Arno met Olga Boralewski (1873-1928). They married in 1911 and had a son – however Arno was not comfortable in this role and attempted suicide several times, and once was admitted to a mental asylum. He was able to cross-dress only in private. Arno Ebel was drafted into the Army in 1916, and at the 2nd Battle of Champagne (25 September - 6 November 1915), was ambushed and finally suffered a severe nervous breakdown, and thereupon was assigned to a reserve hospital before being discharged with a 30 per cent pension.
Olga died in January 1928. Ebel, despite another nervous breakdown, became Toni again. Trans woman Charlotte Charlaque introduced Toni to Magnus Hirschfeld, and Toni was assessed by Felix Abraham who had replaced Arthur Kronfeld as the transvestism specialist at the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft:
"The case of A. E., painter, born 10 November 1881 in Berlin. The patient was referred to me (at first he came in male clothes) because from his youth he has been inclined to wear female clothes; moreover, he felt completely female and consequently wanted to take a female name. The patient was 47 years old at the first consultation. He was outwardly very agitated, but this calmed down and almost disappeared when, at my request, he came to the next consultation in female clothing. He then confessed to me that he felt so uncomfortable in male clothing that the result was a physical and nervous agitation which gave way to absolute calm when he put on female clothing. His aversion to men's clothing is so great that he had only one suit, which, moreover, was in very poor condition." (1931, last page of Transvestitisme chapter)
Abraham wrote an expert opinion so that Toni was able to obtain a Transvestitenschein in spring 1928 so that she could be a woman in public. Toni made a formal application for a legal name change - but it was not approved until 1929. The five surgeries by Drs Erwin Gohrbandt, Felix Abraham and Ludwig L. Lenz took only two years (compared to the seven years for Dörchen Richter) and were complete in 1931. Felix Abraham wrote up an account of the operations on Dora and Toni for the Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, where he referred to Toni as "Arno (Toni) E." .
"I will never forget the sight that met my eyes when I was once whisked away to the kitchen of the house after work: there the five 'girls' sat knitting and sewing peacefully next to each other and singing old folk songs together. Anyway, they were the best, most diligent and most conscientious household staff we have ever had. Never once did a stranger who visited us notice."
The French doctor, Pierre Najac, who did an internship at the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, wrote about Charlotte and Toni.
Toni lived awhile at Wolliner Straße 47 in Berlin-Mitte. But because Charlotte Charlaque was called a Jew by the neighbours when she came to visit, Ebel moved in with her in Berlin-Schöneberg. The Swedish journalist Ragnar Ahlstedt visited them at their flat at Nollendorfstraße 24, and wrote about them in his Män som blivit kvinnor, 1933. They lived cheaply: Charlotte said that she was an actress and Toni was able to sell some paintings and drawings. Ahlstedt incorrectly claimed that after the death of Lili Elbe "Frau Toni" and "Fräulein Lola" (Charlotte) were "the only operated transvestites in the whole of Europe" („die einzigen operierten Transvestiten in ganz Europa").
Toni had converted to Charlotte's Jewish faith. Toni was warned that they were under surveillance, and in 1934, with the help of the Berlin Jewish community, Toni and Charlotte fled to Czechoslovakia. They settled in Karlsbad/Karlovy Vary where Toni painted pictures for spa guests and Charlotte gave English and French lessons. Toni still received her war pension from the Reichsversicherungsanstalt and life in Czechoslovakia was comparatively cheap, they were able to live in relative peace for a while.
In March 1939 they returned to Prague which they saw as more "Czech" and less "German" than Brno. They found a flat at Velkoprevorské nämésti 7, and aided Jews with English and documents needed for emigration.
She died at age 80.
- Felix Abraham. "Genitalumwandlungen an zwei männlichen Transvestiten". Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, 18, 1931: 223-226. Translated as "Genital Reassignment on Two Male Transvestites". The International Journal of Transgenderism, 2,1, Jan-March 1998. Archive.
- Félix Abraham, translated by Pierre Vachet. Les perversions sexuelles. Romainville (Seine): impr. Tessier, 1931: the last page of the Transvestitisme chapter.
- Pierre Najac. "L'Institute de la Science Sexuelle à Berlin" in Janine Merlet. Venus et Mercure. Editions de la Vie Modern, 1931: 165-192.
- L. Rhan. "Gesprach mit riner Frau, die einmal ein Mann war". Das 12-Uhr-Blatt, 2.8.1932.
- Ragnar Ahlstedt. Män som blivit kvinnor. Två fall av könsväxling på operative väg. En study of transvestitism. Tranås: mountain, 1933.
- Anon. "Operative Umwandlung von Männern in Frauen gelungen. Die Erfahrungen aus drei Berliner Fällen". Die Geburtenregelung,1, 4, 1933: 33.
- F. E. "Das Portrait, Toni Ebel". Berliner Zeitung, 19.1.1952: 16.
- Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Diskretes und Indiskretes: Erinnerungen eines Sexualarztes. Wissen & Fortschritt, 1953: 204.
- Sander L. Gilman. Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999: 276.
- Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Geschlechts. Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag 2005: 203-4.
- Ralf Dose. "Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany: Thirty Years of Collecting Our History - Or: How to Find Treasure Troves". LGBTI ALMS 2012: The Future of LGBTI Histories, 2012.06/18. http://lgbtialms2012.blogspot.com/2012/06/thirty-years-of-collecting-our-history.html.
- Julie Nero. Hannah Höch, Til Brugman, Lesbianism, and Weimar Sexual Subculture. PhD Thesis, Department of Art History and Art, Case Western Reserve University, 2013: 269. PDF.
- Ralf Dose. Magnus Hirschfeld: The Origins of the Gay Liberation Movement. 2014: 55.
- Přehled Historických Událostí Vztahujících Se K Tématu. (Overview historical events related to the topic) [Czechoslovakian Artists]:101. PDF.
- Raimund Wolfert. “ ‘Sage, Toni, denkt man so bei euch drüben?’ Auf den Spuren von Curt Scharlach alias Charlotte Charlaque (1892 -?) und Toni Ebel (1881-1961)”. Lesbengeschichte, 3/2015. Online. And also at issuu.com Online.
- Raimund Wolfert. Charlotte Charlaque: Transfrau, Laienschauspielerin, „Königin der Brooklyn Heights Promenade“. Hentrich & Hentrich, 2021: 59-62.
Wolfert says "To all appearances, Olga was suffering from syphilis" (Allem Anschein nach litt Olga an der Syphilis). But says no more. There is no mention of Toni being syphilitic. Did Toni bring it from a previous relationship? Did Olga bring it from a previous marriage? Olga was 38 when she entered this marriage - it is very likely that she had a previous marriage. If Olga was in the latent and then tertiary stages, she may not have been infectious, but her son may have had congenital syphilis.
"Voici le cas de A. E., artiste peintre, né le 10 novembre 1881 à Berlin. Le malade vient chez moi (en costume masculin) pour avoir eu dès sa jeunesse un penchant à porter le costume féminin; d’ailleurs il se sent complètement femme et veut, en conséquence, prendre un nom de femme. Le malade a 47 ans à la première consultation. 11 présentait extérieurement une agitation très forte qui se calma et n’existait presque plus quand, sur ma demande, il vint àla consultation suivante en costume féminin. 11 m’avoua alors qu’en costume masculin il se sent si mal à son aise que le résultat en est une agitation corporelle et nerveuse qui fait place à un calme absolu quand il revêt un costume féminin. Son aversmn contre le vêtement masculin est si grande qu’il ne possède qu’un seul complet qui, d’ailleurs, est en très mauvais état."
The German for the quote from Ludwig Levy-Lenz:
" ich werde den Anblick nie vergessen, der sich mir bot, als ich einmal nach Feierabend in die Küche des Hauses verschlagen wurde: da saßen die fünf ,Mädchen‘ strickend und nähend friedlich nebeneinander und sangen gemeinsam alte Volkslieder. Jedenfalls war es das beste, ﬂeißigste und gewissenhafteste Hauspersonal, das wir je gehabt haben. Niemals hat ein Fremder, der uns besuchte, etwas davon gemerkt."
what's the source on Ebel's birth year? according to a 1930 surgical document by Dr Felix Abraham (https://web.archive.org/web/20070502001044/http://www.symposion.com:80/ijt/ijtc0302.htm) Toni Ebel was 52 at the time of the operation, which would make her born in 1878ReplyDelete
this document also suggests Dora Richter's birth being in 1890, rather than 1891
I go with Wolfert's book.Delete
On his page 63 Wolfert says: 'Because of the intimate relationship that linked Charlotte Charlaque and Toni Ebel for over ten years - the women later spoke about each other as "their dearest" and the like - the impression has been created that the two might have been linked by a lesbian love affair. But on the face of it, this was not the case. In an interview Toni Ebel gave to the 12 o'clock paper in 1932, she confessed that she had a boyfriend. She liked him very much and would also like to marry him, if only he had a permanent job. Besides, she "hated" "feminine" men, and her boyfriend was "strong and bearded" '. (Deepl translation)ReplyDelete
I changed this to:
"Toni and Charlotte had become lovers, although both spoke about men-friends when the topic came up."
There is no evidence cited for the existence of this boyfriend. Given the politics of 1932-3 there was good reason to muddy the public record, and speaking myself as a trans woman, it feels quite possible that she would make such a claim to a journalist without it being true. Further there is no mention of the boyfriend being involved in the move to Czechoslovakia or attempting to veto it.
Second paragraph, "Ebel" is mistyped as "Elbe"ReplyDelete