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26 August 2022

Gerd Kubbe (1887 - ) from concentration camp to legal name change

Kubbe had had a Transvestitenschein in the Weimer Republic, but it was withdrawn in 1933 after the National Socialist takeover. He continued to live and work as male until 24 January 1938 when  "on the basis of § 1 of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and the State of 28 February 1933” he was arrested.  In justification the charge stated:

“Kubbe has been convicted of wearing men's clothing in public till recently, although her permission to do so was withdrawn in 1933. Her behaviour directly endangered public safety and order. Signed:  Heydrich.” [DeepL translation].  

Kubbe was incarcerated in the Lichtenburg Concentration Camp, which was housed in a castle in Prettin, in Saxony-Anhalt, and had been converted to a camp for women in late 1937.  However Kubbe was released on 12 October that same year, with a temporary permit: 

“She was granted permission to wear men's clothing, which is hereby certified to her for identification with authorities on a temporary basis until an official permit is issued by the Berlin Gestapa. Kubbe is instructed to have this permit, issued on the basis of medical reports, shown to Gestapa Department II D immediately after her arrival in Berlin and to hand over this certificate to the aforementioned office for the purpose of confiscation. (DeepL)”  

This was followed by a letter six days later from the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) to the Berlin Police Head Quarters:  

“By order of the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German Police, the person named in the reference has been granted permission to wear men's clothing under the condition that she may not go to public places of need, baths and the like in men's clothing. Kubbe has received a corresponding certificate from here. I request that the local police stations in question be informed.(DeepL)”.  

On the rear of the letter it was noted that a corresponding note should be added to Kubb’s registration card.  On 25 November 1938, Kubbe was given permission, in addition to the Transvestitenschein, to take a gender-neutral first name - also to be documented on the registration card. 

“By decree of 1 November 1938 [...] the Reich Minister of the Interior approved that the transvestite, Erna, Anna, Marie Kubbe in Berlin, born on 5.5.1887 in Berlin, use the first name Gerd instead of the previous first names.”

In addition police surveillance was ordered and continued until 25 February 1939.  Kubbe's behaviour was found to be impeccable.


  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Geschlechts: Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft. Psychosozial—Verlag, 2005: 162-3.
  • Rainer Herrn. “Transvestitismus in der NS-Zeit – Ein Forschungsdesiderat”. Zeitung fuer Sexualforschung 2013; 26; 357-8. 

Gestapa is an office of the Gestapo.

Kubbe was prohibited from going to "public places of need (toilets), baths and the like in men's clothing" - that is to places that it is assumed where gay men would be found.

One problem with transitioning to male during wartime is that one may be conscripted and sent to fight.  However none of the trans men in the Third Reich seem to have run into that problem.

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