Picks and Pans Review: Paragraph 175
Persecution was color-coded in Nazi concentration camps: yellow stars for Jews, pink triangles for gays. Through this valuable film by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman—honored at last year's Sundance festival for best documentary direction—you'll learn the strange history of Adolf Hitler's antigay campaign, perhaps launched in part to counter the political embarrassment of having an alleged homo-sexual high in his party's ranks.
More important, you'll meet several survivors from a time when some 100,000 men were arrested under Paragraph 175, an obscure law against "unnatural" sex acts. (Narrator Rupert Everett says lesbians were largely spared because they were considered "curable.") The personalities vary strikingly—from a debonair German who sought male companionship in the army after his release from prison to an angry Alsatian who declares, "I am ashamed for mankind!" You won't forget the pain in the eyes of a nonagenarian who spent more than eight years in captivity, then silently bore the burden of his past.
Bottom Line: Important history