Paragraph 175

The German Reichstag passed the following version of Paragraph 175, which imposed harsher legal restrictions and penalties on sexual activity between men, in 1935. With this law came a dramatic increase in the number of individuals facing prosecution for homosexual activity.
German Reichstag
Grade Level

175. A male who commits lewd and lascivious acts (Unzucht) with another male or permits himself to be so abused for lewd and lascivious acts, shall be punished by imprisonment. In a case of a participant under 21 years of age at the time of the commission of the act, the court may, in especially slight cases, refrain from punishment.

175a. Confinement in a penitentiary not to exceed ten years and, under extenuating circumstances, imprisonment for not less than three months shall be imposed: (1) Upon a male who, with force or with threat of imminent danger to life and limb, compels another male to commit lewd and lascivious acts with him or compels the other party to submit to abuse for lewd and lascivious acts; (2) Upon a male who, by abuse of a relationship of dependence upon him, in consequence of service, employment, or subordination, induces another male to commit lewd and lascivious acts with him or to submit to being abused for such acts; (3) Upon a male who being over 21 years of age induces another male under 21 years of age to commit lewd and lascivious acts with him or to submit to being abused for such acts; (4) Upon a male who professionally (gezverbsmdssig) engages in lewd and lascivious acts with other men, or submits to such abuse by other men, or offers himself for lewd and lascivious acts with other men.

175b. Lewd and lascivious acts contrary to nature between human beings and animals shall be punished by imprisonment; loss of civil rights may also be imposed.

Planning a lesson or unit on the Holocaust? Try grouping this text with the The Reich Citizenship Law of September 15, 1935, "Out of Auschwitz," "Hope, Despair and Memory," and "StoryCorps: Father, Daughter and the Holocaust."

This text is in the public domain.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    Restate the first two sentences of Paragraph 175 in your own words.
    Men who have sex with other men will be imprisoned unless they are under the age of 21, in which case exceptions
     may be made.
  2. Question
    What conditions does section 175b outline in the description of criminalized homosexual relations? What circumstances does this language exclude?
    The law describes sexual acts between men where force, abuse, coercion or prostitution is involved. This does not include consensual adult relations, nor does it mention sexual relations between women.
  3. Question
    What does section 175b say? How do you interpret the inclusion of this section in Paragraph 175?
    Section 175b criminalizes sex between humans and animals. Students should be able to identify that a moral equivalency is being made between bestiality and homosexuality.
Reveal Answers
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