Hugo Hamid Marcus

(born 1880 in Posen, Kingdom of Prussia – died 1966 in Basel, Switzerland)

"The general equality of human beings demanded by democracy already exists by nature, precisely in the fact that human beings as individuals are all in like manner unique, separate, unique and incomparable."*

Hugo Hamid Marcus stood up for the rights of homosexuals and opposed racist and anti-Semitic ideologies through his cosmopolitan worldview. Hugo Hamid Marcus was a German writer and philosopher of Jewish descent who fought for the decriminalisation of homosexuals. A devout Muslim, he was also an important voice of Islam in Germany. As far back as the Weimar Republic, Marcus fought alongside his friend Magnus Hirschfeld for the abolition of §175, which classified homosexuals as criminals. In 1925, after meeting with Muslim students, he converted to Islam. From then on, he went by the name Hamid, while remaining a member of the Jewish community until 1936. As early as the 1920s, he became the managing director of the liberal Berlin Mosque in Wilmersdorf. Focusing on interreligious dialogue, it is today the oldest mosque on German soil. He also oversaw the magazine Moslemische Revue and was the founding president of the German Muslim Society from 1930 to 1935. During the Nazi era, however, there were also staunch National Socialists who attempted to influence the sermons held there for propaganda purposes. Following the November Pogroms of 1938, the Muslim Hugo Hamid Marcus was imprisoned as a Jew in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. According to his own statements, he remained there until a delegation led by his imam, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, secured his release. He fled to Switzerland and thus survived the National Socialist persecution of Jews. Under the pseudonym Hans Alenius (Hans the Stranger) he wrote for the homosexual magazine Der Kreis (The Circle). After the war, he refused to return to West Germany, as homosexual acts were still criminalised here. Today, Marcus is regarded as an important figure in JewishMuslim exchange in Germany.

Marcus, H., Zur Ontologie der Demokratie (On the Ontology of Democracy), in:
Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (Archives for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy) 44/1 (1958), pp. 55–64.