The Fürst Family

»Deported to their Deaths« – panel 22 – Biographies

The well respected merchants Max Fürst and Else (Elise), née Jacoby, gave up their business on Karmaschstraße after “Boycott Day”. Their older son (b. 1914) emigrated to South Africa in 1936. Their younger son Helmut (b. 1922) secretly trained as an electrician after he was forced to drop out of school.

At the time of their deportation, the husband and wife were almost sixty years old; they were born in 1883 and 1884, respectively. Helmut was 19 years old.

From Riga, Helmut Fürst was brought to the satellite camp Lenta. Here, inmates worked for the SS (Protection Squadron), SD (Security Service), and Gestapo (Secret State Police) in workshops of every description. Qualified tradesmen had the highest chance of survival in the National Socialist camp system: We were not allowed to ‘devour our food’; we had to eat [properly]. And: We had beds with white linens …” Nonetheless, arbitrary beatings were common, and underperforming detainees were replaced.

Prior to the withdrawal of the Germans from Latvia, Fürst and fellow inmates were saved from the impending execution by two of the guards that tipped them off. The Russian military rescued the small group from their hiding place.

Helmut Fürst visited his parents several times in the ghetto from Lenta. Later, he found out that they were no longer there. “But nobody knew where they had gone.

In 1945, Helmut Fürst returned to Hannover and established a renowned real estate business. He was astonished that “there were suddenly no National Socialists anymore.

Picture credits

Private Collection, Fürst Family


Exhibition: Deported to their Deaths
Duration: December 15th, 2011 to January 27th, 2012
Location: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Panel: 22 from 39 – Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond