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Peter Schult

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Rare photograph of Peter Schult, likely towards the end of his life.

Peter Schult (born June 17, 1928, Berlin - died April 25, 1984, Munich) was an anarchist German writer and journalist, and, from the 1970s, a prominent participant and protagonist in public debates on sexual morality and sexual politics, especially homosexuality and pedophilia. This page provides details about Schult's life, his openness about being and living as a practicing pederast/MAP, and his participation and status as a key figure in the German 1st wave of the MAP Movement.

A biography of Schult was published (in German only) by Prof. Florian G. Mildenberger in 2006, titled "Beispiel Peter Schult – Pädophilie im öffentlichen Diskurs" (Peter Schult - Pedophilia in Public Discourse).[1] We have translated this book and provided summary paragraphs and key quotes on our article: Beispiel Peter Schult.

The life and left-wing politics of Peter Schult

Schult was raised in poverty and never knew his biological father. He briefly saw military service at the end of the Second World War and escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp in 1945, before fleeing to West Germany, working for a mine-clearing service in the Baltic Sea until February 1946. Returning home, he witnessed his mother's suicide and left the family home forever, surviving and being imprisoned for black market trading, automobile theft, and engaging in robberies with a youth gang. From 1950, Schult led a respectable life as an active political liberal, directed a youth home and was briefly married. In the summer of 1954, he was arrested and sentenced to five months in prison for "serious indecency with persons under the age of 21". At the time, homosexual sex was de facto illegal, and sex with person under the age of 21 was an aggravating legal factor. Schult subsequently resigned from his position as deputy federal chairman of the Young Democrats, vice-president of the “Liberal Youth of Europe”, and head of a men's dormitory in Stuttgart (Germany) where runaway youths were admitted.

From 1955 to July 1961, he served in the French Foreign Legion and was "transferred to Algeria in May 1957 to fight for "France's honor" - and possibly to die" (Mildenberger, p. 90) in the Algerian War.[2] He deserted towards the end of the war, after becoming convinced of the conflict's injustice and inhumanity.[3] He was imprisoned for drug dealing and homosexual relations in the 1960s and - during a later stretch of imprisonment - worked for the German far-left prisoner support group Red Aid, participating in a hunger strike to support the group and protest solitary confinement in May 1973. During this time, the prison administration tried to discipline him through isolation, but this only provoked an increase in public support for Schult. For example, after being encouraged to contact Schult, the filmmakers Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta regularly visited Schult in prison and corresponded with him, remaining on friendly terms until Schult's death in 1984.[4]

After his release on February 21, 1974, he worked in the left-wing collective Red Aid Munich, contributed to the Munich city newspaper Blatt and the magazine Autonomie. With Herbert Röttgen, the publisher of left-wing Trikont publishing house, and his lawyer Jurgen Arnold, Schult campaigned against the ban on the memoirs of the Left-wing militant Bommi Baumann, organizing a solidarity campaign by 380 public figures and achieving the release of a new edition of Bommi Baumann's work. Schult wrote introductions and commentaries.[5] Schult was hostile to left-wing antisemitism[6] and occasional terrorist sympathies on the Left.[7]

Schult and MAP politics

The Schult Affair

After the success of the Bommi Baumann anti-censorship campaign which brought many otherwise divided prominent Left-wing figures together, as diverse as Alice Schwarzer[8] and Daniel Cohn-Bendit[9], according to Mildenberger, "both local and national authorities were very interested in criminalizing Peter Schult [...] to damage his reputation and to discredit the circles that supported him, leading to a breakaway movement that was bound to result in a loss of credibility for large sections of the left." (p. 126). Schult was accused in June 1976, of taking an 8-year-old female ("Ramona G.") home to have sex with, putting her back on the street afterwards. The expert witness, child and youth psychiatry professor Reinhart Lempp who had researched iatrogenic harm and positive age-disparate sex[10] challenged the prosecution's witness as untrustworthy (and the alleged sexual activity), with an opposing opinion coming from a psychologist who was favored. The trial saw tumultuous discussions and division in left-wing communities, with representatives of the women's movement storming the editorial office of the city newspaper "Blatt," demanding that Schult be expelled and banned from writing. Former "comrades" plundered his private archive, while his friends accused the plunderers of having adopted the prosecution's ideas without considering Schult's homosexuality, which contradicted the accusations. Schult "vehemently denied sexual contacts" (Mildenberger, p. 128) with the young female and objected to being seen only as a "pedophile," considering his homosexual attraction to young people as expressing left-wing values:

