The Becher Family

»Deported to their Deaths« – panel 19 – Biographies

The cattle trader Salli Becher (1878-1936) and his wife Rosa, née Mendel (1883-1944), had three sons: Rolf (1912-1942), Joachim Isaak (called Jochen, 1923-1942), and Klaus (1926-2008, since 1945 Claus). After Salli Becher’s death, the National Socialists confiscated the business and bank accounts. To support the family income, Claus Becher took on work as an errand boy.

After Riga, Stutthof, and an odyssey on the Baltic Sea, Claus was liberated by the British in May 1945 – with a weight of 37 kg. He was the only survivor of his family.

Rolf Becher was hanged by the SS on March 18th, 1942, because he traded his shirt with Latvians for a loaf of bread. It was the first murder of this nature in the ghetto.

The following month, Jochen Becher was killed in Salaspils. After he became “to weak to work, the Nazi animals did not give him anything to eat anymore. They just let him (…) freeze to death!”   

In July 1944, Rosa Becher was forced naked into a truck with other men and women in the concentration camp Kaiserwald and was gassed inside the vehicle outside of the ghetto.

Claus Becher moved from Sweden to the USA in 1946.

Picture credits

Photo: Klaus-Dieter Engel, Halsdorf


Exhibition: Deported to their Deaths
Duration: December 15th, 2011 to January 27th, 2012
Location: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Panel: 19 from 39 – Biographies
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond