This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

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30 July 2022

Henriett B. (1908 - ?) maid, sex worker

B., raised in Hanover, Germany, had worn women's clothes exclusively since the age of 17 and worked as a maid, in one job for as long as seven years. Also in 1925 she had sexual contact with a man for the first time and considered self-castration because "he felt as a woman and wanted to be one”.

In 1939 B. had become engaged to a workmate and claimed that she was pregnant by him, even sending a picture of an infant and wrote that it was his child.

In July 1941, a few weeks after the start of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union and its support mobilisation, B. moved to Vienna where she was arrested on suspicion of "commercial fornication”. The discovery that she was male-bodied led to immediate charges for “draft evasion”, and also questions about homosexuality. B. admitted sexual contacts with men but "firmly denied in his interrogation that he had consorted with homosexuals. His partners had always been of the opinion that in B. they had a woman in front of them".


Chief Inspector of Criminal Investigation Hans-Heinrich Huelke accepted this reasoning, and further wrote in his report: 

“While the social harmfulness of the homosexual lies primarily in the fact that he supports other persons in acting out their degenerate sexual instinct, [...] this danger is not present in the case of the accused. His sexual partners believed that he was a woman and were not homosexuals. The accused thus did not have a degrading effect on his surroundings due to his female attitude and therefore appears less dangerous to the community than a homosexual appearing in male clothing.”

B. was sentenced to six months in prison for non-registration for the Wehrmacht, § 5 War Special Criminal Law Ordinance, by the Vienna Regional Court . 

At the end of her sentence she requested castration. The health department went further and, as a matter of eugenics, did a penectomy. After returning to Hanover B. applied to change her first name from Hinrich to Henriett. No objections to this were raised.

Chief Inspector Huelke wrote up the case in 1949 when WWII was over.   In 1955 he wrote a textbook on criminology.    

  • Hans-Heinrich Huelke. “Ein Transvestit (Der Fall Hinrich B.)”. Zeitschrift für die gesamte kriminalistische Wissenschaft und Praxis, 3, 1949: 91- 92.
  • Annette Runte. Biographische Operationen: Diskurse der Transsexualität. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1996: 400-2.
  • Rainer Herrn. “Transvestitismus in der NS-Zeit – Ein Forschungsdesiderat”. (Transvestitism in the Nazi era - a research desideratum). Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung, 26,2, 2013: 363.


Compare this to what happened to Liddy Bacroff. Which police officer and which doctor processed your case could make a lot of difference.

Henriett had pretty much the same operation as Christine Jorgensen 10 years later, but without the enhancing of hormone therapy.

28 July 2022

Liddy Bacroff (1908 - 1943) sex worker

 Heinrich Habitz from Ludwigshafen in Rheinland-Pfalz, across the river from Mannheim, was raised by the grandparents, and spent a year in a correctional home for being difficult to raise. Early employment in office work and as a messenger boy did not work out. She was then a circus dancer.

Habitz obtained a Transvestitenschein, a permit to dress female, but was convicted in 1924 under her male name, and sentenced to six weeks for ‘unnatural’ and ‘commercial fornication’, but the sentence was remitted. In 1929 the Mannheim district court gave her a two month jail sentence for ‘unnatural sex acts’ under §175. In November that year Habitz left the family home for good and moved first to Berlin and then to Hamburg. She renamed herself Liddy Bacroff, and did some performance work.

In 1930 in Hamburg, Liddy was sentenced to two months for having stolen clothing from a female roommate, and then a month for trespass. In 1931 she was sentenced to four months for ‘unnatural sex acts’ under §175. While in prison she wrote two pamphlets about her life: Freiheit! (Die Tragödie einer homosexuellen Liebe) (Freedom! :The Tragedy of a Homosexual Love) and Ein Erlebnis als Transvestit. Das Abenteuer einer Nacht in der Transvestitenbar Adlon! ( An experience as a transvestite. The adventure of a night in the transvestite bar Adlon! ).

In 1935 the Nazi government amended Paragraph 175. Under a new section 175a, the law introduced harsher penalties for male prostitution, sex with a man younger than 21, or sex with a student or employee. The change in the law was not publicized for fear of spreading knowledge of homosexuality. Most Germans were unaware the law had changed and many of those arrested under the new law had no knowledge they were committing a crime. The law was also applied retroactively.

Later that year a sailor had gone to the police and reported a prostitute for theft. Police investigations led to Liddy. She was arrested in January 1936, and made the following statement: “I admit to the theft of 20 ReichMarks in the Herrenweide. Its my opinion that the man did not know that I am also of the male sex. Rather he will have assumed that intercourse was with a woman. Since my release I have lived from unnatural sex acts. I did not have stable employment and I also didn’t receive any help from public funds. I met my punters in St. Pauli. I usually received 2 to 3 RM for each job. On average this meant my daily earnings were around ten Reichsmarks. I lived in different places, usually only for a day or two. I also went there with my punters. I don’t know the names and addresses of the people any more.”

The assistant police investigator wrote in his report: “On the homosexual disposition of Habitz it should be said that the seeds of his abnormality can already be observed in his youngest years. He preferred to play with dolls, as his behaviour matched just that of a girl. Lipstick was indispensable to him in his ‘vanity’. At the age of 16 his homosexual nature was awakened. His emotional life can be compared to that of a woman. He never had the urge to live his sexual life as a man. The description of ‘Mann-Weib’ [‘man-woman’] aptly characterises him.”

Libby was sentenced to 2 years in prison and 3 years forfeiture of honour (loss of civil rights) for commercial unnatural fornication and theft, and served her time in the Bremen-Oslebshausen prison, where a Nazi SA official had been installed as director.

Liddy was released in January 1938, and changed address without registering with the police. This led to a police search for her. On 25 March she was denounced by an onlooker while sitting in a bar with a customer. The man insisted that he thought that he was with a woman. In the police report Liddy is quoted:

“I was given permission for it by the police authorities. So I could move about in women’s clothes. But at the same time I was watched by the vice squad. […] My passion for men ultimately drove me to prostitution. I find sexual satisfaction, where there is love for my partner, through anal intercourse. […] Up to today I have earned a living through prostitution. […] In the period after serving my sentence until my arrest, i.e. from 15.1.38 to 25.3.38, in these 9 weeks I had around 3 men per day. On average they paid me 3 RM. Sometimes I would even get as much as 10 RM from a punter. In most cases I met my gentlemen on the street (St. Georg), rarely in a bar. Sometimes I would approach the men, sometimes the other way around. After we had agreed on the price we would go to the Kucharsky guesthouse, on the corner of Hansaplatz and Bremerreihe. The guesthouse owner knew that I was a Mannweib.’”

In August Liddy was sentenced to three years in prison A few months into the sentence, Liddy applied for "voluntary castration" in order to be cured of the "morbid passion that led me down the path to prostitution". She was forensically examined by medical councillor Wilhelm Reuss who described her as an incorrigible "transvestite", "feminine, infantilistic, eunuchoid in voice", a "passive pederast" who was to be considered a "dangerous habitual criminal" due to the "now dangerous and permanently fixed form of his sexual perversion". Reuss saw little prospect of "improvement" and recommended subsequent preventive detention.

In 1943 Liddy Barcroft complete her prison sentence, again in the Bremen-Oslebshausen prison. She was then transferred to the Mauthausen concentration camp where she was murdered.

  • Liddy Bacroft. Freiheit! (Die Tragödie einer homosexuellen Liebe), 1930. (Freedom! :The Tragedy of a Homosexual Love)

  • Liddy Bacroft. Ein Erlebnis als Transvestit. Das Abenteuer einer Nacht in der Transvestitenbar Adlon! 1931. ( An experience as a transvestite. The adventure of a night in the transvestite bar Adlon! )

  • Rainer Herrn. “Transvestitismus in der NS-Zeit – Ein Forschungsdesiderat”. (Transvestitism in the Nazi era - a research desideratum). Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung, 26,2,2013: 339-340.