To state it once again with all clarity: in my case, this is not primarily about a sexual problem - because I did not commit the sexual offenses of which I was accused - but only for my political activities, for my activities in the Red Help, for my articles and essays against the justice system, against the penal system, against prison in general. That's why I was punished [...] It is only secondarily about sexual things, more precisely, about my homosexuality, which I hope will not be reproached by leftists. But I am also willing to take a stand on this. (Schult, in Mildenberger, pp. 128-129).

Schult was ruled guilty and sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison. His former employer, "Blatt," generally criticized the passing of judgment, and published letters of support where, for example, a man wrote of his positive sexual contact with a man at 11-years-old, as well as opposing letters.[11] Schult was supported by Karl-Heinz Roth[12] and Herbert Rottgen [13]. Members of the "Homosexuelle Aktions-Gruppe München" (EN: The homosexual action group (HAG/HAM)[14] accused the judiciary of criminalizing Schult because he stood by his unlawful political and homosexual activity and showed no remorse. In addition, the Frankfurt wing of the Sponti movement[15] (Frankfurt Spontis) organized a teach-in on pedophilia which took place on January 28, 1977, at Frankfurt University. About 800 people attended, including Schult himself after the Munich public prosecutor's office was defeated before a higher court, and saw no reason to detain Schult permanently. Schult and other gay left-wing figures emphasized solidarity between fighting class and sexual oppression (homosexual oppression), with Schult criticizing the feminist/women's movement, who had damaged large parts of the left by utilizing an exaggerated connection between rape and age-disparate sex, thus furthering the interests of capitalist state power and the persecuting authorities.[16] Schult allegedly had direct confrontation with Alice Schwarzer, but was most angry about his treatment by alleged "comrades". He wrote a pamphlet, "For a sexual revolution - against the left-wing players," published in 1977, accusing leftists of preaching anarchy but immediately going into shock at any sign of lived anarchy, while adopting the arguments of the repressive state. He emphasized that he saw his young male sex partners not as sexual objects, but as equal partners with equal rights, and shared a similar social situation with the young runaways.[17] For Schult, the Left still had a problem with homosexuality:

If, on the other hand, I go into the left-wing scene with a boy today, there is once again an awkward silence, at best a willing tolerance. You have to have experienced that when one of the boys came along to an appointment, hardly any of the comrades dared to speak to him [...] For some, this icy silence was depressing, they did not come a second time. Or, when the HAM [Homosexual Action Munich/Group] took part in a prison party, what kind of offensive remarks were made by comrades, of course, only when none of the gays were present. Apparently they did not know about me [being gay]. For the left, homosexuality is still a phenomenon with which they cannot cope, and in any case it is not [regarded as] a self-evident variant of sexuality, not to speak of pederasty. (Schult, in Mildenberger, p. 134).

