»The Driver’s License«

»8 Objects – 8 Fates« – panel 3

The driver’s license, issued on September 3rd, 1945, was handed over to Helmut Fürst on September 5th, 1945, “after a passed test”. The license holder was entitled “to operate a motor vehicle with a class three combustion engine”. The four-page document on tear-proof, folded linen paper was issued by the Hannover chief of police. The national emblem with the swastika was removed from the circular stamp. The original form stems from the year 1940 and was produced in the “Preußische Druckerei- und Verlags AG” (a printing and publishing house) in Berlin.

When the National Socialists came to power, Helmut Fürst was eleven years old. In 1938, when the synagogue in Hannover burnt, he stayed with relatives in Breslau and saw the synagogue there in flames. The architect of both buildings was Edwin Oppler.

In Hannover, Helmut Fürst had to perform forced labour with the ÜSTRA (public transport company). At the time, higher education was not attainable for Jewish students. In December 1941, his name was added to the deportation list for the Latvian capital Riga.

Helmut Fürst was among the 69 people, of the 1001 deportees from Hannover, who survived Riga.

When he returned to Hannover in 1945, he made a decision that was different from that of most survivors who emigrated in subsequent years. Helmut Fürst stayed here and settled in. The driver’s license belonged to one of his first statements that, with his newfound freedom, he wanted to take life in his own hands.

Picture credits

Private Collection, Fürst Family


Exhibition: 8 Objects – 8 Fates
Duration: From 11th December 2016 to 7th January 2017
Location: Bürgersaal, Neues Rathaus, Hannover
Panel: 3 from 10 – The Driver’s License
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond