Foundation: German Bishops’ Conference must dissociate from archbishop Müller

The Federal Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld criticizes archbishop Gerhard L. Müller for stating in the German newspaper DIE WELT that criticism of the Catholic Church can be compared to the Holocaust and is like a “pogrom climate” against the Catholic Church.

Jörg Litwinschuh, Chair of the Federal Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld, says: “We ask the German Bishops’ Conference to clearly dissociate from Mr. Müller’s statement. Comparing justified criticism of the Catholic Church – e.g. of the slow progress in dealing with the sex abuse cases or the Church’s discrimination of same-sex couples and LGBTI families – with a pogrom climate is intolerable and should be regarded as an attempt to falsify history.”

The Federal Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld investigates die persecution and repression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and supports educational programmes against discrimination in schools, companies and in society. In remembrance of the 80th anniversary of 1933 when Hitler came to power, the foundation hosted a workshop on Friday February 1st in co-operation with the Institute of Contemporary History Munich (IfZ): more than 20 renamed scientists, who investigate the persecution and repression of LGBTI people e.g. in Germany and Austria from 1933-1945 and from 1949-1969, followed the invitation and appeared in the Berlin section of the IfZ. The lectures and discussions made it clear that the infamous role e.g. of the Catholic Church during the “Third Reich” and in the early times of the German Federal Republic needs further investigation. New York-based historian Prof. Dr. Dagmar Herzog for example already demonstrated in the first volume of the “Hirschfeld Lectures”, how huge the influence of the Catholic Church was on the homophobic and discriminatory policy in Germany from 1933 to the 1950s.

Magnus Hirschfeld, after whom the foundation has been named, was a Jew, a socialist and gay. His famous “Institute for Sexology” in Berlin was the first institution that was destroyed by Nazis on 6th May, 1933. Parts of the unique library were burned on the Bebelplatz on 10th May, 1933, thus destroying the liberal movement within sexology. On May 5th, 2013, the Federal Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld holds a commemoration event in Berlin in remembrance of the 80th anniversary of the institute’s looting by the Nazis.

On 4th July, 2013, the Federal Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld presents a lecture on the topic “Homosexuality and Religion” at the Cologne Pride festival. Participants in the discussion will be: Rabbi Prof. Dr. Walter Homolka (Head of Abraham Geiger College, Potsdam), Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauer (University of Münster, Head of Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies), Dr. Bertold Höcker (Superintendent of the Protestant Church, District Berlin Stadtmitte) and Jesuit priest Klaus Mertes (Director of the Catholic college St. Blasien) – host: Jan Feddersen (journalist, Berlin newspaper “die tageszeitung”).