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THURSDAY

Chug Chalizi—the “Circle of Pioneers”—formed on February 27, 1943, in Berlin, the same day the Nazis arrested most of the Jewish slave laborers in Germany and deported them to concentration camps. The circle was a group of resistance fighters who supported Jews in hiding by procuring them food, false IDs, and shelter. One of its members was Gad Beck, an outsider among outcasts, a Jewish boy from the poor section of Berlin who happened to be gay. Using his connections in the gay community, Beck enlisted his non-Jewish, homosexual acquaintances in the cause, eliciting food and hiding places. At 19, Beck attempted a daring rescue, disguising himself as a member of the Hitler Youth in an effort to rescue his lover from one of the camps. He failed, but kept up the fight until a Jewish spy for the Gestapo betrayed him in early 1945. Beck then spent several months in a Jewish transit camp before getting liberated by the Allies. All the while, he was openly gay—at a time when it could have cost him his life. There are many well-known accounts of Jewish struggles to survive the horrors of the Holocaust, but tales of Jewish homosexuality in wartime Germany are just emerging. According to Paul Shapiro, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, “Fear of continued harassment has prevented many [homosexual] survivors from coming forward with their stories.” Hear Beck, still a pioneer at 76, tell his at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW. Free. For reservations call (800) 400-9373. (Andrew Katz)