At the end of this very real annus terribilis, I want to say a few words to you, our loyal readers and attendees. Above all, thanks! Thanks for keeping Oscar Wilde Tours alive by reading our blog, attending our Zoom tours, watching our YouTube videos, contributing to our fundraisers—in short, for being a fabulously loyal community. When the pandemic hit the US, in March, it seemed likely to kill the company completely. Who would have thought that 9 months later, as the pandemic continued to rage, we would be putting on our 28th Zoom tour, with audiences regularly over 100, and have gathered over 28,000 views for our videos? It’s been a hard year, but ours is a tiny, flourishing corner. And we have a lot more coming after the holidays! Want to find out more?
There are not many people in history as cool as Gad Beck, a gay Jewish hero in Nazi Berlin. Beck was the child of a Jewish father and a Christian mother. This kind of thing was relatively common in early 20th century Berlin. It was also the kind of thing that drove the Nazis wild, but paradoxically, it also protected Beck, his sister, and even his father, all of whom survived the war. Beck’s Christian relatives, it must be said, were never turned by the Nazis and helped protect Beck’s family too, to the extent of their power: at least they helped feed them and tried to hide them when it was necessary. The increasing separation of Jews from the rest of society made Beck feel very attached to his Jewish identity, however. He insisted, against his parents’ will, on going to a Jewish high school. He had a long series of Jewish boyfriends. And ultimately, became a leader of the anti Nazi resistance in Berlin, serving as the lynchpin of a system that kept many of the last surviving Jews in the city hidden, fed, and alive.