At the age of 99, our contemporary witness Wolfgang Lauinger died in the Budge Foundation on the night of the 20th to the 21st of December. An obituary.
Wolfgang Lauinger, born in 1918, was a thoroughly life-affirming, positive-thinking and smart man who fought the fight against the injustice of the homosexual trials of 1950/51 throughout his life. Almost 100 years old, he was mentally as active as you can imagine. He was born as the second child of a Christian mother and a Jewish father in Switzerland, but then moved to Frankfurt am Main as an early child. Fortunately, as a “half-Jew” he was not deported to concentration camps, but was subjected to massive discrimination during his schooldays and years of education. What emerged in the course of our conversations with him was the pragmatism which Herr Lauinger had already displayed throughout his life: he tried to change what he could change, and he accepted as a given what he could not change.
He was a so-called “swing kid” in circles in Frankfurt, who revered the American way of life and music. With the unusual for that time conditions long hair he was noticeable and was an eye-catcher even in younger years. As a 20-year-old, he was detained for seven months on suspicion of gambling and the possession of a piece of leather, but later released due to lack of evidence. After his release, he was again imprisoned by the Gestapo, but fled. He found work in a factory in Pforzheim, whose foreman covered it and a few years later warned and sent away when the Nazi henchmen were on his trail.
After the war, he was charged in 1950 by a judge of homosexuality under §175 of the Criminal Code after Gestapo interrogation protocols were used as “evidence” of his homosexuality. This fact has shocked us in his stories. He was held in solitary confinement for a further six months, but was released in 1951 on grounds of lack of evidence. Since the mid-nineties he fought for the rehabilitation of the sentenced according to §175 Penal Code.
He considered education, and above all the transfer of knowledge from this period, to be an important means of promoting and preserving democracy. Also on Christopher Street Day in Frankfurt am Main, he last attended the official CSD rallies in 2015 and spoke in front of thousands of people. He stood up for his opinion and fought until the end for his rehabilitation, which was very close to his heart. His sly, mischievous smile distinguished Mr. Lauinger as a charismatic person who has experienced a lot, but has never let himself get beaten down. His last wish was fulfilled on December 28, 2017, when he was buried under a huge oak tree in the Jewish cemetery of his community in Balduinstein. Three of us from HEIMATSUCHER had the honor to say goodbye to Wolfgang Lauinger and his family and closest friends. We will tell his story.
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