In preparation for the pop-up exhibition “Queering the UL” in February this year, staff were asked to think of items that could feature in the event. This gave me a chance to take a closer look at some intriguing books that had passed through my hands, and which I was surprised to see among the very academic monographs I usually deal with. After a bit of research, I found out they were all in a series called “Bibliothek rosa Winkel,” which documents in fact an important part of German social history.
The publishing house Verlag rosa Winkel, the first dedicated to gay themes in Germany, was founded in 1975 by a group of friends in West Berlin who, wanting to set up a stand of books on homosexuality at their university, realised that they had almost nothing to sell. The expression “rosa Winkel” refers to the pink triangle that homosexuals were made to wear on their clothes in Nazi Germany. The aim of the founders was to give a chance to books dealing with LGBT themes that had been turned down by more mainstream publishers. In 1991 they started the series Bibliothek rosa Winkel, defined as being at the crossroads of history and literature, and whose focus is testimonies or other narratives documenting life as a homosexual at different points in history. As Verlag rosa Winkel went out of business in 2001, the series was taken over by the publisher Männerschwarm Verlag. Continue reading