roadbikeRob saidThese old convictions must have dated back to the Nazi era.
Sadly, no. The anti-gay paragraph of the penal code was repealed only in the 90s. In fact, the repeal happened when East and West Germany merged and the laws of both countries had to be "harmonized." Communist East Germany had repealed that paragraph (175) in the 70-es and it seemed inappropriate to lawmakers that some people in Germany would end up with LESS freedom than under Communist rule.
Yes, I did research on this and gave college lectures on the topic. Including the "Gay Holocaust" that for decades many would not admit had happened.
Prior to 1871 there was no single Germany, but a collection of fairly autonomous states. At one time loosely connected by an increasingly powerless structure known as the Holy Roman Empire, that finally dissolved in 1806, that was succeeded by weak German Federations.
It was in 1871 that Otto Von Bismarck of the state of Prussia succeeded in unifying Germany into a modern nation state. Under a "Kaiser" (German variant of Caesar), Wilhelm I. The form of government was largely modeled on Prussia, and many existing Prussian laws were incorporate into the new Reich, or new laws were written along Prussian values & principles.
One of these laws was Paragraph 175. In a number of German states there were no penalties for homosexuality. In fact, prior to the late 1800s the term homosexuality hadn't even been created, or in general use to describe this "abnormality". There can be great power in a single word.
But now all the German states had to comply with Paragraph 175. A precularity was that its wording made it appear to apply only to males, not females. So lesbians got a pass. Not until a few years into the Nazi era was that omission "corrected" more often in practice.
You'll note that this modern reversal and compensation seems to only refer to men, not women. Reflecting the wording of the original Paragraph 175.