German-Israeli salesman first to undergo sex-change operation in history

But Baer’s body did not develop into a woman’s body and so she underwent the sex-change operation in 1906.

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2015, 19:12 PM IST

Tel Aviv: A German-Israeli insurance salesman who was born as Martha and escaped the Nazis as Karl, was the world's first person in history to undergo sex-change operation.

Nearly 60 years after Karl's death, his travails are being told again. His story is published in the latest edition of Zmanim, a Hebrew-language journal dedicated to queer history.

Karl's grave was found by a Tel Aviv University student as part of her research for a course on queer studies and history of sexuality. The headstone of the grave at Tel Aviv's Kiryat Shaul Cemetery read “Karl Meir Baer, 1956”.

“It’s not the kind of headstone you give a second glance to,” Haaretz.com quoted Adi Sabran, who found the grave, as saying.

Baer was born to a German-Jewish family in Arolsen in central Germany in 1885 as a girl, Martha Baer.

Apparently Baer’s body had “such strange” characteristics that she had no way of determining his gender.

But Baer’s body did not develop into a woman’s body and so she underwent the sex-change operation in 1906.