Adolf Brand



Adolf Brand (1874-1945)was a German writer, anarchist and pioneering campaigner for the acceptance of male bisexuality and homosexuality. Born in Berlin on 14 November 1874, Brand became a school teacher briefly before establishing a publishing firm and producing a German homosexual periodical, Der Eigene in 1896 at the age of 22. This was the first ongoing homosexual publication in the world and ran until 1931. The name was taken from writings of egoist philosopher Max Stirner, who had greatly influenced the young Brand, and refers to Stirner's concept of "self-ownership" of the individual. Der Eigene concentrated on cultural and scholarly material, and may have had an average of around 1500 subscribers per issue during its lifetime, although the exact numbers are uncertain. Contributors included Erich Mühsam, Kurt Hiller, John Henry Mackay (under the pseudonym Sagitta) and artists Wilhelm von Gloeden, Fidus and Sascha Schneider. Brand contributed many poems and articles himself. Brand's writings, together with those of other contributors to Der Eigene, aimed at a revival of Greek pederasty as a cultural model for modern homosexuality. In 1899/1900 Brand published Elisar von Kupffer's (1872-1942) influential anthology of homoerotic literature, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltliteratur. The work was reprinted in 1995. In 1899 he was sentenced to a year in prison for publicly attacking a member of parliament with a dog whip.

Brand became involved in Magnus Hirschfeld's Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (the first public homosexual rights organization), until there was a split in 1903; that same year Brand led the formation of the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen organisation with the scientist Benedict Friedlaender as principal theorist, and Wilhelm Jansen. To this new group, male-male love, in particular that of an older man for a youth, was viewed as a simple aspect of virile manliness available to all men; they rejected the medical theories of doctors such as Magnus Hirschfeld who found that a gay man was a certain type of person, the intermediate sex. The GdE was a sort of scouting movement that echoed the warrior creed of Sparta and the ideals of pederasty in Ancient Greece, and the ideas on pedagogic eros of Gustav Wyneken. The GdE was heavily involved with camping and trekking and occasionally practiced nudism - the latter then common as part of the Nacktkultur ('culture of nudity') sweeping Germany. In the 1920s this would develop into the Freikörperkultur under Adolf Koch.

Brand was a proponent of outing famous gay men long before the advent of the term; when in 1907 he claimed in print that German chancellor Prince von Bülow (1849-1929) had a homosexual affair with Privy Councilor Max Scheefer, he was sued for libel and sentenced to eighteen months in prison. In a later justification for outing, Brand stated: "When someone ... would like to set in the most damaging way the intimate love contact of others ... in that moment his own love life ceases to be a private matter."Adolf Brand gave up homosexual activism in the early 1930s, after constant harassment from the Nazis who silenced Der Eigene, destroyed his life's work and left him in financial ruin. After the sacking and burning of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft he finally sent a public letter to his followers announcing the end of the movement. He and his wife were killed by an Allied bomb on 2 February 1945. He was 70.