Monday, February 7, 2011

Today in Gay History

During this week, in fact on February 7th, 1941, an incident took place in Hamburg, Germany during World War II. As the Nazi’s reign of terror continued, many gay couples had one man dress as a woman to avoid being caught. One such couple, Franz Liederspool and his lover, Burt Nowitski were out for casual evening of beers and weinershnitzel when the Nazi’s noticed that one of them was actually a woman. The men ran through the crowded streets of Hamburg trying to escape the Nazi’s when they ended up in a dark alley.

Knowing that if they were caught together they were doomed, Franz Liederspool told Burt Nowitsk, who was dressed as the woman, to go into the back entrance of a local burlesque house. Little did Franz know that the door actually led right to the stage. For the next three hours the Nazi’s hunted for the gay couple while Burt performed with some of the best leg kicks that the German people had ever seen. Not only did the Nazi’s not find them, but the soldiers eventually grew tired and went for some R&R at the very burlesque house that Burt was working at. It was quite an ironic twist of fate, indeed.

Years later the movies “La Cage au Folles” and “The Bird Cage” were loosely based on their story.

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