There have been hundreds of Holocaust documentaries in our time, and Paragraph 175 is certainly one of them. The new angle here is that, for what may be the first time, homosexual survivors of the Holocaust atrocities have come forward--some hesitantly--to tell their stories. The problem, shameful as it is to admit, is that the flood of Holocaust documentaries that came before have stripped this film of its potential fire and intensity. From beginning to end, I caught myself thinking, "Yes, these are horrible stories. Now tell me something new." And that something never came.
The film gets its title from Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code of 1871, which states, "An unnatural sex act committed between persons of male sex or by humans with animals is punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights may also be imposed." According to the film, this law was later modified by the Nazi party to include a broader definition of homosexuality and, of course, the loss of civil rights was uniformly imposed. It was finally abolished in 1969.
Continue reading: Paragraph 175 Review