Queer Lives across the Wall: Desire and Danger in Divided Berlin, 1945–1970
Published: May 2023© 2023
Queer Lives across the Wall examines the everyday lives of queer Berliners between 1945 and 1970, tracing private and public queer life from the end of the Nazi regime through the gay and lesbian liberation movements of the 1970s.
Andrea Rottmann explores how certain spaces – including homes, bars, streets, parks, and prisons – facilitated and restricted queer lives in the overwhelmingly conservative climate that characterized both German postwar states. With a theoretical toolkit informed by feminist, queer, and spatial theories, the book goes beyond previous histories that focus on state surveillance and the persecution of male homosexuality.
List of Illustrations and Map
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: “Mamita invites you in”
2. Surveilled Sociability: Queer Bars
3. Passing Through, Trespassing, Passing in Public Spaces
4. Bubis Behind Bars: Prisons as Queer Spaces
"I gobbled this book up. It is a quick read with lots of information. If you love history, then add this Queer Lives across the Wall to your list."Mx. Phoebe, Mx. Phoebe’s Viewpoint
"By turns poignant, sexy, and fun, but always sensitive and erudite, Queer Lives across the Wall is a beautifully written book. From train stations to living rooms, from public toilets to queer bars, from prisons to the Berlin wall itself, Andrea Rottmann’s rich study reveals the centrality of diverse spaces – and of gendered expression – in queer history."Craig Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Manchester Metropolitan University, and author of The Ambivalence of Gay Liberation
"By telling the stories of lesbians as well as gay men, and transgender people as well as cisgender people, Rottmann paints an incredibly rich portrait of queer and trans repression and survival in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, from bars to prisons to apartments to garden cottages, and challenges how we think about queer history."Laurie Marhoefer, Jon Bridgman Endowed Professor of History, University of Washington, and author of Racism and the Making of Gay Rights
"A queer history of East and West Germany that seriously engages with gender non-conformity and includes working-class perspectives – all these things have long been called for. Based on interviews, letters, photographs, prison files, and other sources, the study traces bygone queer spaces and subjectivities that very much resonate with our present-day concerns."Benno Gammerl, Professor of History of Gender and Sexuality, European University Institute