Kurt Hiller

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Memorial plaque on the house at Hähnelstrasse 9 in Berlin-Friedenau , where Kurt Hiller lived from 1921 to 1934

Kurt Hiller (born August 17, 1885 in Berlin , † October 1, 1972 in Hamburg ) was a German writer , pacifist publicist and activist of the first gay movement . He fought for a lifetime ( Schopenhauer and anti-Hegelian based) socialism , for peace and sexual minorities.


Kurt Hiller (1903)

Kurt Hiller was born in Berlin as the son of a Jewish factory owner, his maternal great-uncle was the SPD member of the Reichstag, Paul Singer . Hiller graduated from high school in 1903 as Primus Omnium at the Askanisches Gymnasium in Berlin. He then studied law with Franz von Liszt and philosophy with Georg Simmel at the Berlin University . In November 1907 Hiller was as External at the Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg from lawyers Karl von Lilienthal with the dissertation The criminological importance of suicide for Dr. jur. PhD . The dissertation was part of a legal philosophical work entitled The Right Over oneself , for which Hiller found no recognition in Berlin, and in which he made the demand that criminal law should take greater account of human self-determination.

In 1904, Kurt Hiller was also the literary dedicated medical students Arthur Kronfeld friends, of whom he thought of Göttingen philosopher Leonard Nelson met. That is why Magnus Hirschfeld approached him via Kronfeld in July 1908 . A contact was established which, over the next twenty-five years, resulted in Hiller's intensive engagement in the Scientific and Humanitarian Committee (WhK) . Hiller was also actively connected to the Institute for Sexology .

In Berlin, Kurt Hiller became an early pioneer of literary expressionism as a freelance writer : in 1909, together with Jakob van Hoddis , he founded the association Der Neue Club as a founding member , which was soon joined by Georg Heym and Ernst Blass . Together with them and supported by well-known artists such as Tilla Durieux , Else Lasker-Schüler and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff , so-called “ Neopathetic Cabarets ” were organized. After Hiller withdrew from the club, he founded the literary cabaret GNU with Blass. For the magazines PAN and the storm he wrote numerous articles, as well as Franz Pfemfert action , at its foundation, he also participated 1911th After Hiller - probably through the mediation Kronfeld, who lived in Heidelberg since 1908 - 1911 in the supplement literature and science of regional Heidelberger newspaper already The recently Berlin had imagined, he published in 1912 in Heidelberg publisher of Richard Weissbach the first expressionist poetry anthology The condor .

During the November Revolution , as chairman of the Political Council of Intellectual Workers , which he co-founded, he tried to influence politics. This commitment was based on his ideal of a “ logocracy ”, conceived as a corrective model for democracy , which - following Plato's idea of ​​the “ philosopher kings ” - was to share political rule between the elected parliament and a committee of the intellectual elite and thus the intellectuals (“elliptical Constitution ”).

In 1919 Kurt Hiller and Armin T. Wegner founded the Association of Military Service Opponents (BdK), which the renowned pacifist Helene Stöcker also joined in 1926 . In 1920 he joined the German Peace Society , to whose left wing he belonged. Here he advocated that German pacifism should orient itself towards the Soviet Union , although he was very critical of its Leninism . But since the majority remained focused on bourgeois-democratic France, violent conflicts arose in the DFG, which escalated when Hiller accused the bourgeois pacifists Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster and Fritz Küster in communist papers that they would allow themselves to be paid by the French - an allegation that gave the numerous right-wing opponents of the German peace movement ample ammunition for their polemics. Carl von Ossietzky commented in the magazine Das Tage-Buch in October 1924 :

“What is being done in the pacifist camp of denigrating and judging heretics is immeasurable even by German standards. [...] The supervisor in this pacifist barn is Mr. Kurt Hiller. "

Hiller founded the Revolutionary Pacifists group in 1926 , with which he tried in vain within the DFG to increase his influence. He advocated a new, nonviolent and socially just society, to achieve which capitalism would have to be overcome, a purpose for which the radical pacifist also did not rule out “progressive” violence.

Not only such contradictions also came up against those close to Hiller: Already at the end of 1918 there was a break with Siegfried Jacobsohn , the publisher of Weltbühne , in which Hiller was regularly represented with contributions from 1915, so that the journalistic collaboration was interrupted for the next six years. The trigger for the rift was Jacobsohn's contribution, published in the “Answers” ​​section on December 12, 1918, by Kurt Hiller , in which he justified his resignation from the “Council of Intellectual Workers”. In 1924 Hiller resumed his work on the world stage ; But even in the future it was not always free from tension. Jacobsohn, for example, complained in a letter to Kurt Tucholsky in 1926 :

“I'm afraid that it won't last much longer with me and Kurtchen Hiller. There is no telling what this poor homosaxone does in terms of hysteria, paranoia, vanity, sensitivity, presumptuousness and lack of taste. "

At the beginning of the same year Hiller published an essay in the Weltbühne , which he had initially written for a foreign daily newspaper and in which he expressed his admiration for the "power guy Mussolini " ( Mussolini and us , January 12, 1926). What fascinated him about the "Duce" was the bold aesthetic of his public appearances and, above all, the powerful political assertiveness that had nothing at all from the often tough compromise policy of the Middle Weimar Republic :

“Democracy means: rule of every empirical majority; who would deny that the majority of the Italian people have long stood loyally behind Mussolini? [...] Mussolini, if you look at him, is not a kaffir, not a pug, not a sour pot, like the prominent figures of the left-wing and bourgeois-socialist parties in France and Germany and other countries on the continent are in the majority of cases; he has culture. […] If I examine myself carefully, Mussolini, whose policy I cannot approve of its content, neither as a German, as a pacifist nor as a socialist, is so sympathetic as a formal type of statesman because he is the opposite of a repressor. A cosmopolitan, elegant energy guy, sports guy, killer guy, renaissance guy, intellectual, but with moderate-reactionary content, I prefer, I don't deny it, than a moderate-left bitter corpse, who in the end doesn't produce anything that the forces of perseverance at all Demolition. "

The following year he scoffed: “Fascism has wine in its blood, German republicanism has beer” ( The goal decides , July 12, 1927). Despite all the fascination with Mussolini, albeit never less uncritically, Hiller campaigned shortly afterwards to vote for the KPD in the Reichstag elections. Disappointed by the SPD , for which he had previously stood up, he wrote on the Weltbühne in May 1928 that despite all reservations, one now has to "bite into the communist apple: it is sour, but juicy".

In the Weltbühne , he repeatedly surprised with his analyzes and judgments - also about the “New Nationalism”: “The New Nationalism”, he quoted Franz Schauwecker in an article published on September 20, 1927 , “cannot have the will, one to rape a foreign nation. "Hiller's comment:

“Listen! Who of us demands more? Isn't that what the pacifists say everywhere in other words? Isn't that in the clearest, sharpest contrast to what the Pan-Germans wanted until 1918, the Fatherland Party, with its annexation cries - from Erich Ludendorff to Georg Bernhard? "

In 1932 he asked Left People from Right about national revolutionaries like Karl Otto Paetel and Otto Strasser :

“'Left', 'right' - this distinction is becoming more and more stupid every day. Who else can get along with her? [...] Who is better, a communist non-thinker or a nationalist self-thinker? "

Hiller's two-part analysis of the causes of the National Socialist success on the world stage of August 23 and 30, 1932 is also remarkable :

“The fact that in post-war Germany the national as a mood and as a feeling that radiated intensely into political rationality spread widely and also became more conscious and lively than ever among the poor is unquestionably due to the vengeance of the Versailles Peace [...]. German nationalism is, to its extent, a consequence of French nationalism and precisely for that reason not without a legitimate core. [...] The colossal National Socialist success is, among other things, a product of colossal and justified disappointment. "

After Hirschfeld, after internal disputes about further tactics, resigned from the chairmanship of the WhK on November 24, 1929, Hiller was elected second chairman, which he remained until the WhK was dissolved.

