Paragraph 175 (2000): Homosexuals in Nazi Germany (and Beyond) (LGBTQ, Gay)

Acclaimed filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk) directed Paragraph 175, a revelatory account of homosexuals in Nazi Germany, narrated by Rupert Everett.

The film was produced by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Janet Cole, Michael Ehrenzweig, Sheila Nevins and Howard Rosenman.

The film chronicles the lives of several gay men and one lesbian who were persecuted by the Nazis.

The gay men were arrested by the Nazis for the crime of homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code, which dates back to 1871.

It is estimated that between 1933 and 1945, 100,000 men were arrested under Paragraph 175. Some were imprisoned, others sent to concentration camps. Only about 4,000 survived.

In 2000, fewer than ten of these men were known to be living. Five of those come forward to tell their stories for the first time, considered to be among the last untold stories of the Third Reich.

Paragraph 175 tells of a gap in the historical record, revealing the consequences, as told through personal stories of gay men and women who lived through it.

The participants include:

Karl Gorath; Gad Beck, the half-Jewish resistance fighter who spent the war helping refugees escape Berlin;

Annette Eick, a Jewish lesbian who escaped to England with the help of a woman she loved;

Albrecht Becker, German Christian photographer, who was arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality, then joined the army on his release because he “wanted to be with men”

Pierre Seel, the Alsatian teenager, forced watched as his lover was eaten alive by dogs in the camps.

We look into photo albums and follow them to Berlin, for which there is plenty of vintage film footage.

Except for Eick, who escaped to England, and Becker, who was lucky enough to land in a regular prison, they did their time in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Mauthausen.

They faced physical torture, medical experimentation, and public humiliation. The stories they tell, such as of a “singing forest” with prisoners hanged to scream from hooks in trees, are horrific