  • BLATTER zum land nr. 86: Eine lange queer Geschichte in Rheinland-Pfalz: 7, 10. Online.

  • Renée Adele Grothkopf & Tamara Loewenstein,“Liddy Bacroff: Persecuted as homosexual and transgender”. Arolsen Archives: International Center on Nazi Persecution, 31 August 2021. Online.

  • Bernhard Rosenkranz & Ulf Bollmann, translated by Joanne White. “Liddy Bacroff (Heinrich Habitz)1908 - 1943” The Deceased of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Online.


26 July 2022

Ruth Fischer-Freund (188? - ?) tax official, Hirschfeld patient

Rudolph Fischer was a tax official in Berlin. In 1912 he married Hilde Freund who was aware of his cross-dressing and rather enjoyed the masquerade. In 1916 Fischer was conscripted into the Landstrum, the reserve army. However as a tax official he was left in Berlin, and wore the uniform during office hours only.

In 1920 Rudolph and Hilde had a son Heinrich, despite protesting that they rarely did regular sex. Rudolph was off put by Hilda’s pregnancy and birth pains and he decided to be castrated. He did achieve being castrated - in Leipzig in 1924. In 1927 Fischer took early retirement from the tax bureau after working there fifteen years, and also citing a nervous condition. Fischer’s pension was 150 Reichsmarks a month.

Fischer was now to live full-time using the name Ruth. Their son was sent to live with his uncle in Dresden, and Ruth and Hilde took a small flat in the Babelsberger Str, deciding to rent out rooms to transvestites. Both Ruth and Hilde Fisher went to the “Lotte in der Behnerstrasse”, Hirschfeld’s little club which was run by Karl Giese and Charlotte Charlaque, and through them met Magnus Hirschfeld. Ruth also met Dorchen Richter and following her example decided upon a penectomy. This was performed at the Urban Krankenhaus in January 1930. The marriage was now dissolved, but Ruth and Hilde kept living together. Hirschfeld saw to it that Ruth continued to receive the tax office pension.

By 1931 Ruth had her legal name changed to Ruth Fischer-Freund. However for some reason Ruth lost her previous boldness and confidence when she had not cared whether she was read or not, and became sensitive about having to shave, her hair, her voice, and if she went out she wore men’s clothing. She applied for a vaginoplasty, which was performed in 1932.

The coming of the Third Reich required some adaptation. The name ‘Fischer’ was sometimes taken to be Jewish. To show that it was otherwise, Hilde joined the Nationalsozialistische Frauenbund, and their son Hienrich entered the Hitlerjungend.

After WWII Ruth and Hilde settled in East Germany, and ran a boarding house in Losehwitz near Dresden, renting out to summer visitors. Ruth joined the Communist Party of Saxony (KPS).

  • letter from Charlotte Charlaque to Harry Benjamin, August 9, 1956.

  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 298n110.


*not Ruth Fisher (1895-1961) a prominent member of the German Communist Party in the 1920s who fled to Paris in 1933, and the US in 1940.

*not Ruth von Fisher (1911-2009) a Swiss artist.

Charlotte says of Ruth: that her “first name was now Friedel (the three names the Nazis permitted sex changes to take were Christel, Toni, and Friedel)”. This quoted in Meyerowitz p298n110, and has been repeated citing Meyerowitz. However I have not been able to confirm this. In particular there is no mention of it in Rainer Herrn’s “Transvestitismus in der NS-Zeit – Ein Forschungsdesiderat”(Transvestitism in the Nazi era - a research desideratum). Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung, 26,2,2013.

24 July 2022

Max Tilke (1869-1942) artist, costumier

Tilke was born in Breslau which was then in Prussia (now in Poland and known as Wroclaw). He studied art at the Preußische Akademie der Künste in Berlin, and specialised in costumes. He enjoyed the fact that female models were not used at the Akademie and students dressed as female to model for each other; he also started going to fancy-dress balls in female dress. 

In 1890 he gave his virginity to Arab men while on holiday in the near East. In 1901 Tilke was part of the Cabaret zum hungrigen Pegasus in the back room of the 'Dalbelli' pub on Potsdamer Brücker. He was most comfortable in the company of transvestites and loved to put on women's clothes. 

Tafel XXIII in Der erotische Verkleidungstrieb, believed to be Tilke.

He was married twice to women.  His first divorce was in 1902.  He remarried in 1906, and was divorced again in 1912.  He was interviewed - possibly in 1909 - by Magnus Hirschfeld (he is case VI in Die Transvestiten). He was mainly painting works of historical costumes, which gained him a reputation among the authorities and in high society. In 1911, at the Lipperheide Costume Library of the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin, Tilke had an exhibition of his first collection, which was so well received that it was purchased for the library with state monies. 

He had also been working with Hirschfeld and in 1912 they published Der erotische Verkleidungstrieb, a book of illustrations to complement Die Transvestiten which had been published two years earlier.  1912 was also the year of his second divorce. 

In 1913 he took a position at the "Deutsche BIOSCOP GmbH Filmgesellschaft", Neubabelsberg/Berlin, where he was responsible for the costume design for their films. In the same year Tilke was commissioned by the Russian Tsar to work at the Caucasus Museum in Tbilisi to paint the costumes in the Museum's collections as well as to undertake an ethnological expedition to enlarge the collection. However this was interrupted by the outbreak of war in August 1914. 

Tilke returned to Germany, taking some of his paintings with him. During the war, Tilke worked for the publishing union, Deutsche Verlag Union, in Stuttgart, painting works about the war, but he continued his interest in ethnic costumes and published several works on the topic. In the 1920s Tilke was known as a book illustrator and decorative painter. 

His fortunes declined as he aged, and he died in 1942 of heart failure, at age 73.

  • Magnus Hirschfeld. Die Transvestiten; ein Untersuchung uber den erotischen Verkleidungstrieb: mit umfangreichem casuistischen und historischen Materia. Berlin: Pulvermacher, 1910: 54-8. English translation by Michael A Lombardi-Nash. Tranvestites: The Erotic urge to Crossdress.Prometheus Books, 1991: 51-3.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld and Max Tilke, Der erotische Verkleidungstrieb (Die Transvestiten): Illustrierter Teil.Berlin: Alfred Pulvermacher, 1912. Online.
  • Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller. Mann für Mann : biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte von Freundesliebe und mannmännlicher Sexualität im deutschen Sprachraum. Hamburg: MännerschwarmSkript, 1998: under “Tilke, Max”.
  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Geschlechts: Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft. Psychosozial-Verlag, 2005: 70-2.

EN.Wikipedia                      DE.Wikipedia      

  • “(Hirschfeld 3)”Lili Elbe libraryOnline.

Publications by Max Tilke:

  • with Magnus Hirschfeld: Die Transvestiten. Band 2: Der erotische Verkleidungstrieb. 58 Zeichnungen. Pulvermacher, Berlin 1912.
  • Osteuropäische Volkstrachten in Schnitt und Farbe. Wasmuth, Berlin 1925.
  • Studien zu der Entwicklungsgeschichte des orientalischen Kostüms. Wasmuth, Berlin 1923 (
  • Orientalische Kostüme in Schnitt und Farbe. Wasmuth, Berlin 1923. Engl. Übers.: Oriental costumes, their designs and colors. Brentano, New York 1922 (
  • with Wolfgang Bruhn: Das Kostümwerk. Eine Geschichte des Kostüms aller Zeiten und Völker. 120 Seiten, 200 Tafeln, von denen 120 in Vierfarbendruck. Wasmuth, Berlin 1941.
  • Kostümschnitte und Gewandformen. Eine Übersicht der Kostümschnitte und Gewandformen aller Zeiten und Völker vom Altertum bis zur Neuzeit. Wasmuth, Tübingen 1945.


Rainer Herrn's Schnittmuster des  Geschlechts: Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft, 2005, page 57-8:

"As already mentioned, Hirschfeld had described cross-dressing as a characteristic typically associated with homosexuals around 1900, and in 1906 he distinguished for the first time between homosexual and heterosexual cross-dressers. And although there were enough homosexual men in the environment of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee who presented themselves in women's clothes - not only at balls - we may mention only Hermann von Teschenberg and Willibald von Sadler-Grün. Hirschfeld chose for his casuistry of seventeen cases exclusively those who neither exhibited same-sex inclinations nor had corresponding experience. At the same time, he also knew other homosexual transvestites personally, as can be seen in Volume II of his Sexual Pathology. There, for example, he portrays two such cases that had been "known to him by special doctors" for 18 and 15 years respectively - i.e. already at the time when he wrote Die Transvestiten." (DeepL translation).

Therefore Max Tilke is notable in being the only person who was not exclusively gynephilic to be included in Hirshfeld's case studies in Die Transvestiten.  Both his marriages were short-lived and he seems to be bisexual.

22 July 2022

Friederike Blank, curtain maker (1799-1853)

Blank was raised in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.  After the parents separated, Blank learned sewing and embroidery from his mother. As an adult Blank made a successful living as a self-employed "curtain stitcher", and achieved a good reputation in the trade. Blank’s own flat was noted for its decoration. 

Blank transitioned and lived full time as female, asked the authorities to recognise her female name, Friederike, and announced an engagement to a craftsman. She was also known for being sexually available and put it out that she had a vagina. 

However she was passing on gonorrhoea. A l7-year-old tailor's apprentice went to Dr Hieronymus Fränkel for treatment, and was questioned. Fränkel notified the police and Blank was brought in for questioning. She appeared in court in 1845 under her male name of Süsskind Blank, and was sentenced to three months in a male prison. She was again arrested on similar charges and sentenced to six months. 

In 1853 she was arrested again and while being transported to prison managed to throw herself into a river and end her life at age 54.

 Dr Fränke quickly wrote up the case as a pathology, but also described her femininity as a silly affectation. 

“With this death, the source of a poison is stopped up, which for many years has been infecting an incalculable number of young men”. 

He described Blank’s flat as the "Boudoir of an Elegant Harlot", and cited the prescription of Deuteronomy 22, 5 against cross-dressing. 

Eleven years later, in his pamphlet Inclusa, the pioneering gay activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs who regarded both gay men and trans women as Urnings, both having an inner feminine nature, quoted at length but disagreed with Fränkel’s article. Where Fränkel found a "silly affectation", Ulrichs found an "inner feminine nature". In 1865, in his Vindicta, he blamed the Prussian courts for Blank’s death: 

 “They have acted immorally. No matter what kind of vices he had, knowingly or otherwise, he did nothing different from what Dionings do, and Dionings are not put to shame or subjected to persecution.”

  • Hieronymus Fränkel, “Homo mollis,” Medicinische Zeitung vom Verein für Heilkunde in Preußen,1853, 22, 102–3, 102.
  • Hubert Kennedy. Ulrichs:The Life and Works of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Pioneer of the Modern Gay Movement. Alyson Publications, Inc, 1988: 59-60.
  • Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller. Mann für Mann : biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte von Freundesliebe und mannmännlicher Sexualität im deutschen Sprachraum. Hamburg: MännerschwarmSkript, 1998: under “Blank, Süsskind”.
  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des  Geschlechts: Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft. Psychosozial—Verlag, 2005: 26.
  • Ross Brooks. “Transforming Sexuality: The Medical Sources of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825–95) and the Origins of the Theory of Bisexuality” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allies Sciences, 67, 2, 2010: 207-9.
Süsskind or Süßkind  means 'sweet child'.   However this has no significance, it was a common name among Jewish Germans at that time.

Dionings are heterosexuals, to use a later term.

20 July 2022

Emi Wolters (Luz Fraumann) performer (186? - ?)

