Over the past weekend Gad Beck, the last known gay survivor of the Holocaust, died
, less than a week away from his 89th birthday.
An Austrain Jew, Beck was born to a Jewish father and converted mother. When the Nazis rose to power, this meant Beck was considered a “half-breed” by law, so he and his father were detained in Berlin, though they were released after a protest by non-Jewish wives and mothers.
Beck is infamous for dressing up in a Hitler Youth uniform in an attempted rescue of his Jewish boyfriend from a deportation centre, though his boyfriend, along with his entire family, was deported to Auschwitz.
Beck joined an underground Zionist resistance group that helped Jews survive in Berlin, though he and fellow resistance fighters were betrayed by a Jewish Gestapo spy.
After the war, Beck spent more than two decades living in Israel, later moving back to Berlin to work as a leader in the Jewish community. Questioned about his faith, Beck answered, “God doesn’t punish for a life of love.”
Two years ago marked the passing of another of the last gay Holocaust survivors, Montreal-based German ex-pat, painter Peter Flinsch