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Fritz Lang with his wife, the writer Thea von Harbou in their apartment in Berlin, 1924. Fritz Lang directed Metropolis, one of the most famous films of the early 20th century. Before Hitler completed his march to power in 1933, the German capital was a liberal hotbed where people spoil their sexual and hedonistic appetite for Berlin's nightlife and party culture
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Women who buy cocaine, open homosexuality and raw party goers dancing until the wee hours are featured in these remarkable photos that show what Berlin looked like in the turbulent 1920s.

Before Hitler completed his march to power in 1933, the German capital was a liberal hotbed where people spoil their sexual and hedonistic appetite for Berlin's nightlife and party culture.

The age-old photos from the German federal archive (bundesarchiv) show the relaxed social attitude of Berlin.

It meant that same-sex bars, nightclubs, and cabarets flourished in the exciting city for gays, lesbians, and transgenders.

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Here they are shown for the first time in the press.

Fritz Lang with his wife, the writer Thea von Harbou in their apartment in Berlin, 1924. Fritz Lang directed Metropolis, one of the most famous films of the early 20th century. Before Hitler completed his march to power in 1933, the German capital was a liberal hotbed where people spoil their sexual and hedonistic appetite for Berlin's nightlife and party culture

Fritz Lang with his wife, the writer Thea von Harbou in their apartment in Berlin, 1924. Fritz Lang directed Metropolis, one of the most famous films of the early 20th century. Before Hitler completed his march to power in 1933, the German capital was a liberal hotbed where people spoil their sexual and hedonistic appetite for Berlin's nightlife and party culture

Performance group of the Jutta Klamt School, Berlin, January 1926. Experimental art such as this would probably have been banned by the Nazis.

Performance group of the Jutta Klamt School, Berlin, January 1926. Experimental art such as this would probably have been banned by the Nazis.

Performance group of the Jutta Klamt School, Berlin, January 1926. Experimental art such as this would probably have been banned by the Nazis.

A lady attaches cocaine to her legs to hide it in the decadent world of Berlin in 1925
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A lady attaches cocaine to her legs to hide it in the decadent world of Berlin in 1925

War invaders resorted to begging in the streets of Berlin, Germany, 1923

War invaders resorted to begging in the streets of Berlin, Germany, 1923

The relaxed social attitude of Berlin also meant that same-sex bars, nightclubs and cabarets flourished in the exciting and sometimes precarious city for gays, lesbians, and transgenders. Left: A lady attaches cocaine to her legs to hide it in the decadent world of Berlin in 1925. Right: War invaders resorted to begging in the streets of Berlin, Germany, 1923

When Berlin was destroyed by the First World War, prostitution in the capital rose as a means of survival for both men and women. It was normalized to some extent and part of the city's underground culture and economy in the 1920s.

Crime developed in parallel with prostitution and Berlin gained a reputation as a hub for drug trafficking in substances such as cocaine, heroin and sedatives.

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The unusually liberal law enforcement of the German capital and its pleasure-seeking reputation turned the capital into a hedonistic and open-minded mecca that was unrivaled throughout Europe.

Berlin & # 39; s tolerance for behavior that was technically still illegal, saw writers, poets, artists from all over the world indulging in unrestrained nightlife and a thriving gay subculture.

It was also an era of great creative productivity and creative experiments for the city – with multiple cultural contributions in the fields of literature, art, music, dance, drama and cinema.

Tea dance in the garden of the Esplanade hotel, Berlin, Germany, 1926. In the "Golden Twenties" the Esplanade became the scene of popular tea and dance afternoons, which were regularly broadcast on the radio. Stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo stayed here.

Tea dance in the garden of the Esplanade hotel, Berlin, Germany, 1926. In the "Golden Twenties" the Esplanade became the scene of popular tea and dance afternoons, which were regularly broadcast on the radio. Stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo stayed here.

Tea dance in the garden of the Esplanade hotel, Berlin, Germany, 1926. In the "Golden Twenties" the Esplanade became the scene of popular tea and dance afternoons, which were regularly broadcast on the radio. Stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo stayed here.

