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March 7th

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Heinz Dörmer

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Name Heinz Dörmer
Date of Birth 1912 Place of Birth Berlin, Germany
DoermerHeinz Dörmer spent his early years in church-related youth groups. Dörmer was 10 when he joined the German Youth Movement in 1922. By 15, he was living the wild life in Berlin's gay bars and discovered a passion for theater -- and actors.

In 1929, he founded his own youth group, the so-called "Wolfsring" (ring of wolves), and in 1931 he was officially recognized as a "youth leader." The work in the group connected many of Heinz's interests: amateur theater performances, and travel. Heinz Dormer remembers being part of a youth movement that spawned a generation of idealistic young Germans proclaiming a romantic, sensual, physical vision of the world. He tells of having sex with some boys in his group, In 1932, Heinz was promoted and worked on the Scout movement at the national level.

Doermer1933 - 1945: When the Nazis started to force all independent youth groups into the Hitler Youth movement, Heinz and his group tried to stay independent. In October, 1933, however, they capitulated to brute force, and joined the Hitler Youth.

In April, 1935, Heinz was accused of homosexual activities with members of his troop. Thus began a series of arrests for violations of § 175, Germany's anti-sodomy law, and incarcerations in concentration camps and prisons for the next two decades. Heinz describes the "singing forest" - the screams of prisoners hung from trees in the forest as their captors prolonged their agonizing final moments.

DoermerAfter the war, he was once again put in prison, for being a homosexual. After his last release in 1963, he returned to Berlin to live with his father, who died in 1970. Throughout the years Heinz follwed the discussions about homosexual persecution during the Nazi regime. In 1982, he applied for reparations from the German government. His application was rejected.

Heinz, who now lives in Berlin, is featured in Paragraph 175 a documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 2000.

Notes Pictures (from top to bottom):
Heinz Dörmer
Heinz in 1928, age 18, with his troop. (Photo courtesy of Schwules Museum, Berlin)
Heinz on a camping trip in 1931 with friend Werner Henneberg(left to right) , who died in a concentration camp
Heinz in recent times

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