paragraph 175.

I emigrated to the US

and have lived here since 1939, happily.

I became a composer
and have spent my whole life composing.

I met someone in 1959, I believe it was.

His name is Howard Myers.

Thank you.

I have no idea why you buy
such a huge cup of coffee.

The truth was, we were shameless.

We didn't feel any shame.

We went to dinners
with six married couples and us.

I wasn't shameless because I never doubted

that I'm able to do
what I'm setting out to do.

Walter did live for me.

He did everything for me
in our first decades,

when we were younger.

And now he's 100 years old,

and only in the last 15 years

has he needed me to do anything for him.

Okay, it says, "The city of West
Hollywood marriage certificate."

"This certifies
that Walter Arlen and Howard Myers

were lawfully wedded
on the second day of July 2013."

It didn't change anything.

It was just a quiet satisfaction.

He wouldn't have anybody
to quarrel with without me.

Charlotte spends
the rest of her life in Brooklyn.

She ends up becoming an actress.

But even though she's separated from Toni,

she creates new friendships
among the artistic community.

And a lot of them don't know
that she ever was trans.

She even managed
to get her US documents

to certify that she was a woman
with a feminine name.

And this was really important to her

as it cemented
her kind of legitimate female identity.

I think about
what I would do in that situation.

Do I need to flee?
You know, where would I go?

After the war,
Toni is able to return to Berlin

where she lives out the rest of her life
as a painter and an artist.

We can see this period
in the 20s, a hundred years ago,

as really exemplifying
how fragile some of these liberties are.

Even today with the kind of progress

that has happened for queer rights
and even trans rights,

that you can have these liberties
and they can be taken away from you.



The Eldorado's final venue
is now a very fancy organic supermarket.

You can go to the place
where people used to watch drag shows

and buy expensive avocados.

I think the queer life in Berlin

had to completely reinvent itself.

And that has worked out pretty well

when you look at how queer life in Berlin
is really thriving

and how multifaceted
and diverse it has become.

But drawing on something?

I don't think we could draw on anything.

For a long time,

we didn't even know anything
about the persecution of homosexuals.

And in that sense, today's queer Berlin

certainly isn't a...

a continuation in any shape or form
of the 1920s.

That really was lost.

No names. No memory. Nothing.