After the takeover by the Nazis Hiller was that as a pacifist, socialist, Jew and homosexual was hated the Nazis arrested three times in total, in the concentration camps Columbia-Haus , Brandenburg and Oranienburg detained and mistreated. After his release in 1934, which came about through high intercession ( Rudolf Hess ), he fled to Prague and in 1938 to London . In exile he founded the Freedom Association of German Socialists and the Group of Independent German Authors . In addition, during his time in Prague, together with the national revolutionary Otto Strasser, he published the “Prague Declaration”, a manifesto against fascist Germany by the Nazis.

Kurt Hiller's resting place on Walter Schultz's grave ,
Ohlsdorf cemetery

When Hans Giese wanted to found a new WhK in 1949 and then the Society for Reform of Sexual Criminal Law e. V. founded Hiller for a few months. In 1955 Hiller returned to Germany, settled in Hamburg and tried there in 1962 to re-establish the WhK. But he remained isolated and the attempt failed. Furthermore, he founded - largely without echo - a new socialist association and independent magazines (cf. Lynx ). The declaration of the New Socialist League against war of aggression was u. a. supported by Ossip K. Flechtheim , Karlheinz Deschner and Martin Niemöller . Hiller published around a dozen poems and just as many articles in the Swiss magazine Der Kreis , mostly under the anagrammatic pseudonym Keith Llurr .

In 1955 Kurt Hiller was awarded the German Critics' Prize.

Kurt Hiller was buried with his close friend and co-editor Walter Schultz, who had died before him, in the Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg, grid square Bm 59 (south of Prökelmoorteich ).

Kurt Hiller Society


The Kurt-Hiller-Gesellschaft e.V., founded in Hamburg in 1998, is dedicated to the maintenance and indexing of Hiller's estate and the scientific examination of his work . V. It publishes a newsletter and the series of publications by the Kurt Hiller Society . In 2003, together with Georg Fülberth , she organized a conference on Hiller at the University of Marburg .

Kurt Hiller Park

Kurt Hiller Park

Since the end of 2000, recalls in Berlin-Schöneberg Grunewaldstraße on kleistpark of Kurt Hiller Park to the writer. According to the inscription on the street sign, the small green area with two boulodromes , a playground, a public basketball court and stone sculptures will honor the “co-founder of the homosexual civil rights movement”. Since this is the only inscription in the park, the Kurt Hiller Society smugly comments on the sculptures in the park : "It will take years to interpret these stone blocks in relation to Hiller's work."

See also


Kurt Hiller published a collection of articles against § 175 in 1922 .


Kurt Hiller used these pseudonyms for his publications : Gorgias , Gorilla , Keith , Klirr , Llurr , Lynx , Prospero , Rehruk , Syn , Till and Torral .


