Het is al vijftien jaar geleden zijn dat Heinrich Ratjen is gestorven in Bremen. Hij werd negentig jaar eerder in Erichshof geboren als Dora Ratjen werd geboren…

Volgens Wikipedia “the midwife at first said it was a boy, but after some pondering over the appearance of the baby’s genitalia, reversed herself and declared it a girl. Thus the baby was registered as Dora, a common German name for girls at the time. The child then grew up as a girl, although the father later stated that he once asked a physician, who treated one of the children, to look at little Dora’s genitalia and give a diagnosis. The physician simply said that there was nothing one could do about it. Growing up, Dora got interested in sports and from an early age on competed in school high jump contests. Ratjen competed for Germany in the Women’s High Jump at the 1936 Summer Olympics, finishing fourth. In 1938, (s)he won the gold medal at the European Championships in Vienna, setting a world record for the ladies high jump with a 5 feet 5.75 inches jump.”
“On September 21, 1938, (s)he took an express train from Vienna to Cologne. The conductor of the train reported to the police at the station in Magdeburg that there was “a man dressed as a woman” in the train. Ratjen was ordered out of the train and questioned by the policeman. Ratjen showed genuine documents which said (s)he was a woman, but after some hesitation, admitted to be a man, and told his story. A physician was summoned and after an examination pronounced Ratjen to be male. However, the physician described the genitalia as having a “coarse scarred stripe from the tip of the penis to the rear,” and stated his opinion that with this organ sexual intercourse would be impossible. At birth the penis and scrotum seem to have been split in the middle, which, with the still undescended testicles hidden in their cavities, caused to the midwife the impression of a vulva with an abnormally long clitoris.
After a lengthy investigation, Ratjen was found innocent of any wrongdoing, being rather a victim of the circumstances. In 1939, his personal register was officially changed to Heinrich Ratjen and he received an invalid’s certificate. He returned to Bremen and later took over his father’s saloon. He never talked to the press and never answered any questions about his past. He died April 22, 2008. In fabricated sensational newsmedia reports, he was erroneously referred to as Hermann Ratjen and Horst Ratjen.”

Het artikel in Humo van 8/6/2010 valt blijkbaar ook onder “fabricated sensational newsmedia reports“, niet zozeer omdat zij ook over Hermann Ratjen spreken, maar wel omdat erin geopperd wordt dat de nazi’s opzettelijk vals spel speelden: “Op de voorgaande Spelen hadden de Duitse hoogspringsters er niks van gebakken, en dus waren de nazi’s op het briljante idee gekomen een mannelijk lid van de Hitlerjugend in te schrijven voor de vrouwencompetitie. De genitaliën van Hermann Ratjen werden uitermate strak ingebonden, zijn hoofd werd van een zo vrouwelijk mogelijke coupe voorzien en Dora Ratjen kwam tevoorschijn.”
De terechte afkeer voor het nazisme heeft er voor Humo blijkbaar toe geleid dat de journalistieke normen i.v.m. het checken en dubbelchecken van bronnen even terzijde werd gezet.

Ronny De Schepper

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