The University of Wisconsin Press

Gay & Lesbian Interest


An Underground Life
Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin
Gad Beck

Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies
David Bergman, Joan Larkin, and Raphael Kadushin, Series Editors

“So intense and authentic that [the] narrative pulls you along.”
—Christopher Lehman–Haupt, The New York Times

Gad Beck, a half-Jewish German, managed to evade the Nazis and live illegally, underground, in Berlin throughout the duration of World War II. While that in itself was notable, Beck didn’t simply exist in some nocturnal world of hiding. Coming of age as a gay man during the war, he also helped organize a Jewish youth group, free friends from the Gestapo, and maintain a series of romantic relationships. The result is An Underground Life: a Holocaust memoir that conveys the surreal horror of the times but also focuses more on living than dying, and captures a life that was fueled as much by a sense of romance, adventure, and humor, as it was by suffering.

Gad Beck was the director of the Jewish Adult Education Center in Berlin, Germany, until his retirement. He is still very active as a public speaker on life in Berlin during the Nazi period.

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Memoirs of a Gay Jew

Fall 2004

176 pp., 23 b/w photos, 2 maps

ISBN 978-0-299-16500-0
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Paper $18.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-16504-8
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