Category:Bernard, Fritz

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Fritz Bernard (August 28, 1920 — May 23, 2006) was a Dutch psychologist and sexologist. He was a pioneer in working for the rights of homosexuals and pedophiles.

Although Bernard was born in The Netherlands, his family moved to Spain when he was seven, where he was educated in the German international school. He returned to The Netherlands for his university studies shortly before the Second World War. He studied psychology at the University of Amsterdam, and took his doctorate from the Catholic University of Nijmegen. Professionally, he was affiliated with the Port of Rotterdam, engaged largely in treating stress and work-related conditions among their employees.

In the late 1950s he became a member of the homosexual lobbying and support organization COC, contributing academic articles on homosexuality and pedophilia to their magazine Vriendschap (Friendship) under the pseudonym “Victor Servatius”. Following his 1962 proposal that the COC should initiate a support group for pedophiles, he became unwelcome in the group, and transferred his efforts to the NVSH (Dutch Association for Sexual Reform), which did support the formation of such groups. Known as "workgroups", they lasted until the late 1990s.

Initially Dr. Bernard and Dr. Edward Brongersma, the other "big name" in Dutch pederast and pedophile activism, had worked together in the COC. They both contributed important essays to a pioneering Dutch book aimed at fostering public understanding of intergenerational relationships. This was, Sex met Kinderen (Sex with Children), published in 1972.

In 1975 the two men broke with each other, ostensibly over Brongersma's attacks on Bernard's book Pedofilie (Pedophilia), in which Bernard reported his psychological research on a sample of pedophiles largely drawn from the NVSH workgroups. This work was subsequently expanded and translated into German as Pädophilie: Liebe mit Kinderen (Pedophilia: Love with Children) 1979; further revised as Kinderschänder?: Pädophilie von der Liebe mit Kindern (Child molesters? Pedophilia and Child-Love), 1982; and, in abridged form, translated into English as Paedophilia: A Factual Report, 1985.

This same material provided the basis for literally hundreds of articles (his 1992 bibliography runs to 34 pages) which Bernard had published and translated into dozens of languages, as far afield as Japan, but particularly in Germany, where he was an active figure in the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Humane Sexualität (AHS), or Human Sexuality Association. The feud between the two "giants" simmered on for years, with Bernard, writing under another pseudonym, “Dr Ernst Otto Born”, sniping at Brongersma's subsequent work.

Bernard's activism for pedophilia was not limited to scientific work, nor to organizing. It also included two novels, which he wrote during the 1950s. The first, Costa Brava, portrays the relationship between the novel's narrator and a twelve-year-old refugee boy during the Spanish Civil War; and the second, Vervolgde Minderheid (Persecuted Minority), the love between an adult and a high school student in Amsterdam after the Second World War. Both were self-published, first under his pseudonym of Victor Servatius and then under his own name. Eventually, there were editions in Dutch, German, French and English.

The relationship in Costa Brava is disrupted by the boy's family when they falsely tell the man that the boy has died. The novel ends, though, with a bittersweet chance encounter between man and boy years later when they are able to affirm their love for each other.

Persecuted Minority ends less happily, with the man's imprisonment over the "special friendship" in question, and his determination to emigrate so as to escape the hostile atmosphere of The Netherlands – an atmosphere that improved enormously for a few years in the 1970s, but which Bernard lived to see re-emerge with a vengeance in the 1990s.

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