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LGBT History Month profile: Holocaust survivor Gad Beck

Equality Forum
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gad Beck, Holocaust Survivor
b. June 30, 1923
d. June 24, 2012

“Even today we are not liberated. We are just beginning.”

Gad Beck was a Holocaust survivor who helped gays and Jews escape the Nazis.

He was born in Berlin to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother who converted to Judaism. In 1943, Beck and his father were seized by the Nazis.

Gad Beck

Gad Beck

The Gentile wives protested and convinced the Nazis to release the prisoners. Beck joined an underground movement to help Jews escape to Switzerland. He relied on non-Jewish gays to help hide the Jews. Beck was not deported because he was not considered fully Jewish.

When the Nazis captured his lover, Manfred Lewin, Beck tried to save him by impersonating a Hitler youth. Lewin refused the opportunity to escape because he did not want to leave his family. Lewin and his family were deported to Auschwitz, where they were murdered.

Beck led a Zionist group called “Chug Chaluzi” (Circle of Pioneers). The organization helped shelter, feed and transport Jews to safety.

In 1945, he was betrayed by a Jewish spy for the Gestapo and sent to a holding camp in Berlin. He was freed when the Allies defeated the Nazis.

The German government continued to repress homosexuals. Although gays were liberated from the Nazis, they were subject to incarceration because homosexuality was criminal.

Beck helped gay German Jews escape prosecution by taking them to Israel. In 1979, he returned to Germany and continued his activism in the gay and Jewish communities. He was the director of the Jewish Adult Education Center in Berlin.

In 2000, Beck’s autobiography, “An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin,” was published.

In 2006, the film “The Story of Gad Beck” was released. Beck was featured in “Paragraph 175,” an HBO documentary about gay Holocaust survivors.

Beck is survived by Julius Laufer, his partner of 35 years.

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15 more reader comments:

  1. Bless you xoxo

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 12:36am
  2. Stay strong sir

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 12:39am
  3. God bless you, I can’t even imagine what you’ve seen or been through! xoxox

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 12:52am
  4. May he be at peace. Always.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:01am
  5. Bless you!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:02am
  6. Thank you for your service to the communities….!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:20am
  7. May all of GODS Glory hold you…Shabbot Shalom.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:58am
  8. What a great heart! He is truly blessed!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:05am
  9. A great man, and a hero…

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 5:01am
  10. there is no god. no god would have let that man go through the shit he did or anyone. you’re mental.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 5:33am
  11. You cannot share in a moment of commiseration without banging your screed? For shame.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:31am
  12. thank you sir…

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:33am
  13. He (and others like him) deserved the peace prize.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:46am
  14. Job offering get paid in US DOLLARS. No experience needed,money will be sent to you through western union, go to the link. http://www.TheWorkPaid.com/?share=43993 I TRY IT AND IT WORKS.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:28pm
  15. He passed away in 2012, he was strong till the end. It puts so much on how little progress has been made and how long it has taken. But change is happening, and will continue, especially by us learning and sharing this type of history….

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 4:14pm