Children in the Ghetto and in the Concentration Camp Kaiserwald

»Deported to their Deaths« – panel 25 – Biographies

The deportation to Riga robbed 74 under 14-year olds and 45 14- to 18-year olds of their childhood and youth. They too became victims and witnesses to illness, cold, hunger, and death and were confronted with maltreatment and executions.

The survival in Nazi camps depended on an individual’s ability to work. The selections in the ghetto, and especially in the concentration camp Kaiserwald, therefore affected not only the sick and elderly but also children under 14 years of age. Many parents claimed that their children were older to protect them from being murdered. They also tried to hide their children during the roll calls that preceded the selections.

The young generation gave the parents emotional stability in the camp environment and fuelled their will to live. Conversely, the permanent danger of loosing one’s family intensified fears.

Youth, in contrast, were treated as adults. They had to fully conform to the rules of the camp and to take on responsibility for themselves and others.

Lore Oppenheim remembers: “I was 15 years old, or so, and I was an adult, and you had to work. (…) and if you didn’t work, they beat you.


Exhibition: Deported to their Deaths
Duration: December 15th, 2011 to January 27th, 2012
Location: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Panel: 25 from 39 – Biographies
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond