The Guardian reports on a new exhibition opening November 20th at the Wellcome Collection in London titled ‘The Institute of Sexology’. The show explores the history of sex research through its pioneers Magnus Hirschfeld, Sigmund Freud, Marie Stopes, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Mead, William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
The foundations of sexology were established by Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, which flourished in the decadent years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933), eventually to be destroyed by the Nazis. (It is Hirschfeld’s library being torched in the infamous photos of the Nazi book burnings of May 1933.) Aleister Crowley was a regular visitor to Berlin from 1930-32, during the heydey of the Institute, and was interested in its work; he even met with one of the Institute’s lecturers, Norman Haire. Hirschfeld had left Germany by this time for his own safety; being a gay Jewish Socialist made him a triple threat to the Nazi regime. Crowley’s time in Berlin is well-documented in Tobias Churton’s The Beast in Berlin.