The Last Jewish And Gay Holocaust Survivor, Gad Beck, Dies – “God Doesn’t Punish For A Life Of Love.”
Please watch ‘Paragraph 175′ to see him tell his story. It is just wonderful. Well, not the concentration camp part, but what a joyful, strong man.
Gad Beck, an anti-Nazi Zionist resistance fighter and the last known gay Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, died on Sunday in Berlin. He passed away in a senior citizens’ home six days before his 89th birthday, which would have been on June 30.
Beck was a pioneering gay activist and educator in a severely anti-homosexual, repressive post-World War II German society. He was famous for his witty, lively style of speaking.
On a German talk show, he said, “The Americans in New York called me a great hero. I said no… I’m really a little hero.”
Perhaps the single most important experience that shaped his life was the wartime effort to rescue his boyfriend. Beck donned a Hitler Youth uniform and entered a deportation center to free his Jewish lover Manfred Lewin, who had declined to separate himself from his family.
The Nazis would later deport the entire Lewin family to Auschwitz, where they were murdered.
Speaking about his life as a gay Jew, Beck invoked a line frequently cited about homosexuality: “God doesn’t punish for a life of love.”
He was featured in the film The Life of Gad Beck and the documentary Paragraph 175. (The notorious Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code outlawed homosexuality before Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933, and the Nazi party radically intensified the enforcement of the anti-gay law, including deportations to extermination camps.) “Only Steven Spielberg can film my life – forgive me, forgive me,” Beck quipped.