Schuldige seks. Homoseksuele zedendelicten rondom de Duitse bezettingstijd

A.C.M. Tijsseling

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 2 (Research NOT UU / Graduation UU)


From the 1970s onwards, public debates on the history of the anti-homosexual prosecution during the Second World War gained in intensity in the Netherlands. Representatives of homosexual organisations challenged the national government to recognize the Dutch victims of anti-homosexual Nazi-persecution. The Dutch government opposed such recognition without proof of anti-homosexual persecutions during the occupational years. Dutch historians were greatly influenced by these debates. Against the background of the literature on the horrendous fate of homosexuals in the Third Reich, Dutch publications were primarily concerned with similarities between the Dutch and German histories in the Nazi-era. The statistics, which showed a stagnation – and not an intensification – in the numbers of anti-homosexual prosecutions during the occupational years, sat uneasily with this tendency in historiography. Guilty Sex rewrites the history of homosexual prosecution in the 1940s Netherlands in two respects. First, Guilty sex focuses on the differences between the German and Dutch stories, placing the stagnation in anti-homosexual court cases firmly within the Dutch history of homosexuality. Secondly, contrary to the existing body of Dutch war-literature, Guilty sex approaches ‘homosexuality’ as a variable rather than a given – in the tradition of Michel Foucault and David Halperin. This research analyses the daily practices of police officers, legal officials and forensic experts in the court district of The Hague during the pre-war years, the occupational period and the post-war years. Within these daily practices the main focus lies with the ways in which ‘homosexuality’ was conceptualised by the different agents involved in the legal proceedings against the defendants of homosexual sex crimes. Guilty sex shows that the German concept of ‘homosexuality’ – inscribed in the German anti-homosexual verdict VO 81/1940 criminalising sex between all men – never governed the daily routines in the court district of The Hague. In The Hague the Dutch concept of ‘homosexuality’ – criminalising same-sex sexual relations between adults and persons under the age of 21 years (article 248 bis of the Dutch Criminal Code) – guided legal investigations into homosexual sex crimes, even during the years of the German occupation. Whereas the German verdict enabled the police to bring a case against the youth, the officers within the court district of The Hague were accustomed to envisioning homosexual sex offenders as older men, who seduced and corrupted younger men. They were blind to, even resistant to, the image of younger men actively seeking homosexual relations with other men. Although the literature on homosexuality in the twentieth century in the Netherlands has marked off the years of the occupation as an era of discontinuities, Guilty sex aims to revise this reading. The post-war years are indicated as the era of symbolic changes, not in the least because of the emergence of a self-assured and confident mode of speaking on the part of the defendants. Remarkably, from the late 1940s onward, defendants began claiming human rights in the legal proceedings against them. Guilty sex contributes to a new understanding of the twentieth century history of homosexuality.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Heerma van Voss, L., Primary supervisor, External person
  • Schuyf, J., Co-supervisor, External person
  • Mak, G.A., Co-supervisor, External person
Award date23 Dec 2009
Print ISBNs978-90-9025021-2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2009


  • Specialized histories (international relations, law)
  • Literary theory, analysis and criticism
  • Culturele activiteiten
  • Overig maatschappelijk onderzoek
  • Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis (GEKU)

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