  • 1908: The right over oneself. A study of the philosophy of criminal law . (In chapters 1–5, contains Hiller's legal dissertation The Criminal Significance of Suicide .) Winter, Heidelberg.
  • 1911: Against "poetry". In: Der Sturm , No. 52, pp. 414–415.
  • 1913: The wisdom of boredom. A magazine and pamphlet. 2 volumes Kurt Wolff, Leipzig.
  • 1918: Unnameable fraternity. Verses 1904-1917 . Publishing house Der Kentauer, Wolgast 1918.
  • 1920: Spirit become master. Rallies by an activist before, during and after the war. Berlin.
    • Reprint: Kraus, Nendeln 1974.
  • 1920: Logocracy or a world alliance of the spirit. In: The goal. Fourth of the target yearbooks. Kurt Wolff, Munich.
    • Separate print: Der Neue Geist Verlag, Leipzig 1921.
  • 1922: § 175 : The shame of the century! Steegemann, Hanover.
  • 1922: The departure to paradise . Volume of aphorisms . Kurt Wolff, Munich.
  • 1925: Realization of the spirit in the state. Contributions to a system of logocratic activism. Oldenburg, Leipzig.
  • 1932: The leap into light. Speeches, open letters, dialogues, essays, theses, pamphlets against war, clergy and capitalism. Lindner, Leipzig.
  • 1938: The Unnamable. Verses 1918-1937. Yangschudau workshop he Unnamable: Verses 1918–1937. Beijing
  • 1938: Profiles. Prose from a decade. Editions Nouvelles Internationales - International Publishing House, Paris.
  • 1945: Theses on the re-establishment of university life in Germany: written for the 1945 summer conference of the International Student Service. Freedom Association of German Socialists , London 1945
  • 1945: Theses on foreign policy . Freedom Association of German Socialists, London 1945
  • 1950: heads and tears. Profiles from a quarter of a century. Rowohlt, Hamburg
  • 1951: Red Knights. Experiences with German communists. Ruhr, Gelsenkirchen
    • Reprint: Mytze & Klaussner, Berlin 1980
  • 1952: The departure to paradise. A book of theses . Desch, Munich.
  • 1957: Brain and hate poems from half a century. Private print by Hans Christians Verlag, Hamburg
  • 1966: Ratioaktiv. Speeches 1914–1964. A book of accountability. Limes, Wiesbaden
  • 1969: life against time. Volume 1: Logos. Autobiography. Rowohlt, Reinbek




  • Wolfgang Beutin: Hilleriana. Studies on the life and work of Kurt Hiller (1885–1972). von Bockel Verlag, Neumünster 2010, ISBN 978-3-932696-83-1 .
  • Rolf von Bockel: Kurt Hiller and the group of revolutionary pacifists (1926–1933). A contribution to the history of the peace movement and the scene of left intellectuals in the Weimar Republic . Dissertation . Bormann, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-928770-04-7 .
  • Ricarda Dick (Ed.): I was never an expressionist. Kurt Hiller in correspondence with Paul Raabe 1959–1968. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8353-0785-8 .
  • Alexander Gallus : home to the world stage. An intellectual story in the 20th century . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8353-1117-6 .
  • Alexandra Gerstner: New nobility. Aristocratic elite conceptions between the turn of the century and National Socialism. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2008, ISBN 978-3-534-21444-0 .
  • Juliane Habereder: Kurt Hiller and literary activism . On the intellectual history of the political poet in the early 20th century . Dissertation. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-8204-6202-3 .
  • Martin Hagemeyer: On pacifism in the Weimar Republic: The writers Armin T. Wegner and Kurt Hiller. Master's thesis . (Excerpt online)
  • Günter Helmes : Per scientiam ad justitiam. Kurt Hiller and the struggle for the abolition of § 175 in the German Empire and in the Weimar Republic. In: Jens Malte Fischer , Karl Prümm , Helmut Scheuer (eds.): Explorations. Festschrift for Helmut Kreuzer on his 60th birthday . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1987 ISBN 3-525-20775-1 pp. 154-182.
  • Ulrich Hohoff (Ed.): Kurt Hiller 1885–1972. A writer interferes in politics . Booklet accompanying the exhibition at the Leipzig University Library, Leipzig 1997
  • Heinrich Eduard Jacob : Berlin, pre-war poetry and attitude to life. In: Siegfried Buchenau (Hrsg.): Imprimatur - year book for book lovers. Volume 3, Society of Bibliophiles , Frankfurt am Main 1961/62, pp. 186-189.
  • Brigitte Laube: “Nevertheless, I believe in the messianic spirit.” Kurt Hiller (1885–1972): Aspects of a German-Jewish identity. (= Düsseldorf writings on literary and cultural studies. Volume 11). Klartext, Essen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8375-0531-3 .
  • Harald Lützenkirchen (ed.): Writings of the Kurt Hiller society . Klaussner, Fuerth
  1. 2001 ISBN 3-88401-033-6
  2. 2005 ISBN 3-88401-034-4
  3. 2007 ISBN 978-3-88401-035-8
  4. 2010 ISBN 978-3-88401-036-5
  • Horst HW Müller (Ed.): Kurt Hiller. Hamburg Bibliographies , 6th Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg , 1969 u.ö. Introduction of the ed .; Contributions by Ernst Buchholz , Alfred Kerr ; b / w portrait ISBN 3-939449-14-8
  • Daniel Münzner: Kurt Hiller. The intellectual as an outsider . Wallstein, Göttingen 2015 ISBN 978-3-8353-1773-4
  • Stephan Reinhardt (Ed.): Kurt Hiller. Political journalism from 1918-33 . Das Wunderhorn, Heidelberg 1983 ISBN 3-88423-025-5
  • Thomas B. Schumann: History of the “New Club” in Berlin as the most important stimulus for literary expressionism. A documentation. In: EMUNA. Horizons for discussing Israel and Judaism. 9, 1974, pp. 55-70
  • Rüdiger Schütt, Wolfgang Beutin (Ed.): “First and foremost anti-conservative”. Kurt Hiller (1885–1972) . Edition fliehkraft, Hamburg 1998 ISBN 3-9805175-4-3
  • Axel Weipert: The Second Revolution. Council movement in Berlin 1919/1920 . Bebra Verlag, Berlin 2015 ISBN 978-3-95410-062-0 .
  • Lewis D. Wurgaft: Kurt Hiller and the politics of action on the German left 1914-1933 . American Philosophical Soc., Philadelphia 1977 ISBN 0-87169-678-9

