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Dr. Robert Beachy

Dr. Robert Beachy
2018-2019 Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow

“The Nazi War on German Homosexuals"

Professional Background

Dr. Robert Beachy holds a PhD in History from the University of Chicago. He is currently Associate Professor at the Underwood International College of Yonsei University (South Korea). As the Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. Beachy will be conducting research for his project and upcoming book, The Nazi War on German Homosexuals.

Dr. Beachy is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including a John S. Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as residential fellowships at the National Humanities Center and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is the author of many articles and several books including Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity, which has appeared in German and Italian translations. He has presented his research in radio interviews and invited lectures, including talks at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre (South Africa) and the Hebrew University (Israel).

Fellowship Research

Drawing on the Museum’s voluminous collections of Gestapo and court records, Dr. Beachy’s book will be the first English-language monograph to analyze the fate of German homosexuals in the Third Reich and in the post-WWII decades before the legal reforms of the late 1960s. He argues that the Nazi anti-homosexuality campaign was motivated initially by an opportunistic expansion of the Nazi police apparatus, launched in the wake of Ernst Röhm’s execution in the summer of 1934. The campaign then took on a life of its own, and with deadly effect for the thousands of men sent to penitentiaries and concentration camps. Despite the Nazis’ defeat in the War and the ignominy of genocide, the anti-gay campaign was tacitly embraced, inspiring an official Cold War homophobia that tended to straddle the Iron Curtain. The Nazi crusade also eliminated the thriving gay and lesbian culture of the Weimar period, and delayed by decades the fight for gay rights and legal reform.

Dr. Beachy will be in residence through August 31, 2019, and can be contacted at his museum email