Lesbian Resistance Fighters & Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime, WWII

Lesbians & LGBTQ people did carry out valiant acts of opposition and resistance against the Nazi Regime. Discover some brave lesbian resistance fighters and lesbians who defied the Nazi regime.

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Lesbian Resistance Fighters & Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime   |   Lesbian Nazi Collaborators

Lesbians' Valiant Resistance to The Nazi Regime

LGBT people are not pansies nor cowards. Moreover, being in a minority group we empathise with others who are persecuted. I wish to shine a light on some lesbians and bisexual ladies who did play a role in the opposition and resistance to the The Nazi Party, which is rarely discussed.

Forgive a brief history speil but, I thought one should consider some context to why people bravely acted in opposition and resistance to the Nazi Regime.

Why did Hitler and The Nazi Party Rise To Power?

Following the end of WWI, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles held Germany responsible for starting the war and Germany became liable for the cost of massive material damages and had to pay vast reparations.

... This resulted in Germany's economic collapse and bitter resentment. During the the hyperinflation crisis of 1923 the Weimar government simply printed more money. Prices ran completely out of control, for example a loaf of bread, which cost 250 marks in January 1923, had risen to 200,000 million marks by November 1923. Moreover, the Treaty of Versailles humiliated Germany and many Germans could not get over the defeat of the great, German Empire. The defeated German army command spread the myth that the army had not lost the war on the battlefield, but because they had been betrayed by a "stab in the back" by their government that had wanted to throw in the towel.

Hitler and the emerging Nazis Party utilised propaganda as a stealth tool to exploit people's fear of instability and uncertainty. Nazi propaganda targeted a broad range of Germans and their problems such as "Bread and Work", aimed at the working class and the fear of unemployment and blamed the Jews and Communists for the defeat in WWI. Learn more: The Nazi rise to power.

Popularity of The Nazis Regime
When the Nazis came to power, in 1933, Hitler and the Nazi party were popular as many Germans welcomed the stability and economic growth they thought an authoritarian regime brought which had been missing from Weimar democracy. Moreover, Germans thought that the Nazi regime restored Germany’s international prestige through the rearmament of the German army, which was in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

In the non-armaments industries, the living standards of German workers, however, did not really improve under the Nazis as the nazis were waging war across Europe so wages fell, the number of hours worked rose by 15 per cent and workers could be blacklisted by employers for questioning their working conditions - serious accidents in factories increased.

The Bloody Nazis Regime
Hitler and the Nazis wanted to create a "master race" and at first persecuted Jews and "Untermenschen" / Non-Aryans such as Jews and encouraged or forced Jews to leave the German Reich. "Non-Aryans" and "undesirable people" (Untermenschen) included:
Political opponents
Religious figures
Any out-spoken critics (including journalists and artists)
Physically and mentally disabled...

After the Nazis occupied Poland in 1939, they began segregating Jews in ghettos, usually in the most run-down area of a city. On 22 June 1941, Operation Barbarossa commenced with the Nazis invasion of the Soviet Union. The atrocities carried out by the Nazis in Ukraine were among the Nazis’ first acts of mass murder in pursuit of the Final Solution: in August 1941, 23,600 Jews were massacred at the Ukrainian town of Kamianets-Podilskyi and a month later, over one weekend, 34,000 Jews were shot by the Nazis at Babyn Yar, on the outskirts of Kyiv. Watch the shocking documentary Ukraine: Holocaust Ground Zero.

On January 20, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of Germany's Security Police, held a secret meeting known as the Wannsee Conference. Leading police and civilian officials discussed the continuing implementation of the "Final Solution to the Jewish question" i.e. the mass murder all Jews "within reach", which was not just restricted to the European continent. According to USHMM, The Nazi leaders envisioned killing 11 million Jews as part of the "Final Solution." Imagine if this targeted death warrant applied to the LGBT community, or any ethnic group?

