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The following is from Boys for Sale. A Sociological Study of Boy Prostitution by Dennis Drew & Jonathan Drake, New York, 1969, pp. 41-5.


Hamburg, Germany, in 1879, had on its rolls 500 registered male prostitutes. Many of them were just young boys. Between 1879 and 1933, and again from 1944 to 1948, there were large numbers of youngsters available for a few cents. In 1918, the main railroad station in Hamburg was almost a public brothel, with boys — some as young as 10 — offering themselves quite openly and going for next to nothing. The station pharmacy even carried a special, scented petroleum jelly, sold for use as an anal lubricant. The jelly was called Die Freude, and advertised as “delight for him and yourself!”

Poster for Rossellini's film Germany, Year Zero, 1948

After World War II, young adolescents haunted certain street corners and stations in both Hamburg and Berlin, offering any kind of sexual experience for a few cigarettes, a sandwich or a chocolate bar. One little fellow, picked up by an Allied soldier, said that he hadn’t eaten for 48 hours and he was eager to swallow a bit of sperm “if that was all that was available.” Another 12-year-old offered passive anal intercourse to the same man. All he wanted was “just one bite of sausage.”

Michael Davidson in The World, The Flesh, and Myself, tells that in Berlin of the 1930’s and earlier, there were many elderly people who earned their living by letting men and boys use their rooms and apartments as private places to go for their assignations. He also tells of special restaurants where homeless boys and runaway waifs were allowed to sit, waiting, half sleeping, until men came to make a selection.

The motion picture Germany Year Zero, is the story of a boy of 12 who helps to support his family by peddling himself on the streets of Berlin. The magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, (Paris, Winter 1966, No. 185), reproduces a scene from the picture in which the boy is struggling to get away from the man who first seduced him. This is a graphic and realistic film.

Jewish brothers from Subcarpathian Rus await selection on the ramp at Auschwitz, 1944

During the Nazi era, there was a formal effort to reduce male prostitution but many boys were forced into the trade for a time. Nazi officers took particular delight in forcing young Jewish boys to submit to them — see The Sun’s Attendant, a book by Charles Haldeman, for details of boy rapes.

Before World War II, when boy prostitution was very common and, at some points, almost accepted in various strata of German society, men who so amused themselves were called Warme—Brüder. Such men were so plentiful that an article in Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, said that no handsome, unprotected young boy was safe in Germany. Nearly all boys between the ages of 10 and 12 knew dirty stories and giggled about lascivious play. They discussed the fun and money that could be obtained sexually. This led them into excessive masturbation during which they fantasied relations with men, thus preparing themselves for the real thing by the age of 12.

This provided an easy climate for recruiting boys into the well organized prostitution which catered to a wealthy trade up until the war. (It still continues but in a very clandestine way.) Sometimes, there were even boys’ brothels with very handsome lads as old as 15. These were called “boys’ smoking rooms” — in them, men could play with children of either sex. Very young boys were enticed to these houses by procurers, sometime with their fathers’ consent — families very often needed the extra earnings. Some boys wore a special kind of necktie as a mark of their profession.

Boys smoking G.I.'s cigarettes, Germany, 1955

In the 30’s, another kind of brothel (with much younger boys) was much less open and required recommendation by a trusted client for admission. The boys in these houses, usually no older than 12, were described as the “most beautiful ever seen in any century.” They were handled by special brokers almost like actors’ agents — the profits were extremely large. These boys were beautifully dressed, groomed and trained, their training following the traditions of ancient Greece and Rome.

Indeed, the Greek motif was carried to such extremes that these brothels usually had Greek names. The boys in them were assigned Greek names and given Grecian costumes to wear when they weren’t dancing in the nude the way they might have in ancient Sparta. They could recite Greek poems, usually the ones concerning paederasty. They held boxing and wrestling contests as well as other sporting activities — always in the nude. The patrons of these brothels, usually highly educated and cultured men, considered that they were restoring the long-neglected and most noble aspects of ancient Greek culture.

Between 12 and 25, these boys often moved to a bit more public intermediate house, really a kind of cabaret. There, they would serve as waiters and entertainers. Some of them became female impersonators until their voices got too far out of control. There was rarely any police intervention. Indeed, off-duty police often patronized these establishments. In these “middle range” brothels, many of the boys were effeminate type but the other two classes of brothels were staffed by relatively “butch” youngsters.

Some German boys were exported to foreign brothels but not many, after 1900. There are, however, verified cases of experienced boy prostitutes as recently as 1930 and it is said that this export trade was briefly resumed in 1946. (We know that there were young German boys in Arabian brothels at that time.)

Boy Soldier by Will McBride, Berlin, 1956

In post-war Germany, there was not the money to resume “Greek” houses or the underground publications eulogizing boy prostitution. As prosperity returned gradually, Germans have tended to go to Greece, Italy and Spain,as well as North Africa, to look for boy prostitutes. Increasing wealth has cut down the really professional boy prostitution. Now, nearly everywhere in Germany, obliging boys operate pretty much on an amateur hit-and-miss basis. In large hotels, young bellboys are quite often available, but only if they take a liking to a tourist or are in special need of extra money.

Like most amateurs, they are very particular about what they will do sexually and their prices are frequently quite high. Nevertheless, bellboys are active. A tourist can wind up with more on his hands than he bargained for when some innocent gesture made in the lobby turns out to be an invitation which he may or may not have intended.

In rural areas, hotel youngsters may have the cooperation of their families in arranging affairs. One man we know of, was visiting a small resort where he was told by the manager of his hotel that his 13-year-old son was “available” to share a room with him if he stayed another week. After that time, the boy was “booked” for two weeks with another tourist from Hamburg and, after that, with someone from Switzerland.




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