The two questions I’ve encountered most when talking about Resistance: The LGBT Fight Against Fascism in WWII are whether it was difficult to find LGBT folks to write about in the 1920s to the 1940s and were they all closeted? The answers are that it was remarkably easy to find LGBT folks to write about and that the vast majority were out.
In Europe, the period immediately preceding WWII was remarkable progressive. Black American artists moved to France, where there was less racism, lesbians flocked to Paris, and there was a flourishing LGBT culture in Berlin. This enlightened and vibrant atmosphere emboldened many LGBT folks to be out about their orientation and identity and because they were already out before the war, it became easier for the government to identify, arrest, and imprison LGBT folks once the Nazis gained power in the early 1930s.
I wanted this book to be more than an account of what our LGBT forebearers did during WWII, more than a dry litany of bravery, and their lives were so fascinating that this became imperative. As I researched and wrote about them, I fell completely in love with each man and woman in this book. I wanted to write about the context of their lives pre-war, during the war, and post-war. How did they react to the rise of fascism in Europe? What were their lives like before, during, and after the war? What kind of art did they make? Did they join underground Resistance groups? Did they find love? Did they help people escape death? What was their everyday life like? Were they imprisoned?
All of these questions are answered in this fully illustrated historical biography, along with discussion of the progressive Weimar Republic in Berlin, the flourishing lesbian scene in Paris in the 1920s and 30s, and how pre-war Germany rabidly progressed from a progressive democracy to a Nazi led dictatorship within a few short years.