Institute for Sexual Science (1919-1933)Online-Exhibition by the Magnus-Hirschfeld Society

Chronology of the Institute's Buildings

Sketch of the “Villa Joachim” in Berlin. Beethoven Street around 1875 (Archives sketchbook, volume 1875, issue III, Hans-Günter Klein Collection)

In 1871/72, the “Villa Joachim” was built for Joseph Joachim, a music professor (10 In den Zelten / 3 Beethoven Street). 1

In 1880, the building at 9a In den Zelten was built (previous numbers until about 1885: 10 instead of 9a). The tenants were mainly retired civil servants and military officers.

Drawing of the Institute for Sexual Sience around 1921 (from a Spanish brochure for “Titusperlen”, a sexual potency remedy, “clinically tested” at the Institute)

On July 6, 1919, the Institute for Sexual Sience was inaugurated in the house at 10 In den Zelten /3 Beethoven Street which had been bought by Hirschfeld for 400.000 Marks.

In 1921, the Institute was extended by incorporating the building at 9a In den Zelten. The restaurant “Luisenzelt” was converted into a lecture hall and named after the renowned biologist, Ernst Haeckel. The adjacent stables on the ground floor were converted into exhibition rooms.

In 1924, the property was transfered to the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation. 2

On June 14, 1933, the property was confiscated without any compensation on the strength of the Police Administration Act and an ordinance dated February 2, 1933. The following years saw as tenants of the two buildings various Nazi organizations and institutes, such as the General Association of German Anti-Communist Organizations and the Institute of Studies relating to the Jewish Question.

In 1938, both buildings were rebuilt and refurbished for medical associations such as the Reich’s working group for combating venereal diseases and a State Academy of the Public Health Service, which offered courses on “racial hygiene” and demographic policy. The president of this State Academy was Arthur Gütt, the driving force behind the “Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases” of July 1933.

Picture of the ruins at 10 In den Zelten, at the end of 1948 (Manfred Herzer Collection)

On November 22, 1943, both buildings suffered extensive damage during an air-raid, with the extent of damage estimated at 84,2%. 3

Building site of the Congress Hall in 1956 (Picture: Archives of the Land of Berlin)

In 1950, the ruins were blown up and the rubble cleared away because they constituted a public danger. 4

In 1955, the Land of Berlin paid DM 57,000 compensation for the property following a settlement with the General Trustee (“Treuhand”) Agency. This agency’s assets were awarded to non-Jewish victims of National-Socialism or spent on other charitable projects.

Congress Hall
The Congress Hall in 1961 (Picture: Archives of the Land of Berlin)

In 1956/57, parts of the sites were built up to serve as grounds for the Congress Hall. 5

Following the reunification of the town’s two halves and the decision by the Federal Parliament to make Berlin the seat of the Government again, the buildings became once more the focus of public interest. The sites lie close to the new Chancellor’s Office.