Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate tells the story of one of the darkest chapters of human history. It would be an understatement to say that there was a gross injustice during that time, as people had never imagined that they would be subjected to such cruel treatment for their gender expression. The Nazis, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, had launched a campaign against homosexuality, and one of the agendas of the party was to persecute gay men and set a precedent as to what would happen if one did not abide by the rules.
The infamous Paragraph 175 of the German statute criminalized homosexuality, though it only targeted men who indulged in same sex relationships at that time. These men were sent to concentration camps, and they were subjected to inhuman treatment and torture that was beyond the imagination of any living being. Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate is the story of how an entire regime felt threatened by people from the LQBTQ community, and they brainwashed others into believing that these people were not mentally sane and were suffering with some kind of disease. The Nazis literally derailed the entire country, which at that time was witnessing rapid social changes and was known to be one of the most progressive nations in the world. It was quite shocking to witness that a country that was once known for the freedom of expression that it gave to its citizens became prey to such fascist ideologies and let one man ruin it to its core. This documentary is an ode to all those who fought for what they believed in, who raised their voices against a fascist regime, who were not scared to express themselves, and most importantly, amidst all the hate that was being spread by the propaganda of the government, managed to love and be loved.
Why Was Eldorado Closed By The Nazis?
In the 1920s, there were a lot of places where people from the LGBTQ community gathered and celebrated life and had a good time. One of the places that was probably the most popular among the lot was the Eldorado Club in Berlin. Berlin was a place that was moving at a fast pace, and in this wave of change, people had the freedom to express themselves without being worried about the social consequences that their acts could have. The conservationists didn’t come in the way of progressives, and it was really the golden era where morality didn’t confine people from being who they were. Women were more aware of their rights, the role they played in society, and how it was not mandatory for them to always be on the sidelines. It felt like the country was moving in the right direction, but little did these liberals know that the biggest impediment in the history of mankind was waiting for them just around the corner. People like Charlotte Chalaque, Gottfried von Cramm (the legendary tennis player), and Magnus Hirschfeld (a sexologist and pioneer in his field) were regulars at the Eldorado Club, and together, they had a great time.
Charlotte Chalaque was probably the first woman to undergo sex reassignment surgery during that time. The surgery was done by Magnus Hirschfeld in his Institute for sexual sciences, which had become a social space where a lot of people from the LGBTQ community hung out. At this point, a huge chunk of the population was living in the village, and they were unaware of the radical changes that were happening in cities like Berlin. Hitler knew that these people were the ones whom this party needed to target. They started brainwashing the population into believing that these so-called progressive people were ruining their culture, and with time, they were able to spread hate. The Nazis were threatened by the flourishing queer print media, and they knew that in order to spread their propaganda, they needed to bring the media under their control.
Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld was in Paris when a group of Nazi students took over the Institute for Sexual Sciences and destroyed everything they could get their hands on. The entire library and literary materials were burned to ashes, and it was probably the first act facilitated by Hitler’s party where it was made clear that the nation was moving towards dictatorship. The progressives still believed that they would be able to overcome this obstacle, but they clearly underestimated what the tyrant was capable of doing. In 1933, after Hitler became Chancellor, Eldorado, which was considered to be the headquarters of the gay rights movements, was shut down and taken over by the Nazi forces.
How Did Adolf Hitler Launch A Campaign Against The LGBT Community?
Adolf Hitler made his intentions pretty clear when he got his second in command, Ernst Rohm, killed under the pretext that he was a homosexual, and after that incident, the people realized that they were delusional to think that they could go against the dictator and thrive in the country. Ernst Rohm was a close friend of Hitler, and he was in charge of the paramilitary organization called the SS, infamously known for killing more than 6 million Jews. There was another organization called the SA that was smaller in size as compared to Rohm’s battalion. The head of the SA was a man named Heinrich Himmler, and he was the reason why Hitler turned against his friend and decided to get him killed. Though the murder was purely political as Rohm’s popularity and the kind of powers vested in him made Hitler a bit insecure, the official reason given by Hitler was that Rohm was a homosexual, as it was easier to justify.
Even the famous tennis player Gottfried von Crammer couldn’t save himself from the wrath of the madman. Gottfried was married to Elizabeth Lisa von Dobeneck, but it was a known fact that he was in a relationship with a German actor, Manasee Herbst. The three of them lived under the same roof, and though it was an unlikely equation, they lived peacefully without any sort of discord. Hitler wanted to wipe out the existence of the LGBTQ community and re-establish the social order. Gottfried, even after winning so many laurels for his country, was convicted for having a sexual relationship with a man, and his entire career was destroyed by the government as he no longer got a visa after that since he was a convicted felon. Gottfried, throughout his tours, had always spoken against Hitler in front of the international media, and he probably thought that nothing would happen to him since he was a national hero.
The end of Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate made us aware of the kind of injustice and inhuman treatment that homosexuals had to go through, and those who were fortunate enough to survive still get nightmares about what they had witnessed or gone through during that time. In the concentration camp, homosexuals were given pink badges so that soldiers there knew that these people had to be subjected to the worst kind of treatment. There was a time when, even though same-sex relationships were criminalized, strong evidence needed to be presented in court to convict the people, but that too was changed and the Nazi army went about their business in an unrestrained manner. More than one lakh men were convicted under Paragraph 175 of the German statute after the war got over, and more than half of them spent the rest of their lives in prison. The biggest tragedy was that, even after so much happened, Paragraph 175 wasn’t repealed until 1969. It took the lawmakers more than two decades to realize that the statute violated people’s fundamental rights.