Another living gay Holocaust survivor identified

Gad Beck (photo from U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Last week we reported that Rudolf Brazda, the last remaining Holocaust survivor who was arrested for homosexuality, had died at 98.

Over the weekend, Alice Murray, director of the Dallas Holocaust Museum, sent a message that she got word of another gay survivor who is still alive. His name is Gad Beck, and he was profiled in the film Paragraph 175.

Beck was born in 1923 and worked for the underground during World War II.

Although Beck was half-Jewish, he managed to escape detention and deportation to a concentration camp. During the war, he used his non-Jewish gay connections to get food and supply hiding places to Jews escaping to neutral Switzerland. He was betrayed by a Jewish Gestapo spy and arrested in 1945. He was held in a Jewish transit camp in Berlin until the end of the war.

After the war, he helped Jewish survivors emigrate to Palestine. In 1947, he left Germany and moved to Palestine himself. He lived in Israel until 1979 when he moved back to Berlin, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The story of the treatment of gays during the Holocaust is told in an exhibit assembled by the USHMM and is on display at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, 211 N. Record St., through Sept. 5.

UPDATE: Steve Rothaus, a writer for the Miami Herald, interviewed Beck 10 years ago. He described their discussion as very moving. Here’s the link to the article.

—  David Taffet

WHAT’S BREWING: Illinois couples, straight pride and Rudolf Brazda

Rudolf Brazda 1913-2011

1. The Census Bureau released information on same-sex couples in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports that the number of gay and lesbian couples in that states jumped by 40 percent over the last decade. The 2000 figure is very unreliable, however, and the number from the 2010 count only includes couples who marked their forms in a particular way – as married, even if the marriage is not recognized in that state or if not legally married, or as domestic partners.

2. Sao Paulo, Brazil, will celebrate Straight Pride. Associated Press reports the third Sunday in December will be marked as Straight Pride Day if the mayor signs a bill passed by the city council. LGBT groups said that the event will provoke violence against them. The sponsor said it was to protest all of the privileges the LGBT community has.

3. Rudolf Brazda, 98, has died. He was the last known Holocaust survivor who was arrested for homosexuality. An exhibit about the treatment of gays in the Holocaust continues at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, 211 N. Record St., continues through Sept. 5. Information on Brazda is included in the exhibit.

—  David Taffet