Web links

Commons : Kurt Hiller  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kurt Hiller, Victim of Nazi 'gestapo', in Serious Condition, Paper Reveals. In: Jewish Telegraphic Agency. October 16, 1933. Retrieved March 23, 2020 (American English).
  2. ^ Kurt Hiller - Munzinger biography. Retrieved March 23, 2020 .
  3. Harald Lützenkirchen: Hiller received his doctorate in Heidelberg 100 years ago.
  4. ^ A b Ingo-Wolf Kittel: On the historical role of the psychiatrist and psychotherapist Arthur Kronfeld in early sex science.
  5. ^ A b c Online exhibition of the Magnus Hirschfeld Society: Person Kurt Hiller
  6. ^ Volkmar Sigusch : History of Sexual Science. Campus, Frankfurt 2008, p. 362 f.
  7. ^ Egon Günther: The Other Planet - Interview with Hartmut Geerken ( Memento from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). In: Jungle World. No. 32, August 9, 2006 - u. a. about Hiller and the founding of the magazine Die Aktion.
  8. Axel Weipert: The Second Revolution. Council movement in Berlin 1919/1920. Bebra Verlag, Berlin 2015, pp. 319–328.
  9. ^ Dieter Saalmann: Kurt Hiller and Mussolini. In: Orbis Litterarum. Volume 38, No. 2, June 1, 2007, pp. 150-167.
  10. It was Rudolf Hess! Brief information from Newsletter No. 12 of the Hiller Society.
  11. Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller : Man for man. A biographical lexicon. ISBN 3-518-39766-4 , ISBN 3-928983-65-2 , entries for Hans Giese p. 278 and Kurt Hiller p. 357.
  12. Where Hamburg's big names rest. Hamburg cemeteries.
  13. hiller-gesellschaft.de : The Kurt Hiller Park in Berlin. seen on September 4, 2006
  14. ^ Volkmar Sigusch: History of Sexual Science. Campus, Frankfurt 2008, pp. 570f.
  15. permanent reprints