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Baroness Gertrud von Puttkamer (4 April 1881 – 27 or 30 September 1944), also known by her nom de plume Marie-Madeleine, was a German writer of lesbian-themed erotic literature and homoerotic poetry. Her first book, Auf Kypros, sold over one million copies during her lifetime.
Gertrud Günther was born on 4 April 1881 in Eydtkuhnen, East Prussia in the Kingdom of Prussia to Jewish parents. Her father was Karl Günther, a merchant, and her mother was Emmy Siemssen, a housewife. She grew up within Eydtkuhnen's middle class Jewish community. In 1900, at the age of nineteen, she married Baron Heinrich Georg Ludwig von Puttkamer, a member of the Pomeranian nobility who was 35 years her senior. Upon her marriage, Baroness von Puttkamer moved into a villa with her husband in Grunewald, Germany and frequently traveled to Vienna, Paris, Nice, and Monte Carlo where she socialized with Hollywood actors, European royalty and nobility, artists, and writers and began using morphine recreationally. Her husband's death in 1914 led to her morphine addiction. Her son, Baron Jesco Gunther Heinrich von Puttkamer, joined the Nazi Party and was later captured by the Allies during World War II.
In 1900 von Puttkamer published her first book of poetry under the pen-name Marie-Madeleine, titled Auf Kypros, which was a collection of lesbian-themed erotic verses. Auf Kypros became a best-seller throughout the German Empire, particularly in high society circles. Auf Kypros went on to sell over one million copies and was printed in 52 different editions. At the time, her work was seen as contrary to societal standards on morality and was even considered pornographic. Throughout the next fourteen years, von Puttkamer published 28 more books, including poetry, short stories, plays and novels. By 1910 her writings were not only centered on lesbian erotic love but also on the use of morphine. By the end of her life von Puttkamer had written over 46 works.
During the Third Reich, von Puttkamer's identity was discovered by the Nazis. In 1932 her writings were condemned as degenerate and ordered to be burned. In 1943 she was committed to a sanatorium in Katzenelnbogen under the pretense of treating her morphine addiction. She died on 27 or 30 September 1944 while under the care of Nazi doctors.
In 2016 Baroness von Puttkamer's rediscovered works were translated into English and compiled into the book Priestess of Morphine: The Lost Writings of Marie-Madeleine in the Time of Nazis by Ronald K. Siegel.
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