Institut für deutsche Literatur

Hirschfeld’s Legacy: Investigating the Deeds of Foundation

Hirschfeld’s Legacy: Investigating the Deeds of Foundation


When Magnus Hirschfeld established a foundation in 1919 as the basis for his establishment of the Institute of Sexology, he instructed: “In the event that the foundation […] should be dissolved, its assets shall pass to the University of Berlin or, if the latter declines to accept the assets, to another university.” These circumstances arose in 1933 when the Institute was raided and shut down by the Nazis on 6 May 1933. The University of Berlin rejected the bequest at this time.

Our Research Centre has transcribed the deed of foundation. Based on this transcription, Ralf Dose was working on a publication which asserts the document’s importance and provides a commentary on it and its place within the history of the Institute. Alongside this project, we aimed to document the efforts of the Humboldt University since the 1980s to draw on Berlin’s lost research tradition, to commemorate Hirschfeld’s Institute, and to assume responsibility for the historical legacy of Berlin’s sexological tradition.

The project was financially supported by the Humboldt University Foundation.

Aktendeckel der Stiftungsakte m.f.G. Landesarchiv Berlin

File cover of the foundation file with the kind approval of the Berlin State Archive