More than anyone else, gay Jews are have cause to reflect on Weimar Germany’s mixed legacy.
On the one hand, both gay and Jewish culture flourished in that place and time, and had a dramatic impact on the rest of the world. On the other, that period was also full of menace, of threats that the Nazis would soon carry out.
Yet tomorrow, proud and vital members of this group will board a plane for Berlin to grapple with that history – and go clubbing.
For five years, the German government has brought young Jewish Americans to Germany in a program financed by the government and the European Recovery Fund. This is the first trip that will boast at LGBT focus, said Jayson Littman, founder of He’bro, an events promotion business that is co-sponsoring the trip for young professionals age 22 to 35.
He’bro threw a dance party to celebrate the High Holidays, so the trip’s participants will probably also have ample opportunity to enjoy the nightlife for which the city is – and was – famous.
Between Oct. 13 and 20, the group will tour Berlin, meet with gay members of Parliament and visit two memorials, one to the Holocaust and one to homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis. They will also meet young Germans, leaders of the LGBT community and members of Berlin’s Jewish and Israeli communities.
“Attending a [Germany Close Up] trip in 2011, I immediately thought an offering like this should target the LGBT Jewish community,” Littman said in a press release. “Germany has a vibrant LGFT life and always has, and a partnership with the LGBT Jewish community makes perfect sense.”