Domenica Niehoff, a former prostitute who gained notoriety in Germany during the 1970s and '80s for her campaign to legalize her profession, has died at age 63.
Niehoff later ran a bar in the St. Pauli district
German media reported on Friday, Feb. 13, that Niehoff, a severe diabetic, died Thursday in a Hamburg hospital of complications from a lung condition.
Known to customers and the nation as Hamburg Domenica, Niehoff was familiar across Germany for the pride she took in her profession as well as tireless campaigning for the legalization and regulation of prostitution.
Niehoff left prostitution in the 1990s to open her own bar, called Domenica, in Hamburg's St. Pauli district. In her later years, she was also something of a social worker in the red-light district, opening her home and her heart to streetworkers and drug addicts.
As a prostitute, she was instantly recognizable for her hairstyle -- a slick-backed bun -- as well as her 48-inch bust and revealing outfits, which usually included a corset of some kind.
"What I have accomplished is that more about prostitution is discussed," Niehoff said in an interview last summer with Die Welt newspaper. "That it won't be whispered about as much. That girls can honestly say, 'I was in the milieu, but now I want out.'"
Germany legalized prostitution in 2002, and there are an estimated 400,000 registered prostitutes in the country.