Wolters wore girls’ clothing until the start of school, and still then during vacations: she was called Hanne by the farm personnel and still later by grandfather. At the age of 13, her custody was transferred to an uncle, a professor. And the wearing of female clothing was stopped completely. Wolter’s voice did not change until the age of 20, and there was no beard growth until age 25. 

As a man Wolters took a wife, and developed a career on stage. By 1906 Wolters had written Weiberbeute, a forced-femininity novel about a mannish woman who hypnotises her stepson to think that he is a woman. She then induces a phantom pregnancy on him, and persuades him that her son is his. Her death-bed confession is dismissed by her victim as delusion. The novel was published in Budapest under the pseudonym Luz Fraumann. 

Magnus Hirschfeld included Wolters as Case #3 in his 1910 Die Transvestiten where she is referred to as Mr C. Hirschfeld also gives an extended quotation from Weiberbeute

During the Great War, Wolters (under her male name of Emil Mauder) was a senior lieutenant in the German army, and was taken captive by the Russians. 

In the 1920s Wolters became a well-known columnist in the trans magazines, Die Freundin and Das 3, Geschlecht. She wrote the following in Die Freundin in 1931.

“Dear Sister Ilse P.! I am one of the oldest and first cases of medical advisor Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld and I know from forty years of experience that even this great researcher in sexuality had first had to learn from us and how he changed his original views and findings. [...] But above all, dear fellow sisters, you should read up on the transvestite literature (I mean especially the scientific literature!). Dr. Hirschfeld has worked hard and thoroughly for us. The fact that he previously described the cross-dressing drive as pathological, and coined the not entirely accurate word "transvestitism" etc. is nothing essential, but came from developments in this field.“ 

In 1932 she drew upon more than 100 letters sent into Die Freudin, as well as newspaper reports and Hirschfeld’s Sittengeschichte des Weltkrieges (Sexual History of the World War), 1930, to highlight patriotic deeds and courage under fire of both trans men and trans women. Also that year she wrote an account of how the English Queen Elizabeth Tudor had been biologically male.

++The next year, after the Nazi takeover, Wolters was mentioned several times as a correspondent an contributing author during the trial of fellow trans person Anton Maier, but was not herself arrested.

  • Luz Frauman.Weiberbeute:Ein merkwürdiger Roman. Budapest: Verlag von M. W. Schneider, 1906.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld. Die Transvestiten; ein Untersuchung uber den erotischen Verkleidungstrieb: mit umfangreichem casuistischen und historischen Materia.  Berlin: Pulvermacher, 1910: 18-25, 171-7. English translation by Michael A Lombardi-Nash. Tranvestites: The Erotic urge to Crossdress. Prometheus Books, 1991: 27-32, 132-9.
  • Emi von Wolters. “Die Welt der Transvestism”. Die Freundin, 7, 26, 1931.
  • Emi Wolters, “Transvestiten im Weltkriege [8-part series, 24 February to 13April 1932, in ‘Die Welt der Transvestiten’ supplement],” Die Freundin 8, nos. 8 to 15 (1932).
  • Emi Wolters. “Ein Transvestit als Königin”. Das 3, Geschlect,5, May 1932: 16-25.
  • Annette Runte. Biographische Operationen : Diskurse der Transsexualität.Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1996: 131,412, 568, 582.
  • Graham Robb. Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century. WW Norton & Company, 2003: 205.
  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Geschlechts: Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft. Psychosozial-Verlag, 2005: 35.
  • Rainer Herrn. "Transvestitismus in der NS-Zeit – Ein Forschungsdesiderat".  Zeitschrift fur Sexualforschung, 26, 2013: 349.
  • Katie Sutton. Sex between Body and Mind: Psychoanalysis and Sexology in the German-speaking World, 1890s–1930s. University of Michigan Press, 2019: 115, 193, 196, 257n96, 284n109
  • “Luz Fraumann (Hirschfeld 3)”. Lili Elbe library. Online.