»The Silverware«

»8 Objects – 8 Fates« – panel 8

A fork and a knife from the Bremen-based silverware manufactory, model “90” with “Platura” silver plating, dating to around 1930. The remnants of a set of silver cutlery that was used for family celebrations and special occasions. Also, a 27.5 cm-long serving spoon. The silver is blackened; the pieces of cutlery have not been used and polished in a long time.

These are the Samuel family’s pieces of silverware. The family moved to Hannover in 1938 after the sale of their butcher’s shop. Johanna and Arnold Samuel tried to at least rescue a few family possessions and asked neighbours in Hagen to store some of their things.

The Samuels still had the pieces of cutlery with them when they moved to Hannover. Prior to the deportation of the parents and their son Heinz, they entrusted the few things that they had still left (amongst them the cutlery) to the care of the family of their son Paul’s wife.

In 1945, Paul Samuel returned to Hagen after years of imprisonment in the concentration camp and started to fight for reconciliation. In 1951, he was able to buy back his family home. However, the lack of social acceptance was particularly painful for him. His possessions that were stored with his neighbours for safekeeping were not returned. The new owner of Paul Samuel’s family home, who was highly regarded in the community, had to give back the “Aryanised” property in the course of the post-war restitution of Jewish property. Townspeople held the enforcement of Paul Samuel’s legal rights against him.

The silverware that could be rescued is therefore all the more valuable. Paul’s son Heinz Samuel, who was named after his murdered uncle, collects all of the mementos of his family; the silver is now in his possession.

Picture credits

Private Collection Samuel Family


Uta Schäfer-Richter: Christen jüdischer Herkunft im Nationalsozialismus – Das Beispiel der hannoverschen Landeskirche, Göttingen 2009.


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