On my city walk in Jewish Berlin, meet Gad Beck. He was the perfect Nazi enemy: a gay, communist Jew. Working class family, a daring, bold guy. He trained young Jews for life in Palestine until the Nazis stopped Jewish emigration. Going underground, he built up secret pathways through the Alps.
Gad’s greatest love was Manfred. But one day, Manfred and his family were carried off to the old Jewish senior citizen home in Grosse Hamburger Strasse, which was abused as an inner-city deportation camps for those to be deported “to the East”. Gad, a force laborer in a carpentery, was lucky to have a nice boss. When he told him about his worries, the boss said, “Look here. This is my son’s Hitler Youth HJ uniform. Take it and do your thing.”
Gad looked ridiculous –
way too old, way too tall to be HJ, but – any uniform made the job in good old Prussia, and HJ style was enough to fool a good Nazi. He went to the big building in Grosse Hamburger Strasse and started talking into the SS guard. “You’ve got that Jew in there, Manfred. I need him. He’s got the keys to my father’s workshop. We can’t work ‘cause we can’t get in. Now I need that Jew to come along and give us the key. I’ll just have him for a couple minutes.”
Uniform did the trick
Manfred was searched out and delivered to Gad. Walking away, they heard the SS guard shouting: “But you make sure to bring me the Jew back!” Gad, turning around, answered coolly, “What am I supposed to do with a Jew?” Around the corner, he pressed on Manfred, “Quick, let’s go, hurry on, I’ve got clothes for you, you’ll disappear from here, come on!” Manfred answered, “No. I won’t. If I leave now and leave my parents behind, I will never be free.” Manfred went back. He and his family were murdered in Auschwitz.
National Socialist and Jewish history
is a main focus in my profession as Berlin Guide. View my Jewish Berlin, Jewish Museum and Nazis in Berlin private city tours and city walks. I guide in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial and tour guide to Prague/Terezin and Krakow/Auschwitz.
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