Jüdische Gemeinde Hannover
»A New Epoch for Jews in Germany«
11.12.2016 – 07.01.2017
On 15 December 1941, the first transport to the East" from Hannover left Fischerhof station for Riga with 1001 Jewish children, women and men. On 10 December, the Gestapo had begun to send people to a transit camp at the horticultural school in Ahlem.
Most of these people were "collected" from the so-called Jewish houses (ghetto houses). On the morning of 15 December, they were forced onto lorries and taken to Fischerhof railway station. Passers-by who observed the removal looked the other way. The deportees did not know where they were being taken. At Fischerhof station they were loaded onto a special Reichsbahn train without any indication of their destination. Their guards and the organisers of the deportation knew where the train was going. Registration officials entered "expelled to Riga" on the deportees‘ registration cards. Of the 1001 Hanoverians who were deported on that day, only 69 were still alive at the end of the war in 1945.
This deportation of Jewish people from the city, the largest in terms of numbers, was the final consequence of anti-Semitically motivated exclusion and disenfranchisement. The deportation of 15 December 1941 led to the annihilation of almost two-thirds of Hanover's Jewish population of the time through cold, malnutrition, forced labour and murder. The deportations to Riga from German cities are significant in the context of the extermination of European Jews as well as for the regional and local context in Hanover.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the deportation, the exhibition " 'Deported' to Death" was shown in the New Town Hall in 2011 and attracted much public interest. The Culture of Remembrance Project – now the Municipal Culture of Remembrance Office and part of the Zeitzentrum Zivilcourage - conceived the exhibition and created its content.
The exhibition provided information about the implementation of the deportation in Hannover, and the imprisonment of Hanoverian Jews in Riga Ghetto. The curators were also concerned to address the history of the perpetrators. One chapter of the exhibition also shed light on the post-war period: How do survivors deal with their fate, how is the Riga deportation commemorated in Hannover?
The focus was on the presentation of the life stories and sufferings of selected individuals and families. The "Room of Names" commemorated the 1,001 individuals and their fates. The biographical approach enabled visitors to engage intensively with the topic. The exhibition catalogue has become a sought-after standard publication for local research on the Riga deportations.