Jun 26, 2012

AN UNDERGROUND LIFE: Gerhard “Gad Beck”, the last known gay Jewish Holocaust survivor died Sunday a few days short of his 89th birthday

Gay Pride and much, much more:  Gerhard ¨Gad Beck¨
¨Gad Beck, the last known gay and Jewish Holocaust survivor, who penned an autobiography of his life underground during the Third Reich, has passed away

Gerhard “Gad Beck”, the last known gay Jewish Holocaust survivor died Sunday a few days short of his 89th birthday. Gad was featured in the HBO Documentary Paragraph 175, which told the stories of gay men persecuted during the Nazi regime. In the film, Gad remembers his “great great love” who was killed in the holocaust.

In his 2000 biography, An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin, Gad recounted his memories of trying to rescue his lover, Manfred Lewin, who had been arrested with his family and was being held in a pre-deportation facility by the Nazi government. Beck dressed in a Hitler Youth uniform and managed to persuade the commanding officer that Manfred was needed as a laborer on a nearby construction project. Once outside the building, Manfred decided he could not desert his family and ever feel free. Manfred was deported, and Gad never saw him again..¨ HERE

Born: Berlin, Germany


Gad grew up in Berlin. His father was a Jewish immigrant from Austria. Gad's mother had converted to Judaism. The Becks lived in a poor section of Berlin, populated predominantly by Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe. When Gad and his twin sister, Miriam, were 5, the Becks moved to the Weissensee district of Berlin, where Gad entered primary school.

1933-39: I was just 10 when the Nazis came to power. As one of a small number of Jewish pupils in my school, I quickly became the target of antisemitic comments: "Can I sit somewhere else, not next to Gad? He has such stinking Jewish feet." In 1934 my parents enrolled me in a Jewish school, but I had to quit school when I was 12 as they could no longer afford the tuition. I found work as a shop assistant.

1940-44: As the child of a mixed marriage [Mischlinge], I was not deported to the east when other German Jews were. I remained in Berlin where I became involved in the underground, helping Jews to escape to Switzerland. As a homosexual, I was able to turn to my trusted non-Jewish, homosexual acquaintances to help supply food and hiding places. In early 1945 a Jewish spy for the Gestapo betrayed me and a number of my underground friends. I was interned in a Jewish transit camp in Berlin.

After the war, Gad helped organize the emigration of Jewish survivors to Palestine. In 1947 he left for Palestine, and returned to Berlin in 1979.

· Thanks to The New Civil Rights Movement, sidebar
· Thanks to ¨Gad Beck¨ LGBT Hero
· Thanks to by Jean Ann Esselink
· Thanks to Holocaust Encyclopedia, HERE

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