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In Gay Berlin, Robert Beachy describes the rise of a gay subculture in the s and '30s, how it contributed to our understanding of gay identity and how it was eradicated by the Nazis. I'm Terry Gross. More specifically, it's about gay Berlin, the gay subculture that flourished in Berlin in the era between World War I and the rise of the Nazis, when there were nightclubs and cabarets that catered to a gay clientele, gay-themed theater and films and gay-oriented publications that were sold at kiosks.
Gay prostitution flourished too, so did black male. This relatively open gay culture attracted English writers and artists, including Christopher Isherwood, whose stories were adapted into the musical "Cabaret. Beachy is now writing a follow-up book about homosexuality in Nazi Germany. Robert Beachy is an associate professor of history at Goucher College in Baltimore.
My impression from your book is that the gay subculture in Berlin not only included, you know, like, clubs and bars, but there were gay movies. There were gay publications that were sold at kiosks, which is, you know, kind of remarkable for the s. I think there probably had never been anything like this before and there was no culture as open again until the s. So it's really not until after Stonewall that one sees this sort of open expression of gay identity or homosexual identity - lesbian identity.
And you're absolutely right. I mean, there was this proliferation of publications that started almost immediately after the founding of the Weimar Republic and it continued really right down to until the Nazi seizure of power. So I think it's really important to emphasize these publications because they were sort of the substrate, in a certain way, of this culture.
They advertised all sorts of events, different kinds of venues and they also attracted advertisers who were really appealing to a gay and lesbian constituency, and that's also really startling, I think.