Holocausts Gay Victims
Philadelphia Inquirer, July 14, 2000
PO Box 8263, Philadelphia, PA 19101
By Desmond Ryan, Inquirer Movie Critic
The enormity of Hitlers crimes against the Jews was on such an unspeakable scale
that its easy to forget there were other victims.
Paragraph 175 is a thoughtful measure of redress for the homosexuals who suffered under
the Nazi campaign of persecution and extermination. The documentary, jointly directed by
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and taking its title from the law that outlawed
homosexuality in Germany, consists mostly of interviews with survivors.
Between 1933 and 1945, 100,000 homosexuals were arrested. Half went to prison and about
15,000 went to an even grimmer fate in the concentration camps.
The irony, and it is certainly not lost on the filmmakers, is that a strong current of
homoeroticism runs through Nazi ideals of Aryan manhood.
The survivors recollections reach to the 20s, when Berlin was the gay
capital of Europe. Everything changed in the following decade, and the stories told are
full of bitterness, pain and, amazingly, the occasional touch of bleak humor.
Most moving of all are the memories of those who made it through the double jeopardy of
being both gay and Jewish. As one remembers, "There was an incredible atmosphere of
fear." It is powerfully evoked in Paragraph 175, a work that is as much a memorial as
Paragraph 175 ***
Produced and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, narrated by Rupert Everett.
Running time: 1 hour, 26 mins.
Parents guide: No MPAA rating (adult themes).
Showing at: 7:30 tonight, Ritz East.
Desmond Ryans e-mail address is email@example.com
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