Gad Beck | Judith Kessler/Jerusalem Post | 14379
Gay Activist is sad to learn of the passing of Gad Beck, pictured left, an anti-Nazi Zionist resistance fighter and the last known gay Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, who died on Sunday in Berlin six days before his 89th birthday. Beck was a pioneering gay activist and educator in a severely anti-homosexual, repressive Germany. He was famous for his witty, lively style of speaking. 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.
He had immigrated to Israel in 1947. After his return to Germany in 1979, the first post-Holocaust head of Berlin’s Jewish community, Heinz Galinski, appointed Beck director of the Jewish Adult Education Center in Berlin.
Gay Activist sends condolences to family and friends.