Domenica Niehoff

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Nightscene in Hamburg St. Pauli – where Domenica was considered "Queen of the Reeperbahn."[1]

Domenica Anita Niehoff (3 August 1945 – 12 February 2009), also known as Domenica, was a German prostitute and activist. She appeared in television shows in the 1990s, where she campaigned for legalization of and regulation of the profession.[2]


Niehoff was born in Cologne. Her mother, Anna, fled from her father and raised her children by fortune telling and minor crimes. After her mother was arrested, Niehoff and her brother Amando lived in a Catholic orphanage until she was 14 when she began work as a trainee clerk.[2] When she was 17, she met a brothel-owner whom she later married. Her husband committed suicide in 1972.[3]

During that year she started working as a prostitute in red light district of Hamburg, St. Pauli and in the Herbertstraße. Later she opened a studio and became known as a dominatrix. She appeared on German TV talk shows campaigning for prostitutes and legalisation of the profession from the 1970s onwards. By the 1990s, she had retired from prostitution but stayed in Hamburg's red light district to open a bar. A later bar closed in 2000 when Niehoff had unpaid tax bills.[2] In 1991, she co-founded Ragazza e.V to help young prostitutes and in the same period began to help drug addicts.[2]

She died in February 2009 from lung disease and complications from diabetes in a Hamburg hospital.[4] Niehoff was buried in the Garden of Women at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery. She was the first prostitute buried in this area for distinguished women, according to the coordinator of the funeral service.[5]

In November 2016, it emerges that a street is to be named after Niehoff in the Altona district of Hamburg.[6]


  • Domenica Niehoff: Domenicas Kopfkissenbuch. Droemer Knaur, München 1989, ISBN 3-426-03994-X.
  • Domenica Niehoff: Körper mit Seele. Mein Leben. Aufgezeichnet von Hans Eppendorfer, Droemer Knaur, München 1994, ISBN 3-426-75062-7.
  • Fee Zschocke (Texte), Andrej Reiser (Fotogr.): Domenica und die Herbertstraße. Eichborn, Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-8218-1701-1.
  • Domenica Portfolio. Grafikmappe, Schreiber & Leser, München 1993.



  1. ^ Meyer-Odewald, Jens (13 February 2009). "St. Pauli: Der Kiez trauert um Domenica Anita Niehoff. Die "Königin der Reeperbahn" ist tot" (in German). Hamburger Abendblatt. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  2. ^ a b c d Childs, David (7 March 2009). "Domenica Niehoff: Prostitute and social activist who campaigned for the legalisation of her profession". The Independent. Retrieved 21 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Hasse, Edgar (12 February 2009). "Domenica – die Befreierin der Prostituierten ist tot". Welt (in German). Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  4. ^ Lentz III, Harris M. (2010). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2009: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. Jefferson, NC & London: McFarland. p. 391. 
  5. ^ "Domenica Niehoff wird in Ohlsdorf beigesetzt". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). 11 March 2009. p. 9. 
  6. ^ "Hamburg to name street after Germany's most famous dominatrix". The Guardian. Associated Press. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016. 

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