Weimar Sex Reform
Having been a doctor with what I thought was a future yesterday, I am a sort of gipsy today and heaven knows what I will be tomorrow. I am not going to give up on B.C. [birth control] even if it has given me up but at the moment I unfortunately am a very useless member of the human race.
EDWARD ELKAN, 1934
The Weimar sex reform movement ended in 1933 but the history of Weimar sex reformers did not. This chapter cannot tell their whole story, for the recorded history of sex reform splinters and fades as the movement was destroyed. It does follow the life histories of some key figures in the Weimar movement, both women and men, those who went East as well as West. Their stories are pieced together from published or unpublished memoirs or fragments of memoirs, and interviews; for the most part they offer a picture of continued commitment to social health projects but also of profound disruption and marginalization that contrasts sharply with the sense of efficacy and possibility that these activists had experienced during the crisis-ridden Weimar years.
The United States and the Soviet Union had been the most important models and interlocutors for Weimar sex reformers. With the Nazi seizure of power, they became the most significant destinations and points of reference as German sex reform went into exile. (Eventually the two countries would also provide the most powerful models for postwar reconstruction.) Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries, all with active birth control movements and a history of participation in the World League for Sex Reform (WLSR), also received many émigrés.
France and Czechoslovakia served especially as transit stations. By late 1933, the League of Socialist Physicians (VSA), virtually all of whose members, both