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three pairs of lovers with space


The following is the one of the sections of the seventh chapter of  Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience between Men and Boys (New York, 1976), entitled "The Uses of History", and introduced here.

Who Dares Speak of Love?

In Central Europe in the 1920’s and early 1930’s there was another effort to revive the Greek ideal of pedagogic pederasty, in the movement of “wandering youth.” Modern gay-homosexuality also can trace some of its roots to that movement of men and boys who wandered around the countryside, hiking and singing hand in hand, enjoying nature, life together, and their sexuality.[1] Ultimately Hitler used and transformed the movement - much as the Romans had abused the paiderastia of the ancient Greeks - expanding and building upon its romanticism as a basis for the Nazi party. Until destroyed by Hitler, however, the “wandering youth” constituted the “first free adolescent society in history,” although there was some pederast precedent among the troubadours of an earlier age. Romantic love and adolescence are both fairly modern inventions, and their implications for pederasty were not noticed until sexual culture began to change under the impact of Freud’s teachings and the beginnings of the sex revolution with its emphasis on sex fo"r pleasure. The wandering youth movement was a sex freedom culture, with a strong emphasis on camaraderie among boys, girls, and whomever. It was a forerunner of the post-war, drug-seeking, rock-music-oriented, hippie and related subcultures of adolescent society. Growing out of the German Boy Scout movement, this “friendship and freedom” trend was pederast at its roots, but it also flowered into gay-homosexuality with an emphasis on love. One pederast says of the movement: “Something worthy of the word love existed in the wandering youth and those who oppose pederasty as exploitive may be fighting a rear-guard action, for the age of sexual exploitation is about over. Youth will and ought to be protected. Only in areas of great poverty and neglect do remnants of exploitive pederasty survive; and all reasonable citizens, as well as anyone who speaks for love, can only condemn all exploitation, especially of the young. It will never be ended by law, however, but only as the young organize to protect themselves and to assert their sexual rights. The wandering youth of the 1920’s, happy in their singing and playful sex, established for the young the conviction that they are neither to be exploited nor overprotected out of their right to enjoy life and sex - especially not to be forced to accept the view that sex, when one is young, must always be passionate and deadly serious. Sometimes adolescents, and even adults, feel playful, and sometimes males can love each other. We cannot now turn back the clock, for adolescent gay activists are daring to speak of love, and of their right to love whom they please.”

German Wandervogel (Wandering Bird) group from Berlin, ca. 1930


[1] Hans Blüher, “The German Boy Scout Movement as Erotic Phenomenon” [Rossman is here giving his own English title to a German work called Die deutsche Wandervogel-Bewegung als erotisches Phänomen: ein Beitrag zur Erkenntnis der sexuellen Inversion, better translated as “The German Wandering Bird movement as erotic phenomenon: a contribution to the understanding of sexual inversion”] in Die Rolle der Erotic in der Mannlichen Gesellschaft (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett, 1962), Fritz Willets, “Vandervogel in Pre-Hitler Germany,” Journal of Criminal Psychopathology 3, Jan. 1943, W. Z. Laquer, Young Germany (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962). [Author’s footnote]




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