The world-famous Hagenbeck circus rolls on elephants in Berlin, Germany in July 1926. The photos, taken from the German bundes archive, also show the relaxed social attitude of Berlin that same-sex bars, night clubs and cabarets target homosexual men, lesbians and transgender people flourished in the exciting and sometimes precarious city. Here they are shown for the first time in the press
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The world-famous Hagenbeck circus rolls on elephants in Berlin, Germany in July 1926. The photos, taken from the German bundes archive, also show the relaxed social attitude of Berlin that same-sex bars, night clubs and cabarets target homosexual men, lesbians and transgender people flourished in the exciting and sometimes precarious city. Here they are shown for the first time in the press

The world-famous Hagenbeck circus rolls on elephants in Berlin, Germany in July 1926. The photos, taken from the German bundes archive, also show the relaxed social attitude of Berlin that same-sex bars, night clubs and cabarets target homosexual men, lesbians and transgender people flourished in the exciting and sometimes precarious city. Here they are shown for the first time in the press

Political discussions in the Lustgarten, central Berlin, where citizens could still express their faith in May 1928. Berlin was seen as a left-wing city, the Nazis called it & # 39; the reddest city in Europe & # 39; after Moscow. Berlin's unusually liberal law enforcement and pleasure-seeking reputation turned the capital into a hedonistic and open-minded mecca that was unrivaled in Europe

Political discussions in the Lustgarten, central Berlin, where citizens could still express their faith in May 1928. Berlin was seen as a left-wing city, the Nazis called it & # 39; the reddest city in Europe & # 39; after Moscow. Berlin's unusually liberal law enforcement and pleasure-seeking reputation turned the capital into a hedonistic and open-minded mecca that was unrivaled in Europe

Political discussions in the Lustgarten, central Berlin, where citizens could still express their faith in May 1928. Berlin was seen as a left-wing city, the Nazis called it & # 39; the reddest city in Europe & # 39; after Moscow. Berlin's unusually liberal law enforcement and pleasure-seeking reputation turned the capital into a hedonistic and open-minded mecca that was unrivaled in Europe

Relaxed beach goers sunbathe in the beach bath Wannsee Badeleben, Berlin, Germany, 1930

Relaxed beach goers sunbathe in the beach bath Wannsee Badeleben, Berlin, Germany, 1930

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Relaxed beach goers sunbathe in the beach bath Wannsee Badeleben, Berlin, Germany, 1930

A film industry ball in Berlin, Germany, 1929. Making films at the time was notoriously liberal and often promoted homosexuality. Berlin & # 39; s tolerance for behavior that was technically still illegal, saw writers, poets, artists from all over the world indulging in unrestrained nightlife and the huge gay subculture

A film industry ball in Berlin, Germany, 1929. Making films at the time was notoriously liberal and often promoted homosexuality. Berlin & # 39; s tolerance for behavior that was technically still illegal, saw writers, poets, artists from all over the world indulging in unrestrained nightlife and the huge gay subculture

A film industry ball in Berlin, Germany, 1929. Making films at the time was notoriously liberal and often promoted homosexuality. Berlin & # 39; s tolerance for behavior that was technically still illegal, saw writers, poets, artists from all over the world indulging in unrestrained nightlife and the huge gay subculture

By the 1920s, there were an estimated 85,000 lesbians, a thriving LGBTQ media scene and around 100 gay bars and clubs.

And in 1919, physician Magnus Hirschfeld founded his revolutionary & # 39; Institut fur Sexualwissenschaft & # 39; (Institute of Sexology), where he publicly lobbyed for the decriminalization of homosexuality and helped transgender people to apply to live legally among their new sex.

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The audience, straight and gay, stood in line at the notorious & # 39; Eldorado & # 39 ;, a famous Jewish nightclub where trans women and drag queens performed and paid dances to visitors.