Schult published his memoir, Visits in Dead-End Streets: Memoirs of a homosexual Anarchist (1978), and, after risking state censorship, triggered a renewed swelling of solidarity with boy-lovers within the left-wing and green movement.[18] Schult had taken in and had sex with two minor males in December 1978, and was brought to trial in spring, 1979, where "the young "victims" had testified in favor of Schult and emphasized that he had been the first adult whose contact they had not been afraid of. [...] [T]he court agreed to a kind of compromise: Schult was sentenced to 7 months and 2 weeks' imprisonment on probation" (Mildeberger, p. 140). Becoming a martyr again, Green party politicians, Munich leftists, and non-affiliated gays had started a campaign in favor of Schult's release: "Within the gay movement, a new wave of solidarity for Schult began. This was initiated by Rosa von Praunheim's reports on pedosexual substitute family constructs in the U.S.[19] At the same time, however, the women's movement, now dominated by Alice Schwarzer, launched a comprehensive attack on the pedosexuals and their supporters" (Ibid, p. 140). Like Roger Moody, Schult argued against the idealization of pedophiles as educators (pedagogical eros), saying that the pedophile stands opposite the youth as an equal partner. This wave of support was undercut by gay assimilationism / the exclusion of undesirables by left-wing groups, the fact that MAPs were not always left-wing and heterosexual MAPs rarely joined gay groups, the rise of victim/carceral feminism, and the election of the conservative Helmut Kohl[20] government which began a backlash against the radical sexual liberation and anti-prison left-wing politics of the past. Schult's death in 1985 marked the end of the 1st wave of the German MAP movement.

A Short Requiem

Cover of Gefallene Engel (Fallen Angels, 1982)

The most concise source on Schult's life and MAP politics in English, comes from a 1985 obituary by gay historian Hubert Kennedy[21], who wrote:

At the time of his death one year ago at age 55, Peter Schult was the best known boy-lover in Germany. This was due partly to a public campaign to have him released from prison on humanitarian grounds, since he was terminally ill with lung cancer [...] Until then, however, he was generally known only to activist boy-lovers, left-radical political groups, and, of course, the many boys he had loved and helped and had sex with.

Peter found and took home the homeless — or they found him. In state institutions his address was passed from one boy to another as a place where runaways could find temporary shelter. His address was also well-known to the authorities, whose “authority” the anarchist Peter refused to recognize, and he was sent to prison numerous times on charges of drug possession and “seducing minors.” In 1971–74 he was in prison for “kidnapping” (read: sheltering a runaway from a state institution) and spent nearly two years in isolation

[...]

With the publication in 1978 of his autobiography, "Besuche in Sackgassen: Aufzeichnungen eines homosexuellen Anarchisten" (Visits in Dead-End Streets: Memoirs of a homosexual Anarchist), written while he was again in prison, Peter became notorious, both for the frankness with which he revealed and accepted his sexuality and for his antagonism to the state.

[...]

When Peter was convicted for the last time in 1982 for “corrupting a minor” and was given the lengthy (for Germany) sentence of two years and ten months, the judge particularly pointed out Peter’s lack of regret for his actions. Nor were the authorities pleased by Peter’s writing in prison his second book, "Gefallene Engel" (Fallen Angels, 1982), a collection of short stories and essays, again describing his experiences with boys and his anarchist views.

Although Peter was unable to obtain treatment for what he believed to be a tumor in his lung, he finally gained a transfer to a prison in Berlin, where the presence of the tumor was confirmed. Efforts to gain his release having failed (although 1,500 people signed the petition), Peter fled the hospital in Berlin in March 1984, and a month later was back in Munich, where he died of bleeding in the lungs on April 26, 1984.

As Peter lay dying in Munich, a special issue of the journal "Die Aktion: Zeitschrift für Politik. Literatur, Kunst" was being prepared in Hamburg. It was devoted entirely to Peter and expressed an appreciation of him and outrage at his treatment. (pp. 10-11)

