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Commemorative Stamp for Magnus Hirschfeld

by our Editors in History & Politics , 06 september 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar


Last July, Deutsche Post issued a special stamp on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) as the founder of the first LGBTI organization in the world. This is the very first time Deutsche Post issued a seal with an LGBTI theme.

The special Magnus Hirschfeld commemorative stamp is - in addition to the publication of his biography - one of the highlights of the celebration of the Hirschfeld Jubilee Year 2018/2019 organized by the Bundesstiftung Magnus Hirschfeld (BMH).

“With this commemorative stamp, the historical significance of our namesake, both future and the past, is expressed in a special way," says BMH board member Jörg Litwinschuh. The stamp was designed by Andrea Voß-Acker on behalf of the German Ministry of Finance.
The Magnus Hirschfeld stamp can be ordered from 12 July onwards at the web shop of Deutsche Post.

Magnus Hirschfeld

German physician and sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) is one of the founders of the modern emancipatory LGBT movement. In 1897 he started to denounce the German penalization of homosexuality on grounds of article 175. Hirschfeld employed the motto ‘Per Scientiam ad Justitiam’ – towards justice through science – as he was convinced that the proper scientific insights could change the negative public opinion about homosexuality.

His Institute for Sexology and the Scientific Humanitarian Committee (WhK) that was founded by him, did pioneering work. In The Netherlands, he inspired Jacob Schorer in founding the Dutch Scientific Humanitarian Committee (Nederlandsch Wetenschappelijk Humanitair Komitee NWHK) (1911), the direct forerunner of the current COC.

Hirschfeld's life work was destroyed by the Nazi’s. On May 6, 1933, his institute in Berlin was plundered by a team of about 100 SA officers. His world-famous and completely unique library collection was taken away and publicly burned a few days later. He was not present to witness this. After the Nazi's took control in 1932, Hirschfeld went into exile, as it was no longer safe to remain in Germany as a Jew, democrat and homosexual. In 1935, Hirschfeld passed away in Nice, France. Shortly afterwards, the Nazi’s made article 175 even more stringent, only to be abolished as late as 1994.

Rainbow Stamps

Even though stamps on LGBT themes have been published in other countries at earlier dates, this commemorative stamp issue is a significant event. In the US, a special stamp was issued in 2014 in memory of Harvey Milk, in Denmark and Sweden a Rainbow stamp was issued in 2016, and in Austria a special stamp was issued in 2010 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Rainbow Parade in Vienna.

In the Netherlands in 2016, a stamp was issued with Amsterdam EuroPride as a theme. That year, the United Nations also issued LGBT stamps for the diplomatic post, within the framework of the Free & Equal program. Last year, Canada issued a stamp about same-sex marriage on the occasion of 150 years of independence.
 



 






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