Germany's beauty queen with the jury panel with famous film director Fritz Lang, in Berlin Sportpalast, Germany, March 1927. It was also an era of great creative productivity, creative experiments for the city - with multiple cultural contributions in the fields of literature, art, music , dance, drama and cinema

Germany's beauty queen with the jury panel with famous film director Fritz Lang, in Berlin Sportpalast, Germany, March 1927. It was also an era of great creative productivity, creative experiments for the city - with multiple cultural contributions in the fields of literature, art, music , dance, drama and cinema

Germany's beauty queen with the jury panel with famous film director Fritz Lang, in Berlin Sportpalast, Germany, March 1927. It was also an era of great creative productivity, creative experiments for the city – with multiple cultural contributions in the fields of literature, art, music , dance, drama and cinema

Eldorado, a famous nightclub in post-war Berlin that took care of the gay community, but was a hit with both locals and tourists. By the 1920s, there were an estimated 85,000 lesbians in Berlin, a thriving gay media scene and around 100 LGBT bars and clubs. Audience, straight and gay, stood in line in the famous Jewish nightclub where trans women and drag queens performed and visitors paid paid dances

Eldorado, a famous nightclub in post-war Berlin that took care of the gay community, but was a hit with both locals and tourists. By the 1920s, there were an estimated 85,000 lesbians in Berlin, a thriving gay media scene and around 100 LGBT bars and clubs. Audience, straight and gay, stood in line in the famous Jewish nightclub where trans women and drag queens performed and visitors paid paid dances

Eldorado, a famous nightclub in post-war Berlin that took care of the gay community, but was a hit with both locals and tourists. By the 1920s, there were an estimated 85,000 lesbians in Berlin, a thriving gay media scene and around 100 LGBT bars and clubs. Audience, straight and gay, stood in line in the famous Jewish nightclub where trans women and drag queens performed and visitors paid paid dances

The International Alliance of Women Congress in Berlin, Germany, June 1929
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The International Alliance of Women Congress in Berlin, Germany, June 1929

The International Alliance of Women Congress in Berlin, Germany, June 1929

Lesbian magazine, Die Freundin, May 1928. There were twenty-five to thirty individual gay German-language magazines that appeared in Berlin, weekly or monthly in the 1920s. Openly nude and gay titles were displayed in the kiosks

Lesbian magazine, Die Freundin, May 1928. There were twenty-five to thirty individual gay German-language magazines that appeared in Berlin, weekly or monthly in the 1920s. Openly nude and gay titles were displayed in the kiosks

A scene from Different from the Others (1919), a film made in Berlin, whose main character struggles with his homosexuality. Cinema in the Weimar culture did not shun controversial topics, but dealt with them explicitly. Unlike the others (1919), it was about the conflict between a gay man and his sexuality and social expectations. Towards the end of the decade, similar material encountered little or no opposition when it was released in the Berlin theaters. William Dieterle & # 39; s Sex in Chains (1928) and Pabst & # 39; s Pandora & # 39; s Box (1929) deal with homosexuality in men and women respectively and were not censored. Homosexuality was also more tangibly present in other films from the period

A scene from Different from the Others (1919), a film made in Berlin, whose main character struggles with his homosexuality. Cinema in the Weimar culture did not shun controversial topics, but dealt with them explicitly. Unlike the others (1919), it was about the conflict between a gay man and his sexuality and social expectations. Towards the end of the decade, similar material encountered little or no opposition when it was released in the Berlin theaters. William Dieterle & # 39; s Sex in Chains (1928) and Pabst & # 39; s Pandora & # 39; s Box (1929) deal with homosexuality in men and women respectively and were not censored. Homosexuality was also more tangibly present in other films from the period

Left: Lesbian magazine, Die Freundin, May 1928. There were twenty-five to thirty individual gay German-language magazines that appeared in Berlin, weekly or monthly in the 1920s. Openly nude and gay titles were displayed in the kiosks. Right: a scene from Different from the Others (1919), a film made in Berlin, whose main character struggles with his homosexuality. Cinema in the Weimar culture did not shun controversial topics, but dealt with them explicitly. Unlike the others (1919), it was about the conflict between a gay man and his sexuality and social expectations. Towards the end of the decade, similar material encountered little or no opposition when it was released in the Berlin theaters. William Dieterle & # 39; s Sex in Chains (1928) and Pabst & # 39; s Pandora & # 39; s Box (1929) deal with homosexuality in men and women respectively and were not censored. Homosexuality was also more tangibly present in other films from the period

Two women buy cocaine on the streets of Berlin from a man known as & # 39; Coke Emil & # 39 ;. He sold the deadly medicine for 5 Deutschmarks in small capsules, and the man in his background works with him to alert the drug dealer when a stranger approaches, May 1929
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Two women buy cocaine on the streets of Berlin from a man known as & # 39; Coke Emil & # 39 ;. He sold the deadly medicine for 5 Deutschmarks in small capsules, and the man in his background works with him to alert the drug dealer when a stranger approaches, May 1929

Two women buy cocaine on the streets of Berlin from a man known as & # 39; Coke Emil & # 39 ;. He sold the deadly medicine for 5 Deutschmarks in small capsules, and the man in his background works with him to alert the drug dealer when a stranger approaches, May 1929

Drag Queens was also spotted on balls and afternoon tea at locations in Berlin.

