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
The Nazi Party rose to power in Germany in 1933. Four years earlier, in 1929, there was a campaign in the German Reichstag (Parliament) to abolish Paragraph 175. The proposal for abolition was supported by a loose alliance between the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Communist Party of Germany, and the German Democratic Party. Despite the proposal winning the majority of votes in the Reichstag, the Reichstag failed to draft a new law to replace Paragraph 175. See more »
PARAGRAPH 175, which premiered in the US (outside of Sundance) last night at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, is must-see viewing. When one thinks how many documentaries have been made about the Nazi oppression of Jews, Roma (formerly known as Gypsies), and other groups, it is almost inconceivable that it is only in the year 2000, 67 years after the Nazi persecution of male homosexuals started (in 1933), that a documentary on the subject is finally released. It was high time this happened. This documentary about the terrible fate of this population group aims to inform the general public, and does so well. It is aided by the excellent commentary voiced by openly gay actor and part-time Miami resident Rupert Everett. If it is shown anyplace near you, see it. It might be the only opportunity to do so, unless it is later distributed in video or DVD.
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