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28 November 2014

Gerda von Zobeltitz (1891 – 1963) tailor

Georg von Zobeltitz from Weissensee, Berlin, a scion of one of Germany's old noble families with ties to the Hohenzollern court, was making a living in Berlin as Gerda, a women's tailor, by 1910. She was counselled by Magnus Hirschfeld.

In 1912 Gerda was arrested in Berlin for public cross-dressing, as reported in the Berliner Tageblatt: "the alleged culprit was soon released once it was determined that it was a case not of disorderly conduct but instead of transvestism". Within a year Gerda had acquired a transvestite police pass in Potsdam, and when called for military recruitment in 1913, she appeared as Gerda and was deemed ineligible.


At the age of 72 Gerda was run over by a car on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin. She is buried in the graveyard at the Friedhof Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche.

We know of Gerda in 1912, and of her death in 1963.   But what in-between?   In particular, how did she survive two world wars and the Nazi regime?

Robert Beachy refers to her only as Georg, and does not give her real name.

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