In Germany, the term FKK-Bewegung1 describes the summing up of all the naturist theories and practices, that found their most distinctive manifestations in the wave of naturist clubs, especially in Germany in the 20th century.
Often, the swiss natural medic Arnold Rikli (1823-1906), the founder of the "Atmospheric cure, where baths in light and in air play a key role, is declared as the beginning of the naturist movement. Rikli was a follower of the so-called Lebensreform [en: reform of life] and influenced, amongst others, the painter and social reformer Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913), who founded a land commune in Vienna according to the principles of Rikli.
It was also documented, that the young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) pursued nude swimming with some friends.
As a even former follower of the culture of nude living, James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714-1779), is quoted as a Scottish jurist and linguist who praised and practiced nude bathing as a reawakening of ancient Greek nude culture. It found literary mention in Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's (1742-1799) book "Das Luftbad" [en: "Bath in air"].
Nevertheless, the change from the 19th to the 20th century is considered the beginning of the naturist movement. In 1891, Heinrich Pudor published several writings on the reform of life, in 1892 his book "Nackende Menschen, Jauchzen der Zukunft"" [en: "Nude people, cheer of future"], the first important German-language work on naturism. The first naturist association was founded in Essen, Germany, in 1898. In 1906, Richard Ungewitter, with his book "Nackt" [en: "Nude"], presented the first comprehensive foundation of naturism, which can be regarded as a starting point for the broad impact, of what was initially called Nacktkultur [en: culture of nudity]. Even later, the German term Frei-Körper-Kultur (FKK) won recognition.
Heinrich Pudor (1865-1943) did a doctorate in 1889 about "Schopenhauer's metaphysics of music in his world as will and imagination". Only for a short time, he succeeded his father as head of the Royal Conservatory in Dresden, but resigned it after being exposed to vehement criticism because of "Deutschtümelei"2. He then founded a publishing house (Munich, Berlin, later Leipzig), in which he published exclusively his own works – predominantly lyric and devotional books, which contained the expositions of his "Lebensreform" [en: "reform of life]. In 1893 he moved to London, after Pudor's book "Nackende Menschen. Jauchzen der Zukunft" had been published in Dresden. This was the first important German-language book on naturism.
Richard Ungewitter (1869-1958) was a gardener and one of the early pioneers of the naturist movement. His first book, "The Nudity," was published in January 1906 under the full title "The nudity in the perspective of history of development, health, morale, and art" The authorities repeatedly tried to forbid the book, but the experts invited by the court pleaded in favor of Ungewitter, so that all prohibitions failed.
During the following years, Richard Ungewitter published other books, which he used to promote the naturist movement. The most famous of his works is probably the 1908 book "Nackt" [en: "Nude"], in which he responds to the critics of his book "The Nudity …". Also in 1908, Ungewitter founded the "Association for the culture of history of development, health, ethics, and aesthetics". This was the second association of naturists in Germany after an association founded in Essen in 1898. It won a size of about 50 members, mainly in southern Germany.
Later, Ungewitter openly turned to the nazi idea of "racial hygiene" and lost importance for the naturist movement. In his books "Nacktheit und Kultur" [en: "Nudity and Culture"] (1920) and "Nacktheit und Aufstieg" [en: "Nudity and Rise"] (1922), this thought was already taken up and mixed with the nude culture.
Adolf Koch (1896-1970) tried as a teacher to realise his reformist ideas of a "new education". This included placing the relationship between mind and body on a new basis. In his opinion, gymnastics were neglected due to monotonous gymnastics. Koch also spoke up dedicatedly for to the daily, not yet self-evident, body and tooth cleaning.
Koch's goal was the development of a modern general school of body and posture together with free, terpsichorean gymnastics. With special commitment, he developed special exercises for children. The joy as to movement, the ludic drive and the imaginative sense of the smaller children were incorporated. For the older children, he developed exercises, which were based, among other things, on gravity and momentum.
It was important to Koch, that boys and girls practiced together, because the children should also learn to respect the body of the opposite gender and learn that nudity per se is nothing sexual. In 1923, Koch completed his education as a teacher of gymnastics.
In 1924, he founded his "Institute and School for Naturism Adolf Koch", in which he taught and practised nude sports and dancing, and with whom he built thirteen gymnastics schools in Germany over the course of time. Apart from gymnastics, the program also included the application of showers with alternating temperature, sunlamp irradiation, medical examinations and supervision, talks as to all issues and further lessons.
He himself commented his program: "Fun and joy as to movement are always in the focus. Naturally, these laid-back gymnastics lessons can also be carried out outdoors."
Translated addendum in German by deacademic.com (no longer online): The successes of these schools were preceded by fierce battles. Several court cases were brought against him, none led to a conviction or to the closure of schools. The trials cost time and energy, but also made Koch known. The total ban by the National Socialists after 1933 struck him harder. His institutes were closed, also because he refused to sack his Jewish colleagues. His writings were on the list of „forbidden and un-German books“ and were publicly combusted during the burning of books in Berlin. Koch did not let himself be put off; he continued to work illegally, founded two new institutes one after the other under a different name, and helped many Jews and other Nazi persecutees. Officially he was called up during the war, among other things, as director for the sport of the wounded and the aftercare of the handicapped (Marquardt Castle near Berlin).
The Familien-Sport-Verein Adolf Koch e. V. in Berlin [en: Registered association for family sports Adolf Koch in Berlin, Germany] does exist to this day. From the foundation in 1951 until his death in 1970, Adolf Koch was chairman of the association.
1 German: "Frei-Körper-Kultur", abbrev.: "FKK" [en: English naturist movement]
2 The meaning of this word is similar to "German nationalim" [translated from www.canoo.net].
It designates a form of exaggerated appreciation / emphasis on everything considered to be German [translated from de.wiktionary.org].
Some so far unchecked attempts for translation are: "Teutomania" or "Germano-mania" [translated from www.linguee.com]