References

  1. Florian Mildenberger: Beispiel Peter Schult – Pädophilie im öffentlichen Diskurs. Männerschwarm Verlag. Bibliothek Rosa Winkel. Hamburg 2006. {EN: Peter Schult - Pedophilia in Public Discourse (Men's Heartthrob Publisher: Pink Angle Library, Hamburg 2006)}
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War
  3. Wikipedia claims that Schult wrote an article about the Algerian war for Der Spiegel.
  4. "It was not until the beginning of 1973 that he apparently began to reconnect with the Red Help and spread his newfound knowledge within the prison. The prison administration then tried to discipline him by isolating him, but this only provoked an increase in public support for Schult. Fritz Teufel, for example, had encouraged the filmmakers Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta, who were just passing by, to contact Schult at an information booth of the Red Aid Munich in Leopoldstrasse. [...] Schlondorff and von Trotta regularly visited Schult in prison and corresponded with him. He remained on friendly terms with them until his death in 1984" (pp. 108-109).
  5. Michael "Bommi" BAUMANN: Wie alles anfing (Munich: Trikont, 1975). With an afterword by Peter Schult (pp. 138-141); Peter Schult: Bommi Baumann. A Book and the Left. In: Jurgen Arnold / Peter Schult (eds.): Ein Buch wirdverboten. Bommi Baumann Documentation. With contributions by Heinrich Boll, Luise Rinser, Volker Schlöndorff, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Klaus Briegleb et al. (Munich: Trikont, 1975), pp. 127-137; Peter Schult: Wanted: Baumann: In: Blatt No. 57, 1975, pp. 9-10. Note that anti-MAP feminist Alice Schwarzer also signed for the new edition of the Bommi book (Mildenberger, footnote 15, pp.125-126.
  6. "Schult, who had experienced the horrors and seduction of National Socialism at first hand, was [...] hostile to left-wing anti-Semitism." (Ibid, p. 108).
  7. "Schult was clearly not pleased with the actions of his friends, who had slipped into the terrorist milieu" (Ibid)
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Schwarzer
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Cohn-Bendit
  10. Prof. Reinhart Lempp held that age-disparate sex is not intrinsically harmful to the younger party: "the assumption that confrontation with the sexual acts of adults results in damage, is scarcely tenable. There is no doubt that the child's experience of the unexpected use of violence, especially from a stranger, can lead to a psychological shock and in some instances to a steady change in the child's relationship to his environment and to psychological damage. [...] In my own investigation, certain damage to the child as a direct result of the sexual offence could not be observed in even one single case of the 97 children. The children in seven cases in which the possibility of psychological damage was raised, all came from a background which had been extremely negative since early childhood. See: Reinhart Lempp. (1978). Psychological damage to children as a result of sexual offences, in Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 2, pp. 243-245.
  11. For positive experience: Zurn Paderastie. In: Blatt No. 80, 1976, pp. 4-5; For negative, Uta / Editor / Inge HEINRICHS: Living with Children. 3 Contribution to the Paederasty Discussion. In: Blatt No. 82, 1976, pp. 12-14.
  12. Karl Heinz Roth: Open letter to the comrades from Munich! In: Autonomie No. 5, 1977, p. 71.
  13. Herbert Rottgen: Morals. Our morals, their morals, right? In: Autonomy No. 5, 1977, pp. 69-71.
  14. https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q112813203
  15. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontis
  16. Teach In. The Left and Male Sexuality using the Example of Peter Schult. 28. 1. 1977. University Horsaal H VI. In: Pflasterstrand 19. 1. 1977.
  17. Peter SCHULT: For a sexual revolution - against the left-wing players. In: Autonomy. Materialien gegen die Fabrikgesellschaft No. 5, 1977, pp. 86-96.
  18. Peter Schult: Long Live Fornication. On the new edition of my book. In: Schult, Besuche in Sackgassen, 2nd edition (Frankfurt am Main: Foerster 1982), pp. 266-269.
  19. Rosa Von Praunheim: Armee der Liebenden oder Aufstand der Perversen (Miinchen: Trikont 1979) pp. 267-270. Praunheirn also addressed the U.S. pado activists in his memoirs; see Rosa von Praunheim: 50 Jahre pervers. Die sentimen talen Memoiren des Rosa von Praunheim (Koln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch 1993) p. 240: "In his house we met some 14 to 18-year-olds, mostly from broken anti-gay families, who felt more lovingly treated and understood here."
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmut_Kohl
  21. In Memoriam: Five Gay Obituaries on Glenn Hogan, Mario Mieli, Roger Austen, Peter Schult, and Robert Turner. The piece on Schult was originally published in NAMBLA Bulletin 6, no. 3 (1985): 11.