Post WWI Venereal Disease Education

Grunert, Oskar E. BRENNENDE MENSCHEN. Ein Beitrag zur Bekämpfung der Geschlechtskrankheiten. Schauspiel in 2 Akten und einem Vorspiel in Versen. Die Schaubühne im Dienste der hygienischen Volksbelehrung! [Itchy People. A contribution to the fight against venereal diseases. Play in 2 acts and a prelude in verse. The stage in the service of public hygiene instruction!].>

No location]: [handmade, likely by the author], [ca. 1920]. 275 by 220mm (10¾ by 8¾ inches). Original stapled paper wrappers; [1], 9, 20, 20 pp. (A total of 50 pages, some page numbers incorrect — but item is complete).

Fighting Syphilis on Stage in 1920’s Germany 

Prelude with 5 scenes;

Act I with 6 scenes;

Act II with 7 scenes.

Single sided typed carbon copy paper. Very likely a singular unique object. In German. Last page with a stamp of the police commission Karlsbad (stamp in German and Czech). The stamp indicates police censorship or confiscation. 

Wrappers good; interior very good — some light foxing and light soiling. 

A play intended to educate a post-World War I audience on the dangers of syphilis while also providing social criticism of prevailing social mores: For example, the play argues against abstinence and portrays premarital sex as natural. The setting: a doctor’s office where various protagonists meet up with STD” and Prostitution” as characters in their lives.

The writing is quite racy. For example, the character Prostitution” states:

[Sweet are the sins, intoxicating wine

In rustling silk I encase their extremities…

Venus vulgaris, in German a street whore

One of many and yet not like all.]

However, when our fallen man visits the doctor, he reassures him:

[On sexual abstinence, I have a slightly different opinion. Opinions differ but based on my experience I can tell you that strict sexual abstinence is the basis of certain physical and mental diseases. Sexual abstinence does not result in outstanding personalities. Rather it creates harmless wimps who sink underwater and drown in the crowd.]

The author, Grunert is likely the same Oskar E. Grunert who was the director of party education and culture in the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).

We are fascinated by the power of the stage as a public service on the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

At the time of cataloguing, no other copies for sale. No record of this item in OCLC or KVK.


In stock

Stock Code: 1264A20 Collection:


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