What’s Past Is Unfortunately Prologue

Veteran activist Charles Alexander remembers gay Jewish Holocaust survivor Gad Beck and compares today’s spread of hate by fundamentalists to the Nazis behavior in World War 2.

During the Nazi reign of terror that ended only in Germany’s defeat by the Allies in 1945, about 15,000 gay men were incarcerated in concentration camps, where an estimated 60 percent were brutally worked to death.

Those pink-triangle gays who survived found liberation by British and American soldiers to be of short duration. As homosexual criminals under Germany’s Paragraph 175 penal code they were sent back to prison. Many perished there.

Gerhard ‘Gad’ Beck, a gay Jew of mixed Jewish and gentile parentage, early on because of his classified status was fortunate to serve only one year of concentration camp incarceration.

In his autobiography — “An Underground Life: Memoirs of A Gay Jew in Nazi Germany — he tells of an incident that occurred during up-at-dawn roll call.

An unfortunate gay prisoner, starved, freezing, did not call out his ID number loud enough. As penalty a milk bucket was placed over his head, hands tied, and prisoners standing next to him were forced to whack a wooden board over, and over, and over, and over against the bucket.

Beck, who died in 2012 at age 88, was what the 1935 Nazi-imposed Nuremberg Jewish Laws classified as a “mishling.” Half Jew, half gentile. His mixed “status” aided his survival.

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