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Salesmen's sex orgies find home in museum

The Local · 11 Dec 2014, 15:11

Published: 11 Dec 2014 15:11 GMT+01:00

The museum aims to show "deep changes in sexual morality and the interconnectedness of the sexes" since the Second World War, the museum said in a press release.

"We decided on [this case] to show that prostitution no longer belongs in the grimy corners of society," a museum spokeswoman told Handelsblatt on Thursday.

Among the exhibits will be evidence from a case against representatives for insurer Hamburg Mannheimer who won a 2007 contest for most policies sold.

They were treated to an open-air orgy in Budapest's Gellert Thermal Baths, where four-poster beds were set up and prostitutes identified with coloured armbands had their arms stamped after each customer they attended to.

"It was an absolute blast", the company newspaper reported at the time.

"In any case we haven't found anyone who was there who didn't want to go straight back."

Torsten Oletzky, chairman of parent company Ergo, saw things differently when details emerged.

The trip had been "unspeakable and inexcusable", he said at the time, and the company brought legal action against the organisers for breach of trust.

Such was the depth of the scandal that Hamburg-Mannheimer was dismantled and rebranded Ergo Pro.

Museum curators at the Haus der Geschichte (House of History) say that they want to educate the public about changes in sexual morality in the second half of the 20th Century.

In that time Germany has seen massive expansion of what can be shown on film, the legalization of abortion and homosexuality, and an increasing commercialization of sexuality and eroticism.

Story continues below…

"This isn't primarily about private matters, but about ideas of social order and the way society sees itself," the museum's introduction to the exhibition reads.

Prostitution is a particularly hot topic, with 18 percent of men regularly paying for sex in a €14.3-billion industry which is legal and regulated in Germany.

Beyond the Ergo case, the exhibition includes objects ranging from dungarees worn by feminists to erotic playing cards produced exclusively for export in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, former East Germany).

SEE ALSO: Two men charged after sex shop tantrum

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