LGBTQ People Under The Nazi Regime
Germany's Paragraph 175 (of 1871) criminalised sexual relations between men, but did not stipulate against sexual relations between women. A law was drafted, however, in 1907, that would persecute lesbians as well, but the Reichstag (German Parliament) at the time, rejected this proposal. Although some of German Society frowned upon lesbianism / were homophobic, it was not illegal. The Nazis, however, did crackdown and raided and harassed the gay community and their meeting places, culminating in shutting down all gay meeting places. Historians have inferred that, egomaniacly, the Nazis saw lesbians, first and foremost, as women to bare children for their "master race" and bizarrely concluded that Aryan lesbians could easily be persuaded or forced to bear children for the Third Reich. Is there any evidence of lesbians being forced to have sex with a man to give birth to a child for the "Motherland"? If you were Jewish and gay... that was a one way deportation to a concentration camp and death.

Opposition and Resistance To The Nazi Regime
"Opposition" to the Nazi government was reflected by acts which openly defied the regime, while "Resistance" was any active attempt to overthrow Hitler and the Nazis. Within the German Reich, at first those who spoke out against Hitler and his policies faced intimidation and threats from the Gestapo, imprisonment, and in some cases execution. Later "enemies of the state" were sent to forced labour / concentration camps.

In every occupied country, underground resistance movements sprung up carrying out various activities ranging from non-cooperation to producing underground anti-fascist leaflets and magazines, hiding Jews and crashed Ally pilots and even to outright warfare and the recapturing of towns.

Lesbian Opposition and Resistance To The Nazi Regime
Though there are indications of Opposition and Resistance in some Lesbians' online biographies, seldom can one discover an article that commemorates Lesbian / LGBTQ Opposition and Resistance to the Nazis during WW2. The valiant Lesbians collated herein are some who I found while producing this site but for sure there are many more unsung LGBTQ heroes who should be commemorated. Moreover, there are some who I wished to include but as it was ambiguous if they were indeed lesbian / bi, out of courtesy I refrained. Do come back as the page will grow.

Never Forget. Never Again
Though the exact number is unfathomable, but as a rough estimate:
  • WWII - 50 – 56 million deaths caused directly by the war (including military and civilian fatalities) - Source: (hmmm, Wiki)
  • WWII - 19 – 28 million deaths from war-related disease and famine - Source: (hmmm, Wiki)
  • WWII - 16,634,000 civilians and captured soldiers killed by the Nazi regime and it's collaborators. Source: USHMM
Behind every name there is a story - I pass on the torch to you, to keep continuing the research and build biographies for the names on those haunting deportation / execution / death lists, and, where possible to put a pic to that name. And for consideration, some gay Nazi victims may not have had relatives who would keep their memories burning, so let's do it for them.

If you are using a translator - so sorry, it may not translate the gendered pronouns correctly which I can't fix :( As you will suss - this page is clearly not an excerpt from an academic paper but just an impassioned salute to perhaps some unsung gay humanitarians. If any information is incorrect - my hugest and sincerest apologies. Alas, I am collating what info is out on the web. Please do email with any suggested corrections and I will amend accordingly. Moreover, during my research there were some stellar ladies I wished to include herein, but within the source material, it was ambiguous / concealed if they were indeed lesbians / bi.

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Bertha Pappenheim

Bertha Pappenheim aka Anna O

German Jew Activist: 1859 – 1936

As the founder of the Jewish feminist movement in Germany, Bertha Pappenheim, was one of the most famous Jewish women in Europe AND, when Hitler camp to power she helped friends and acquaintances to emigrate to Palestine ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore

Claude Cahun

French Jew Photographer: 1894 – 1954

For several years, Claude Cahun and life partner Marcel Moore heroically risked their lives by producing and distributing anti-Nazi fliers to the German soldiers who were occupying the island of Jersey ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Major Wanda Gertz

Major Wanda Gertz

Major of the "Dysk" Female Military Unit: 1896 – 1958

Major Wanda Gertz created and commanded the first Polish female military resistance unit, which in occupied Warsaw, undertook sabotage attacks and after being arrested, she became a prisoner-of-war ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Rose Valland

Rose Valland

French Art Historian: 1898 – 1980

Rose Valland is deservedly one of the most decorated women in French history: she became a French spy to save priceless art from the Nazis ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Evelyn Irons

