Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Remembering the Holocaust and the pink triangle
MOVIES Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by David-Elijah Nahmod

This article shared 3983 times since Tue Apr 2, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Holocaust Remembrance Day will commence on Sunday, April 7. On that somber day, Jews worldwide will recall their 6 million fallen brothers and sisters. Entire families, and entire towns were wiped off the face of the earth as part of Hitler's "final solution to the Jewish problem."

It's now known that Jews were not the only target of the Third Reich. Disabled people, gypsies, Armenians, dissidents and LGBT people, among others, were also incarcerated in concentration camps. The 6million Jews that have been accounted for are just the starting point—we may never know the actual number of people killed during the Holocaust.

During the famous Nuremberg trials, in which Nazi war criminals were held accountable for their crimes, no mention was made of the LGBT victims. But with the rise of a visible gay community and movement, writers and filmmakers began to document the history of the Pink Triangle, the badge that gay concentration camp inmates were forced to wear. Here are a few films that help to tell that history.

Paragraph 175 (2000); 81 minutes; New Yorker Video

Paragraph 175 was the provision in the German Penal Code which criminalized homosexuality. Enacted in 1871, the law was broadened by the Nazis in 1935 and used to justify the imprisonment and killing of "perverts."

Profoundly moving and disturbing, the film Paragraph 175 gives gay survivors of the Nazi horrors a chance to tell the world what happened to them. Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk) produced the movie.

Through the use of archival photos, Paragraph 175 recalls the the glittering gay community that briefly flourished in Berlin during the 1920s. For a short period of time, the city was an open gay mecca. It all collapsed after Hitler assumed power in 1933.

More than 50 years after the war, gay men in their 80s and 90s recall the unimaginable abuses they endured. One man tearfully tells of the last time he saw his lover, who was killed in Dachau at age 21. Another retreated to the closet after the war, marrying and having a family. Towards the end of his life, he's able to once again admit that he's a gay man. He speaks of the wounds, both physical and emotional, which for him never healed.

These men are tortured by their memories. Their resilience, their will to live and to tell their stories, is inspiring.

Amazingly, we find out that the German government didn't repeal Paragraph 175 until 1994. It wasn't until 2000, the year this film was produced, that Germany's gay community received a formal apology for what was done to them.

Cabaret (1972); 124 min.; Warner Home Video

Eight Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Liza Minnelli) and Best Director (Bob Fosse) were accorded to this classic musical drama. Perhaps the darkest musical ever produced, Cabaret is set in 1931 Berlin. The Weimer Era, that brief period of sexual and personal freedom, was coming to a close as the Nazis were coming to power.

At the wildly decadent Kit Kat Club, chorus girl/prostitute Sally Bowles (Minnelli) is having the time of her life. She strikes up a close friendship with Brian (Michael York) a conservative, British academic. She tries to seduce him, but he's gay.

At a wild weekend they spend with the wealthy, bisexual Max (Helmut Griem), it becomes unclear who's seducing who.

Cabaret isn't a traditional musical—the film's glittering song and dance numbers are set primarily on the stage of the Kit Kat Club. The songs are used to illustrate the era's freewheeling decadence—the characters don't burst into song when they're offstage.

As Sally gleefully flaunts her bohemian lifestyle, the Nazis can be seen in the background, gradually rising to prominence.

Cabaret ultimately becomes a chilling portrait of what Germany briefly was, and what it was about to become. It's a brilliant and unforgettable work.

Hitler's Children (2012); 83 min.; Film Movement

How would you live with yourself, you might ask, if your name were Goering or Hoess? For Bettina Goering, niece of Hitler's friend and colleague Hermann Goering, the answer is to tie her tubes. Her brother had a vasectomy. Their goal is simple: to end their family line.

Goering lives in exile, in a peaceful if isolated house a few miles outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She walks her dog along the countryside, and has a cup of coffee on her balcony. It's an idyllic life. As viewers watch her interview during the opening moments of Hitler's Children, they might be left with the impression that her home's locale is an escape from the world. A world that might judge her for the role her Uncle played in the extermination of millions of human beings.

For 83 minutes, filmmaker Chanoch Ze'evi, an Israeli citizen and a third-generation Holocaust survivor, allows the descendants of the Third Reich to tell their stories.

"I break the taboo of not loving your parents," said Niklas Frank. His father, Hans Frank, was Governor-General of Occupied Poland. Governor Frank was directly responsible for the extermination of Polish Jews. The younger Frank, author of two books, now spends his time visiting schools, lecturing students about the horrors of the Third Reich.

Ze'evi's film is low=key, yet powerful. The camera focuses on the interviewees and allows them to speak. They're somber, yet they display little emotion. Read between the lines. They're haunted by their family histories. They live with shame and guilt—they are perhaps the unacknowledged victims of the Holocaust.

It's chilling to watch Rainer Hoess visit Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp built by Rudolf Hoess, his grandfather. Later, the younger Hoess visits a classroom in Israel, facing students who's families survived the Nazi horrors.

"Why are you here?" one of them asks.

The pain in Hoess' eyes says it all: an attempt to make amends for an unimaginable tragedy that wasn't his doing. It's a horror that will haunt him, and those he faces, for all their lives.

