The last known gay Jewish survivor of the Holocaust has passed away in Berlin, just days before he was due to celebrate his 89th birthday, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Gad Beck was an Zionist resistance fighter during the Second World War, and, in post-war Germany, a bold campaigner for gay rights when homosexuality was still illegal.
Under the Nazi regime, he famously dressed-up as a Hitler Youth member, and entered a deportation camp to free his lover, Manfred Lewin. However, Mr Lewin refused to be separated from his family, with whom he was later deported to Auschwitz, and killed there.
His life has been documented in two films, ‘The Life of Gad Beck,’ and ‘Paragraph 175,’ the latter a look at Nazi persecution of homosexuals under the eponymous penal-code, which provided legal mandate for the deportation of thousands of homosexuals in occupied territories.
As the Nazi policies against Jews became progressively more brutal, Mr Beck joined an underground Zionist resistance movement, Chug Chaluzi, and used his fellow gay acquaintances to help rescue Jewish people in Berlin. However, just before the end of the war in 1945, a Gestapo-appointed Jewish spy betrayed him, and he was put in a transit camp in Berlin, before being liberated by the Allied forces.
He emigrated to Israel in 1947, but returned to Germany in 1979, when he was appointed as the director of the Jewish Adult Education Centre in Berlin.
Mr Beck — survived now by his partner of 35 years, Julius Laufer — once said: “Only Steven Spielberg can film my life: forgive me, forgive me.”