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Oswalt Kolle, German sex education pioneer, dead at 81

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Oswalt Kolle, German sex education pioneer, dead at 81
Oswalt Kolle and actress Ruth Gassmann. Photo: DPA
11:44 CEST+02:00
His books and films awakened Germany's sexual consciousness during the 1960s and 1970s: Oswalt Kolle has died, his family announced on Friday – shortly before his 82nd birthday.

For millions of Germans, Kolle was known as a pioneer on the sex education front who fought for a more open dialogue about sexuality. Starting in the 1960s, he became a staunch critic of Germany's straight-laced views on sex.

Kolle died last week in Amsterdam, his family said on Friday. He would have been 82 on Saturday.

"Oswalt Kolle passed away after a long illness on September 24, surrounded by his family," Kolle's son Stefan said in a statement. The daughter of Kolle's partner, Josee del Ferro, told German news agency DPA that the family attended a funeral service on Friday.

In both his films and written work, Kolle challenged the sexual taboos of the conservative Konrad Adenauer era in the former West Germany. His motto was, "You can't learn how to love, but you can learn sex."

In his final interview from February 2010, he condemned then-Augsburg bishop Walter Mixa for saying the sexual revolution played a role the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Kolle's work has frequently been criticised in church circles and by conservative politicians.

Kolle was born on October 2, 1928, in Kiel and grew up in Frankfurt. He achieved his first major success as a journalist in 1960 with a series on the marriages of film stars titled, "They Call It Love."

After giving up on celebrity journalism, Kolle soon found his true calling: sex education. In addition to newspaper articles, his books have been translated into 12 languages, including Chinese, and were later adapted to the silver screen.

His two-part film, "The Miracle of Love: Sex in Marriage," premiered in January 1968. It was a box-office hit around Europe, but the feature was censored in Belgium and parts of Switzerland.

It wasn't the last time Kolle would come up against censorship in the film industry. The filmmaker said he spent two days and two nights wrangling with Germany's motion picture ratings authority over individual scenes in "The Miracle of Love."

Kolle's eight films have been seen by 60 million viewers. He lived in Amsterdam until his death and held Dutch citizenship. "I've never regretted that," Kolle told DPA in 2008. "But Germany today is already just as free and tolerant as my chosen home."

DPA/DAPD/arp

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