Novembermoon (1985); 108 min.; Wolfe Video

This intense drama tells the story of two women who fall in love in Nazi-occupied Paris. One of them, November, is Jewish. She lives in hiding. To help cover their tracks, her girlfriend does secretarial work at a newspaper which publishes Nazi propaganda. The film chronicles their struggle to stay together and alive until the end of the war.

Beautifully acted, Novembermoon shows that love can indeed triumph over hate.

Currently unavailable on DVD, distributor Wolfe Video has made the film available for streaming at the company website:

Bent (1997); 104 min.; MGM

Based on an acclaimed play, Bent tells another tale of love amidst the Nazi horrors. Max (Clive Owen), is an inmate at Dachau. He's wracked with guilt, having been forced by his Nazi captors to beat his boyfriend to death. At the camp, he pretends to be Jewish so as to not be known as a "pervert".

Fellow inmate Horst (Lothaire Bluteau) wears his pink triangle proudly. As the two fall in love, Max can no longer deny who he is. In scenes that are both uplifting and heartbreaking, Max and Horst express their love, and their sexual desire for each other, through secret whispers. They're unable to touch, and never do.

Bent is a difficult film to sit through. It doesn't attempt to romanticize the grim reality of life in a concentration camp. Though nudity and sexuality are kept to a minimum, the film's intense subject matter garnered it an NC 17 rating. Bent gives viewers a good look at what the interviewees in Paragraph 175 referred to—it's shocking to realize that such things actually happened.

This article shared 3983 times since Tue Apr 2, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Brittany Devon meets a 'Platonic Girlfriend' 2021-09-15
- Queer, genderfluid actor Brittany Devon has created a brand new project to explore with Platonic Girlfriend. It is the story of a relationship between straight woman Alice and a queer, nonbinary person named Dev. Devon stars ...

Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...

Gay News

MOVES Talking about 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' 2021-09-08
- The new movie Everybody's Talking About Jamie tells the inspiring story of Jamie New, a young drag artist who overcomes hardship and homophobia in Sheffield, England. Out actor Max Harwood stars as New, who gets by ...

Gay News

Survivor shares the story of trauma and thriving in 'Untold' 2021-09-07
- WARNING: This article contains material of a graphic nature. Gina M. Garcia is finally sharing her story of thriving after trauma in her new docu-drama biography, Untold: This is My Story, which premieres Sept. 6 at ...

Gay News

MOVIES Fall films harvest famous names for LGBTQ+ stories 2021-09-01
- The film industry is featuring world-renowned names like Lady Gaga, Truman Capote and Tammy Faye on the big screen this fall season. Award-winning musicals, true-life stories and far-out fiction are all part of the fun in ...

Gay News

MOVIES 'On Broadway' to open Sept. 10 in Highland Park 2021-09-01
- As theatergoers prepare for the return of Broadway after an unprecedented absence of 18 months, Kino Lorber is releasing Academy Award nominee Oren Jacoby's documentary On Broadway. The tribute to one of the most vibrant ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Billy Porter, 'Death Drop,' Brandi Carlile, vintage films, Gaga 2021-08-29
- Billy Porter will direct a queer teen comedy feature titled To Be Real for Amazon Studios, which is being helmed by Gabrielle Union's I'll Have Another Productions, noted. Porter, who is currently working on his ...

Gay News

EVENTS Celebrity attendees named for Wizard World Chicago 2021-08-28
- William Shatner (Star Trek; TV's Boston Legal), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, TV's The Walking Dead), Matthew Lewis (All Creatures Great and Small), James Marsters (TV series Buffy the ...

Gay News

TV Netflix animated series 'Chicago Party Aunt' debuts Sept. 17 2021-08-27
- The LGBTQ-inclusive series Chicago Party Aunt will debut on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 17. Inspired by the popular Twitter account Chicago Party Aunt, this eight-episode adult animated comedy follows Diane Dunbrowski and nephew Daniel as they ...

Gay News

Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival announces full slate 2021-08-25
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival today announced the full slate of programming for 2021, opening September 23, 2021 at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.) and running September 24 ...

Gay News

MOVIES 'Mr. SOUL!' looks at groundbreaking '60s show and Black, gay host 2021-08-23
- Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Muhammad Ali, The Last Poets, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sidney Poitier, Mavis Staples and even a teenaged Arsenio Hall were ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ RuPaul, GALECA toast, Elliot Page, 'Chippendales,' bi model 2021-08-22
- RuPaul revealed a new wax figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, a press release noted. The all-new Rainbow Runway experience invites guests to "meet" and take cues from the most commercially successful drag queen of all ...

Gay News

MUSIC Lyric Opera of Chicago's 'Pagliacci' on film 2021-08-18
- Lyric Opera of Chicago announced that registration is now open for audiences to secure a free link to screen the new, original film production of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, filmed at the Lyric Opera House. Audiences can now ...

Gay News

MOVIES Candyman 'Say It. I Dare You' challenge Aug. 21-22 in Chicago 2021-08-17
- The Candyman "Say it. I Dare You!" challenge—an interactive pop-up experience—will take place Aug. 21-22, 12-8 p.m., at Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave. Guests are invited to enter a dark room where they are challenged ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.