Evelyn Irons

Scottish Journalist: 1900 – 2000

Evelyn Irons was the first female war correspondent in WWII to be decorated with the French Croix de Guerre ("War Cross") ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Isabel Pell

Isabel Pell

American Socialite: 1900 – 1951

Isabel Pell was an American socialite who was the French Resistance's "la femme à la mèche blonde" and led a contingent of American soldiers through enemy lines to safety ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich

German-American Actress: 1901 - 1992

In the 1930 movie Morrocco, a tuxedo-clad Dietrich gave cinema and, us, one of the first on-screen lesbian kisses. Femme fatale Marlene, helped fund Jews and French dissidents to escape from Germany ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Bet van Beeren

Bet van Beeren

Dutch Bar Owner: 1902 - 1967

Flamboyant Bet van Beeren was the legendary bar owner of LGBT friendly Café 't Mandje (The Basket Café) in Amsterdam and, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands helped the Dutch resistance ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Nadine Hwang

Nadine Hwang

Chinese-Belgian ...: 1902 - 1972

Nadine Hwang had worked for and was a lover of the legendary lesbian, Natalie Clifford Barney, who was famous for her sapphic salon. Denounced as a French resistance member she was sent to Ravensbrück Women's Concentration Camp ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Hilde Radusch

Hilde Radusch

German Political Activist: 1903 – 1994

Hilde Radusch was a German political activist deeply involved with the Berlin anti-fascist resistance movement ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Éveline Garnier

Éveline Garnier

French Librarian: 1904 - 1989

French resistance member Éveline Garnier helped save the lives of Jews, repatriate shot down allied airmen, infiltrate the French collaborationist Vichy Government ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Frieda Belinfante

Frieda Belinfante

Dutch Philharmonic Cellist: 1904 – 1995

Frieda Belinfante was a talented Dutch-Jewish cellist, one of the first female conductors, a hero of the Dutch resistance and victim of American homophobia ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Andrée Jacob

Andrée Jacob

French Civil Servant: 1906 - 2002

French resistance member Andrée Jacob helped save the lives of Jews, infiltrate the collaborationist Vichy Government and arrested Vichy director Bernard Faÿ ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

African-American Dancer: 1906 - 1975

Josephine Baker, was a hugely popular entertainer who, as a French Resistance member, smuggled coded messages, written in invisible ink on her music sheets, between the French Resistance and the Allies ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Toto Koopman

Toto Koopman

Dutch-Javanese Model & Spy: 1908 – 1991

Audacious Toto Koopman was a haute couture model who turned spy, escaped twice an Italian detention camp, survived Ravensbrück. ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Thérèse Pierre

Thérèse Pierre

French Teacher: 1908 – 1943

"They got nothing from me." Thérèse Pierre was a teacher and courageous French resistance fighter who died after being tortured by the German Gestapo ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Elvira Chaudoir

Elvira Chaudoir

Peruvian Gambler & Double-agent for the British: 1910/1911 – 1996

The spy who helped change the course of D-Day - Elvira Chaudoir was a Peruvian socialite and during WWII, was a double-agent for the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Marie-Thérèse Auffray

Marie-Thérèse Auffray

French Painter: 1912 – 1990

Marie-Thérèse Auffray was a French expressionist painter, who in the French Resistance and with her partner Noëlle Guillou, helped save Jews and Allied paratroopers ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Hilda Gobbi

Hilda Gobbi

Hungarian Actress: 1913 – 1988

Hilda Gobbi was an award-winning Hungarian theatre and movie actress and WWII resistance member who created forged documents to exempt men from military service (to fight for the Germans) ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Elsa Conrad

Ilse Totzke

German Musician: 1913 – 1987

Ilse Totzke was a German musician who fell in love with a gifted Jewish flautist, after two failed escapes to Switzerland with her "friend", she was deported to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Phillis Abry

Phillis Abry

American WAAC Pinup: 1920 - 1993

Unbeknown to the US military, WAACs Phillis Abry and her girlfriend appeared in a US recruitment posts which represented the ideal image of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps! ... more

