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By the 1920's, Berlin had become known as a homosexual eden, where gay men and lesbians lived relatively open lives amidst an exciting subculture of artists and intellectuals. With the coming to power of the Nazis, all this changed. Between 1933 and 1945 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code dating back to 1871. Some were imprisoned, others were sent to concentration camps. Of the latter, only about 4,000 survived. Today, fewer than ten of these men are known to be living. Five of them have now come forward to tell their stories for the first time in this powerful new film. The Nazi persecution of homosexuals may be the last untold story of the Third Reich. Paragraph 175 fills a crucial gap in the historical record, and reveals the lasting consequences of this hidden chapter of 20th century history, as told through personal stories of men and women who lived through it: the half Jewish gay resistance fighter who ... Written by
"An unnatural sex act committed between persons of the male sex or by humans with animals is punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights may also be imposed." (Paragraph 175, German Penal Code, 1871) See more »
A very professional job by seasoned documentarians
I was a bit put off by some of the negative comments, but it is always interesting to then view a film which is praised by some and despised by one or two. As is often the case, the negative views turn out to be more a reflection of personality rather than of serious critical scholarship.
Putting together this film was hardly a snap. There are only a handful of survivors still alive and living in central Europe, and some refused to appear in the film. I think the film-makers were very successful in capturing the essence of the homosexual experience during the Nazi times and beyond, as reflected in the footage they obtained from the six or seven survivors who were willing to share their stories on camera.
We really don't need any more "education" on Nazi legal machinations or conditions in concentration camps. We ARE interested in the experiences and emotions of these particular people, to see them and hear them, before they are swallowed by the inexorable march of time. The film performs this invaluable service and does it well.
The interviews are interspersed with a general historical summary of events and their effect on the gay community in Germany during the years between the two great wars, and later on. Yes, these parts may resemble a special on the History Channel. Nothing wrong with that!
All in all, a very professional job and a solid achievement.
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