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The literary salon at Richard Schultz

25. April 2002 – 29. July 2002

Richard Schultz (1889-1977) was born in Rehna/Mecklenburg and moved to Berlin in 1914. After training in London, Paris and Luxor he found employment as chef de service at the Bristol Hotel, Unter den Linden. In 1944 the hotel was destroyed and Richard Schultz without a job. In 1946, however, he started work for the Cultural Association for German Democratic Renewal (Kulturbund zur demokratischen rneuerung Deutschlands) and until 1951 co-ordinated receptions for politicians, writers and other artists at the association’s cultural club.

Schultz engaged himself in the homosexual movement during the Weimar Republic and was a member of the so-called Community of Our Kind (Gemeinschaft der Eigenen). He attended the Saturday evening meetings organised by Adolf Brand, with whom he kept in touch until the latter’s death in 1945.

In the 1950s he resumed his former activity and joined the Society for Sexual Reform(Gesellschaft für Reform des Sexualrechts). Following Brand’s example, he held a literary salon in his Charlottenburg apartment at Fredericiastrasse 5A from 1925 onward. With great caution he succeeded in carrying on the salon during the Nazi era and continued to do so till shortly before he died.

Richard Schultz’s guests were part of a close network. This information exchange among like-minded evolved around him. From 1933 to 1945 he was thus able to offer a sanctuary for many under threat. The exhibition depicts the life of Richard Schultz and the history of his salon. It also highlights several illustrious personalities in his wide circle of friends.

These biographies show how homosexuals developed a range of survival strategies under various social conditions. Among them are the photographer Jaro von Tucholka who, as a protective measure, married the teacher Friedrich Weigelt; the actor Hans Henninger who committed suicide rather than being arrested by the Gestapo; the writer Arnold Bauer who was connected to the well-known resistance group Rote Kapelle (Red Band).

The display, based on the vast estate left by Richard Schultz, allows for an unusual close look at his life. Apart from numerous photos of Schultz, his friends and colleagues, a section of his impressive library and art collection will be shown. Furthermore, there will be leaflets, letters and personal documents, among them letters from the front written by his partner Hans Spann who died in Russia in 1944; also letters by Hans Laabs, an artist living in Ibiza, who was a close friend of Schultz in the 1960s.

Curator: Karl-Heinz Steinle