After almost 80 years following the destruction of the Institute for Sexual Research, and around 50 years after the shameful end of a "reparation" procedure, and after almost 30 years of work by the Magnus Hirschfeld Society with any number of fruitless go-rounds in the German Bundestag - we have finally done it! On August 31, 2011, the federal cabinet agreed to the establishment of a "Bundesstiftung Magnus Hirschfeld" (Magnus Hirschfeld National Foundation).
According to the bylaws, the tasks and goals are the following:
"(1) [...] The promotion of education and of scholarship and research, in particular
1. to maintain the memory of the National Socialist persecution of homosexuals,
2. to do academic research and to portray the life and work of Magnus Hirschfeld as well as the social world of homosexual men and women who have lived and continue to live
3. to oppose societal discrimination against homosexual men and women in Germany.
(2) The goals of the bylaws will come into being in particular through
1. the initiation and promotion of educational work and the construction of an appropriate network,
2. academic cooperation with universities and educational and research institutions,
3. in-house scientific research and the stimulation and promotion of scientific research and its publication,
4. the collection, documentation, and scientific evaluation of materials and eyewitness reports, and
5. the presentation of exhibitions, academic meetings, discussion forums, and similar events.
The goal of the bylaws according to Section 1 Sentence 2 Number 3 will be carried out through focused measures according to Sentence 1 Number 1."
The pre-history of this foundation can be well understood by references on this Website.
Click on the links below for some excerpts:
Many of these tasks have been undertaken by the Magnus Hirschfeld Society since its founding in 1982-83, for the most part voluntarily and without compensation.
- We can secure in our library and archive the few still existing holdings from the prior Institute for Sexual Research and documents from Hirschfeld's life.
- Our journal, Mitteilungen der Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft, continually report about research results on the history of sexual science and on the history of the persecution of homosexuals.
- We present our research reports regularly at meetings and conventions at home and abroad, in exhibitions, and through publication of various writings and books.
We anticipate that the Foundation will make use of the expertise now available at the Magnus Hirschfeld Society and will contribute to the preservation of this work.
The Foundation has been set up with assets of 10 million euros. The Federal Ministry of Justice has been empowered to increase the setup by another 5 million euros from budget surpluses, but it remains to be seen whether that will occur. Since only the yield may be used, there will be a maximum of 350,000 euros per year available, assuming a 3.5% interest rate. From this money, all personnel and administrative costs must be paid, including the salary of the planned full-time director rent, travel costs for committees, etc. It would be disastrous if a large part of the money now finally available for research and education were to be spent for administrative costs. We expect to keep a close watch on the salary of the management board. The projects promoted by the Foundation have been carried out in the past 30 years under difficult economic conditions. For that reason, it would not be appropriate for the Foundation to have a salary equivalent to that of a senior governmental official.
The Magnus Hirschfeld Society thanks all those people who in the past 30 years have taken part in maintaining the memory of Magnus Hirschfeld, of the Institute for Sexual Research, and of persecuted homosexual women and men. The "Bundesstiftung Magnus Hirschfeld" is an important step forward; now we have to make it come alive.
The Magnus Hirschfeld Society will appoint one of the 8 members of the advisory board; we are not represented on the board of trustees, which will make decisions about the distribution of funds.