Rudolph Richter was born in the Erzgebirge region of Germany.
Dörchen or Dora attempted to tourniquet her penis at age 6. She expressed a strong dislike of male clothing, and was permitted to live as female.
She worked as a waiter or a cook in the fancy hotels in Berlin in the summer, and lived as a woman in the off-season. The police arrested her several times for cross-dressing, and she was sent to a male prison. Eventually a judge took pity on her and referred her to Magnus Hirschfeld who helped her obtain an official permit to dress in women’s clothes.
She was medically castrated in 1922 by Dr Erwin Gohrbandt at the Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. She was offered vaginoplasty 1931, and so was one of the first persons to have a sex-change operation. The surgeons were Hirschfeld’s colleagues, Ludwig Levy-Lenz and Felix Abraham.
Afterwards Dörchen worked as a maid at Hirschfeld's Institut fuer Sexualwissenschaft until it was destroyed by the Nazis in 1933. She is not known to have survived this attack.
She was played by Tima die Goettliche in Rosa Von Praunheim’s movie about Hirschfeld.
Click for other Hirschfeld patients.
- Felix Abraham. “Genitalumwandlungen an zwei männlichen Transvestiten”. Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, 18: 223-226. 1931. English translation as “Genital Reassignment on Two Male Transvestites”. The International Journal of Trangenderism. 2, 1. Jan-Mar 1998. Case 1. www.iiav.nl/ezines/web/ijt/97-03/numbers/symposion/ijtc0302.htm.
- Rosa Von Praunheim (dir & scr). Der Einstein des Sex - Leben und Werk des Dr. M. Hirschfeld (The Einstein of Sex: Life and Work of Dr. M. Hirschfeld). Scr: Chris Kraus, Valentin Passoni, Friedl von Wangenheim, with Tima die Goettliche as Dörchen. Germany/Netherland 100 mins 1999. IMDB
- Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 19-20, 292n13.
- "Rudolph R./Dorchen". Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (1919-1933). www.hirschfeld.in-berlin.de/institut/en/personen/pers_34.html