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.
After Manfred was deported, Gad became a member of the underground, finding hiding places for Jews escaping to Switzerland. He brought them food and news, and acted as a contact until he was betrayed by a Jewish double agent in 1945. Gad was interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of World War II.
After the war, Gad organized displaced German Jews to emigrate to Palestine. In 1947 he moved there himself, but he returned to Berlin in 1979 where he was director of the Jewish Adult Education Center in Berlin until he retired. He is survived by his long time partner Julius Laufer.
Jean Ann Esselink is straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.
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