Lesbians Who Defied The Nazi Regime: Sotiria Bellou

Sotiria Bellou

Greek Rebetiko Singer: 1921 – 1997

Sotiria was one of the greatest traditional Rebetiko performers and a Greek Resistance member who was imprisoned by the Nazis for selling an illegal communist newspaper ... more

The Bad: Some Lesbian Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators

Regardless of the atrocities Hitler and his Nazis committed, there were many Nazi collaborators in Germany and across occupied countries, including Lesbian and Jewish Lesbian Nazi collaborators. Forgive me but I personally think it is important not to turn a blind eye, but to out it, address it and in some, cases shame Lesbian Nazi collaborators (of any evil regime). The cases I have so far found reflect different types of collaboration.


The "lucky" lesbians who survived Nazi persecution, was by:

  • Questionable Nazi supporters - Although Jewish, Gertrude Stein collaborated with the Vichy France, a regime that deported more than 75,000 Jews to Nazi concentration camps, of whom only three percent survived the Holocaust. When Vichy director Bernard Faÿ (who anti-Semitic) was tried as a collaborator, Gertrude Stein wrote a letter on Faÿ's behalf. Condemned to forced labour for life Faÿ managed to escape to Switzerland in 1951, the funding of the escape came from Alice B. Toklas. After the war Gertrude Stein continued to praise Marshal Philippe Pétain, even when Pétain had been sentenced to death by a French court for treason.
  • Cold-blooded, fame-seeking Nazi collaborators - entertainers like French Cabaret Singer Suzy Solidor whose club "La Vie Parisienne", was popular with German officers. Neither are there witness statements to indicate she was indeed spying for the allies nor did she ever fight to clear her name.
  • Devoted Nazi supporters - like German SS Camp Guard Anneliese Kohlmann. What possessed her to volunteer to such a hideous post and inflict such barbaric treatment so zealously on prisoners?
  • For Survival / forced under duress Nazi collaborators - like monstrous Ans van Dijk, who was forced to collaborate after Gestapo torture and threats to murder her family members. One can't imagine what one would do under those circumstances to save your family. But would you take the forced role with such fervour and become Amsterdam's 'best V-woman of the Sicherheitsdienst' trapping at least at least 145 people over half were sent to concentration camps.

An idiom comes to mind: Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. My father was in the Scottish army, my mother helped hide her half Jewish boyfriend in Berlin. It's in my blood - I would have helped Jews and "undesirables".

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Renée Schwarzenbach-Wille

Renée Schwarzenbach-Wille

Swiss Olympic Equestrian: 1883 – 1959

Renée Schwarzenbach-Wille was a German Olympic equestrian and Nazis supporter who helped German Nazis who had fled to Switzerland, to escape the Allies ... more

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Lea Manti

Lea Manti

German Whistler: 1886 – 1960

Lea Manti (born Martha Mandt) was an internationally renowned German musical... whistler who during WWII performed in occupied areas and for German soldiers stationed in Riga, Latvia ... more

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Mary Wigman

Mary Wigman

German Dancer & Choreographer: 1886 – 1973

Was Mary Wigman, a German pioneer of modern expressionist dance, a Nazi sympathiser? ... more

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Violette Morris

Violette Morris

French Athlete: 1893 – 1944

Though Violette Morris drove French ambulances for the Red Cross during the WWI, during WWII, she was accused of collaborating with Nazis and was nicknamed the "Hyena of the Gestapo" ... more

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Suzy Solidor

Suzy Solidor

French Cabaret Singer: 1900 – 1983

Flamboyant Suzy Solidor was a legendary yet controversial French cabaret singer and socialite who entertained Parisians and... Nazi officers. After the war, Suzy Solidor was tried, convicted by the Épuration légale as a Nazis collaborator and had to leave France ... more

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Ans van Dijk

Ans van Dijk

Dutch-Jew Nazi Collaborator : 1905 – 1948

Monstrous, Ans van Dijk made history as the only woman in the Netherlands to be sentenced to death for collaborating with the Nazis during World War II. Though Jewish, she betrayed over a hundred Jews including her own family, many of whom died as a consequence. ... more

