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Paragraph 175 (2002)

Rupert Everett , Klaus Müller , Jeffrey Friedman , Rob Epstein  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Price: $29.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Rupert Everett, Klaus Müller, Karl Gorath, Pierre Seel, Heinz F.
  • Directors: Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 23, 2002
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YUP1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,098 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Paragraph 175" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Rupert Everett narrates this sensitive documentary about the Nazi persecution of homosexuals during World War II. "Paragraph 175" refers to the old German penal code concerning homosexuality, which was used to justify the prosecution of gay men during the war (the code ignored lesbians, still considered viable baby-making vessels). As mere rumor became enough to justify imprisonment, over 100,000 were arrested and between 10,000 and 15,000 were sent to concentration camps. In Paragraph 175, Klaus Müller, a historian from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, sets out to interview the fewer than 10 who are known to remain alive. The film covers the astonishingly quick rise of Hitler (one interviewee points out how ridiculous a figure he seemed at first) and the shock that more liberal Germans felt as it became clear that he was a force to be reckoned with. Some of the film's most touching moments come when the participants reminisce about their first loves and the "homosexual Eden" that was Berlin in the 1930s. This is a beautifully well made documentary that poignantly captures a piece of nearly forgotten history. --Ali Davis

Product Description

The Nazi persecution of homosexuals may be the last untold story of the Third Reich. Directed by Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT and THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK), PARAGRAPH 175 fills a crucial gap in the historical record, and reveals the lasting consequences of this hidden chapter of 20th century history. These are stories of survivors - sometimes bitter, but just as often filled with irony and humor; tortured by their memories, yet infused with a powerful will to endure. Their moving testimonies, rendered with evocative images of their lives and times, tell a haunting, compelling story of human resistance. Intimate in its portrayals, sweeping in its implications, PARAGRAPH 175 raises provocative questions about memory, history and identity.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less a Documentary than a Reminiscence July 29, 2002
PARAGRAPH 175 is a beautifully photographed, historicaly accurate, sensitively enlightening film about the Nazi persecution and slaughter of the Pink Triangle, as male homosexuals were designated in Hitler's concentration camps. But for once a documenting film does not focus on grotesque pictures of bodies, wretched camp conditions or images of abuse and torture. The film's makers instead opt for the more sensitive approach of interviewing the few remaining men (and one woman)who survived the period. From these elderly gentlemen we hear memories of how fun Berlin was from 1914 to 1918, the between war period when life was raucous and liberated. We then learn through their words and through film clips of the growing influence of Hitler and his own gay SA General, the response of a people wilted from WWI needing hope for a future and not realizing the depravity of the promises of the Nazi party, the ugly truth. It is this insidious perpetration of evil that becomes most pungent in the faces and words of the survivors. This is a beautifully realized documentary and one that will open eyes to a fact that most people remain unaware of even today.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful, defiant, angry, joyous October 22, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent piece of documentary filmmaking, not only from the perspective of the production values, but especially of the reportage. It is made clear throughout the documentary how extraordinarily difficult it was to get the extremely elderly men who were the survivors of the Holocaust to think back to what must have been a horrifying period in their lives. The producers managed to get through, however, sometimes with the help of friends, sometimes on their own, and the effect is a devastating one. I cannot agree with the reviewer from Louisiana who carped about "too many Nazi movies". First of all, the Holocaust is a horror which must never be forgotten, and there is no point at which there will be too much information about a "civilized" Western European country which slaughtered millions upon millions upon millions of people at a time which is still in the living memory of countless Europeans, Americans and other citizens of the world. Second, I would have a hard time in coming up with any short list, let alone long list of written, audio or video material which treats the specific subject of the extermination of gay people in Hitler's camps. Gay men were one of the secondary groups of slaughter, of course, in comparison to the breathtaking horror that was visited upon the Jews, but they were a major group nevertheless, and if the critic in Louisiana thinks that this is a story that does not need telling, then I'm sorry, but he's wrong. It does need telling, and the point to this documentary is that not many more years will pass before all of those who survived the terror are gone, gone, gone. Read more ›
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BASHING OF GAY MEN BY THE NAZI REGIME... November 3, 2002
This is a beautifully executed documentary that is approached with great sensitivity. An official selection of the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, the film is named after Paragraph 175, Germany's anti-sodomy law, which was enacted in 1871 and was gender specific to males. It is this statute upon which the Nazi regime relied to round up homosexual men for internment in its infamous concentration camps. Once interned, they were reduced to wearing the now infamous "pink triangle" to herald their homosexuality.