There were also around 30 separate gay German-language magazines that circulated in Berlin on a weekly or monthly basis. These explicit nudist and gay titles were openly displayed in the kiosks.

When Hitler and the Nazi party took power in 1933, Berlin's vibrant underground culture, experimental artistic efforts and liberal ideals came to an end.

People dance in the early morning at the Berlin Six-Day Races event, November 1927
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People dance in the early morning at the Berlin Six-Day Races event, November 1927

People dance in the early morning at the Berlin Six-Day Races event, November 1927

The presentation of a giant speaker at the International Radio Exhibition in Berlin, Germany, August 1929

The presentation of a giant speaker at the International Radio Exhibition in Berlin, Germany, August 1929

The Fratellini brothers, the most famous clowns in Europe in August 1929 in Berlin, Germany

The Fratellini brothers, the most famous clowns in Europe in August 1929 in Berlin, Germany

Left: the presentation of a giant speaker at the international radio exhibition in Berlin, Germany, August 1929. Right: the Fratellini brothers, the most famous clowns in Europe in August 1929 in Berlin, Germany

The first spring arrival of the General German Automobile Club in Berlin, Germany, April 1928
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The first spring arrival of the General German Automobile Club in Berlin, Germany, April 1928

The first spring arrival of the General German Automobile Club in Berlin, Germany, April 1928

Men drink drinks purchased from a & # 39; flying drink vendor & # 39 ;, (left) who sells illegal alcohol on the streets of Berlin for one German mark per glass. He constantly changes location to prevent police, Berlin, Germany, May 1929

Men drink drinks purchased from a & # 39; flying drink vendor & # 39 ;, (left) who sells illegal alcohol on the streets of Berlin for one German mark per glass. He constantly changes location to prevent police, Berlin, Germany, May 1929

Men drink drinks purchased from a & # 39; flying drink vendor & # 39 ;, (left) who sells illegal alcohol on the streets of Berlin for one German mark per glass. He constantly changes location to prevent police, Berlin, Germany, May 1929

Afternoon teas and large costume balls were held in institutes in Berlin as another location for flamboyant cross-dressers. The balls attracted young male prostitutes with flamboyant cross-dressers and prominent, open homosexuals. This photo was taken in Platz der Republik, central Berlin, 1927

Afternoon teas and large costume balls were held in institutes in Berlin as another location for flamboyant cross-dressers. The balls attracted young male prostitutes with flamboyant cross-dressers and prominent, open homosexuals. This photo was taken in Platz der Republik, central Berlin, 1927

Afternoon teas and large costume balls were held in institutes in Berlin as another location for flamboyant cross-dressers. The balls attracted young male prostitutes with flamboyant cross-dressers and prominent, open homosexuals. This photo was taken in Platz der Republik, central Berlin, 1927

A woman playing with a yo-yo in Charlotten street, central Berlin, circa 1926.

A woman playing with a yo-yo in Charlotten street, central Berlin, circa 1926.

A woman playing with a yo-yo in Charlotten street, central Berlin, circa 1926.

The opening of the International Alliance of Women congress in Berlin, Germany, June 1929.

The opening of the International Alliance of Women congress in Berlin, Germany, June 1929.

The opening of the International Alliance of Women congress in Berlin, Germany, June 1929.

Nazi Minister of People's Enlightenment and Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels began the synchronization of culture, bringing the art into line with the anti-Semitic goals of the Nazis.

The Nazis also implemented various policies that changed the sexual practices of the German people. They created policies that encouraged the birth of Aryan children and prohibited sexual relations between Germans and foreigners.

Gay organizations were banned, scientific books on homosexuality and sexuality in general (such as the Berlin Institut für Sexualwisenschaft) were burned and all LGBTQ people within even the Nazi party were killed.

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