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Zarah Leander

Zarah Leander

Swedish Singer & Actress: 1907 - 1981

Controversial Zarah Leander was a Swedish singer and actress who was one of the most celebrated female screen idols in German Nazi Cinema 1936 – 43, playing... more

Lesbians Who Were Nazi Sympathisers / Collaborators: Anneliese Kohlmann

Anneliese Kohlmann

Tram Conductor & German SS Camp Guard: 1921 – 1977

Anneliese Kohlmann was a German SS camp guard at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp, Hamburg who was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to only two years imprisonment ... more

LGBTQ Documentaries WWII - LGBTQ Resistance

The Queer History of Weimar Germany (2022)

Bravo Kaz Rowe, for making your own home documentary! During the Weimar era Berlin was a real queer Sin City. The Queer History of Weimar Germany explores how Berlin became the intellectual creative and LGBT centre of Europe

LGBTQ Documentary Dir: Kaz Rowe

Watch Queer Documentary on Youtube

World War II (Short Version) (2019)

Both World Wars should not never be forgotten. To date, World War II (1939 – 45) has been the deadliest military conflict in history involving more than 30 countries. Check out this short outlining the history of World War II.

Youtuber: Geo History

Watch Queer Documentary

European Antisemitism from Its Origins to the Holocaust (2022)

Over 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust - that's almost the equivalent of the population of Sydney / more than the population of Scotland! This documentary reveals how anti-Jewish hostility goes back many centuries - to the era of early Christianity and the Middle Ages and became core elements of Nazi ideology.

Youtuber: Geo History

Watch Queer Documentary

The Nazi Persecution of Gay People (2020)

From March 1933, the Nazis drove the gay community underground and waged a violent campaign against homosexuality. Over the next 12 years, more than 100,000 gay men were arrested for violating Germany's law against "unnatural indecency among men". Most were sent to concentration camps and, some had medical experiments forced on them, in the aim at "curing" them.

Youtuber: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Watch Queer Documentary

LGBTQ Documentaries: Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening

Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening (2018)

Bi Josephine Baker, a.k.a the "Black Venus", the "Black Pearl", was a hugely popular African-American entertainer in Europe particularly in her adopted home of France, French Resistance agent and civil rights activist. After WWII, Josephine Baker was awarded the French: Resistance Medal by the French Committee of National Liberation, the Croix de Guerre by the French military, and was named a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.

Biographical Documentary Dir: Ilana Navaro

Watch Queer Documentary

Sapphic Movies: Coming Out Under Fire

Coming Out Under Fire (1994)

Based on Allan Bérubé's book Coming Out Under Fire, the documentary examines the attitudes toward homosexuality in the U.S. Forces during WWII. During WWII, U.S. military policy regarding gay and lesbian soldiers was harsh, punishments inflicted on homosexual soldiers, included dishonourable discharges that prevented the collection of benefits.

Coming Out Under Fire has won 13 awards including the Special Jury Recognition award at the Sundance Film Festival.

LGBTQ Documentary Dir: Arthur Dong

Watch Queer Documentary on Youtube

The Bisexual Anti-Fascist - Marlene Dietrich (2019)

German born Marlene Dietrich was a prominent a member of the clandestine "sewing circle" of lezza and bi hollywood ladies. For her support during WWII she recieved: The U.S. Medal of Freedom, French Chevalier (later upgraded to Commandeur) of the Légion d'honneur and a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Israeli Medallion of Honor and a Chevalier de l'Ordre de Leopold from Belgium.

Biographical Documentary Dir: Youtuber, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

Watch Queer Documentary

LGBTQ Documentaries: Willem & Frieda - Defying Nazis

Willem & Frieda - Defying Nazis (2023)

Stephen Fry touchingly explores an inspiring and moving story of forgery, sabotage and audacity by a small Dutch Resistance group that saved thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps led by a gay artist and lesbian cellist. The gay painter was Willem Arondeus and the lesbian cellist was Frieda Belinfante. Not only were they willing to fight and die for the rights of LGBTQ people, they were fighting for all oppressed groups.

LGBTQ Documentary Dir: John Hay

Watch Queer Documentary on Youtube