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Squire Jacob Anton Schorer
(1866 - 1957) Holland

Jacob Schorer

Lawyer and activist


Schorer was born into a patrician family from Zealand. He studied law in Leyden and became a lawyer and judge in Middelburg. In 1903, he left his home town to study sexual sciences with Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin, Inspired by German examples, he published an article on homosexuality in a Dutch law journal.

He went to live in The Hague, where he would lead the movement against the proposal for a new criminal law which forbade same-sex relations between adults and minors under 21 years. He founded in 1911 the Nederlandsch Wetenschappelijk Humanitair Komitee (NWHK = Dutch Scientific Humanitarian Committee). Shorer also collected one of the most important homosexual libraries in the world. Its contents have been printed in a catalogue with several supplements.

As soon as the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, Schorer decided to dissolve the NWHK and destroy the records and all correspondence. Shortly thereafter the Germans confiscated his library. After the war, efforts to retrieve the library or to get financial compensation were unsuccessful and remain so to this day. Schorer died as a nearly forgotten pioneer of homosexual emancipation in a provincial town where even nowadays gay life is largely absent.


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001 - et alii

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