This documentary focuses on poignant reminiscences by the handful of homosexual men, now in their eighties and nineties, as well as one elderly lesbian who had managed to escape from Germany to England, who survived their experiences, were still alive at the time of filming, and willing to talk about this painful time in their lives. Their stories, sensitively handled by interviewer and historian Klaus Muller, are coupled with wonderful archival footage of a Germany of long ago, and come to life under the expert hands of directors Jerry Friedman and Rob Epstein.
The film discusses Weimar Germany's tolerance of homosexuality in the post World War I era, which tolerance continued up until the time the Nazis took control of the country. Berlin was a mecca for homosexuals before the Nazis took over, and Paragraph 175 was largely ignored. The film is highly successful in capturing the joie de vivre of that era, with wonderful archival film footage, stills, and music of a pre-Adolph Hitler Berlin, interspersed with clips of Marlene Dietrich in the film "The Blue Angel" (1931). The use of that film, as well as its signature song "Falling In Love Again", is a perfect marriage with this documentary, as it captures the flavor of the Weimar Republic before Adolph Hitler cast his shadow upon it.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survivors of the Pink Triangle August 4, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
From the Oscar-winning producers of "The Times of Harvey Milk" (Best Documentary Feature, 1984) and "Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt" (Best Documentary Feature, 1989) comes this exquisitely composed film about the persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Narrated by Rupert Everett, the film combines archival footage and photographs with recent interviews with a handful of gay survivors who were still living at the end of the 20th century. What emerges is a stunning, emotionally raw portrait of individuals who were thrown into a living hell only to crawl back out into a world where their perceptions of humanity - and self - would never be fully healed. This is a film with moments both heartbreaking (a man in his mid-ninties tells that his mother never asked even one question about his lengthy internment, and confides his unfilled yearning to talk with his father), and mind-numbing (another survivor describes the horrific meaning of the place known as the "singing forest"). One of the few works to explore the Nazi persecution of gays (along with the play and film "Bent", the books "The Pink Triangle" and "The Men with the Pink Triangles", etc.), "Paragraph 175" is by far the best at personalizing this incomprehensible chapter in gay history, and is a definite "must-see".
The DVD edition is highly recommended. In addition to the film, it includes the original theatrical trailer, and two bonus interviews from the Shoah Foundation featuring non-homosexuals offering their personal accounts of how gay men were treated in the concentration camps. Fascinating and deeply moving, a worthy double-feature companion to Steven Spielberg/The Shoah Foundation's Oscar-winning documentary feature, "The Last Days".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Delivered quickly and in good condition. This is a very heart wrenching movie, a good history lesson.
Published 1 day ago by Escher
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting dvd
interesting new info. on what was going on behind the curtain. The dvd contains explicit footage (adults only). good for college history class.
Published 8 months ago by steve
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Follow
An all right video, but if you don't speak and understand German, it's very difficult to understand. Translations would help immensely.
Published 19 months ago by John H. Marvin, Madison, WI - Broadway devotee
4.0 out of 5 stars Soft approach to Nazi stand
It is a doco softly-softly approaching the realm of the Nazi extermination of the same gender attracted in Germany mostly, emphasized with a survived-this-Holocaust-kept-in-silence... Read more
Published on February 8, 2012 by Michael Kerjman
1.0 out of 5 stars What the...
OK,I understand this is a great movie. I just saw part of it on "Current". BUT! How do you justify the price of the disc? Read more
Published on September 18, 2011 by J. SCHWEND
4.0 out of 5 stars I feel a lack of words to express how I feel
I went through a whole gambit of emotions while watching this documentary. I was surprised to find out that in Berlin in the 1940's the city was called the homosexual Eden. Read more
Published on June 29, 2010 by S. Lyda
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning documentary
This was a part of history I had never heard about before and I have studied a lot of WW2 history. It's an incredible story beautifully told. Read more
Published on November 20, 2009 by Celia Bauer
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Amazing...
This DVD was shown at a campus-wide event sponsored by the Ally Group called "DocuMovie Night". Reception of the message was fantastic. Read more
Published on April 25, 2008 by Joshua L. Lindgren
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but True
Anyone interested in hate and intolerance issues around the globe today, or wants to educate others, will need to watch this DVD. Read more
Published on July 15, 2007 by Robert Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal freedom
This excellent documentary will make fascinating viewing for anyone interested in gay history, the history of the Nazi period, or human rights. Read more
Published on March 30, 2007 by Roger McLernon
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