How Did Gottfried von Cramm, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Manasse Herbst Die?

As a documentary living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s Benjamin Cantu-directed ‘Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate’ simply breaks all bounds to bring us sheer heartbreak. That’s because it incorporates not only archival footage but also exclusive interviews with historians and key people alike to really underscore the impact of Nazis on the LGBTQ+ community. Yet for now, if you just wish to learn more about the ultimate fate of Gottfried von Cramm, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Manasse Herbst — three queer men of that time — we’ve got you covered.

How Did Gottfried von Cramm Die?

While there’s no denying Gottfried was a talented professional tennis player who had even won a few International Majors in the 1930s, everything turned upside down for him just prior to the war. The truth is the Nazi regime wished to exploit his appearance as a tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed male as a symbol of Aryan supremacy, but he outrightly refused to identify with their beliefs. He was thus briefly jailed in 1938 on the grounds of his homosexual relationship with Manasse Herbst while he was still happily married to Elisabeth Lisa von Dobeneck (1930-1937) — she seemingly knew of and was okay with the affair owing to the trust they held.

Though little did Gottfried realize at the time this sole mark against his name would result in him being prohibited from ever representing his country in tennis again, per Nazi regulations. Nevertheless, once everything was said and done, the 1952 retired athlete was decorated by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany with the nation’s highest sports award, the Silver Laurel Leaf.

We should actually mention that Gottfried briefly became the topic of gossip as he tied the knot with Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton in 1955, only for them to amicably divorce in 1959. As for his demise, the 67-year-old (plus his driver) sadly passed away on November 8, 1976, when his car collided with a truck near Cairo, Egypt — the Chairman-President of Lawn Tennis Club Rot-Weiss was there for business.

How Did Magnus Hirschfeld Die?

If there’s just one word that can ever be used to describe German physician Magnus Hirschfeld, it would have to be revolutionary owing to his unparalleled contribution to the field of sexology, in particular. After all, the reportedly closeted homosexual not only advocated for queer rights but also studied individual behaviors, interests, as well as patterns to help their community as a whole.

It hence comes as no surprise Magnus launched the first LGBTQ+ advoc acy-research organization ever to exist — Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (translation: Institue of Sexology/Sexual Research). This philosophy, philology, plus medicine specialist was also known for founding the Scientific Humanitarian Committee in Berlin in 1897 and the World League for Sexual Reform in 1921.

But alas, because every bit of Magnus’ being as well as work went against what Nazis stood for, they sacked his entire institute in 1933 and essentially forced him into exile in France. It was there the 67-year-old Jew unfortunately passed away on May 14, 1935 — it was his birthday, and the cause was a heart attack while he was inside his apartment at 63 Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

How Did Manasse Herbst Die?

Although mostly known as Gottfried von Cramm’s once partner, the truth is Austria-Hungary-born Manasse Herbst was so much more — he was a movie actor, theater performer, and a singer. In fact, while the Jew was secretly involved with the tennis star in the early 1930s, he’d participated in 416 performances of ‘White Horse Inn’ operetta, just to go out of work as soon as the Nazis rose to power.

From what we can tell, Manasse fled Germany in fear for his life in 1936 at 23 with the help of Gottfried, whom he reportedly later personally thanked, only to soon become a proud US citizen. In fact, he actually eventually managed to build a home for himself in Hallandale, Florida, where he sadly passed away at the age of 83 on January 3, 1997 — the cause of his death has never been made clear, yet it could be natural.

Read More: Where Was Eldorado Located? Does it Still Exist?