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Hermann Beckers * 1923

Hamburger Berg 15 (Hamburg-Mitte, St. Pauli)

JG. 1923
"VERLEGT" 17.3.1942
ERMORDET 17.3.1942

Hermann Beckers, born on 18 Sept. 1923 in Hamburg, detained in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, then in the Gross Rosen concentration camp, transferred on 17 Mar. 1942 to the "euthanasia” killing center in Bernburg, date of death 25 Mar. 1942

Hamburger Berg 15

On 15 Aug. 1922, the Jewish woman Gitla Dobra Wien, born on 3 Apr. 1902 in Bendzin/Upper Silesia (today Bedzin in Poland), and Artur Jacob Beckers, born on 22 May 1897 in Krefeld, were married in Altona.

Artur Beckers came from a Roman Catholic family and he had converted to Judaism in 1921. Gitla held Polish citizenship and obtained her husband’s citizenship through her marriage.

The couple lived at Grosse Bergstrasse 9 on the second floor in Altona. On 18 Sept. 1923, Gitla Beckers gave birth to their son Hermann in the Israelite Hospital. He remained their only child. He, too, received German citizenship.

The situation was different for Gitla’s older sister Golda, who also lived in Altona. She had married the Polish Jew Chaje Fryc. Both were Jewish and remained Polish, as did their son Max Meier, Hermann’s cousin, born in 1919 (see

Artur Beckers worked as a "merchant” with moderate success. As a member of the Jewish Community, he paid regular contributions to the Altona Hochdeutsche Israelitische Gemeinde ("High German Israelite Community”) from 1927 until his income fell below the tax threshold during the Great Depression. Gitla Beckers earned money as a violinist in various ballroom venues without being assessed for tax.
In 1929, Hermann reached school age.

Artur Beckers and his family then moved from Altona to Hamburg. They transferred to the Jewish Community there and joined the "Neue Dammtor Synagoge.” On 6 Apr. 1936, their entry was registered. Because Artur Beckers was Catholic by birth, he was not required to contribute.

On 5 July 1938, Gitla Dobra Beckers formally resigned from the Jewish Community. Artur did not need a formal declaration of resignation; the resignation was a given to the Community by his religious affiliation at birth. Without this act, their marriage would have been considered a Jewish marriage, so they reverted to the status of a "mixed marriage” ("Mischehe”). However, this did not apply to Hermann Becker. As a "half-Jew,” he had had two Jewish parents at birth and thus remained a "Jew by definition” ("Geltungsjude”).

After finishing school, Hermann Beckers went to sea. In 1938, he signed on as a mess boy with the Hamburg-Amerika Linie and changed shipping companies until he was employed as a cabin boy with the Hamburg-Süd shipping company. In the 1939 German national census, he was registered as residing with his parents at Hamburger Berg 15. For "racial reasons,” he found no employment from 25 Sept. 1939 to 18 Oct. 1940, until he managed to go to sea as an "engine boy” (Maschinenjunge) after all.

At the beginning of 1941, Hermann Beckers was arrested off the street. Categorized as a "work-shy Jew” ("arbeitsscheuer Jude”), he was imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on 21 Apr. 1941, designated as number 37,482. On 9 Sept. 1941, he was transferred on a collective transport to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, where he was assigned prisoner number 1201.

From 12 to 15 Dec. 1941, the prisoners were selected there and a list of those sick, weakened, and unfit for work was compiled. This list was reviewed on 19 and 20 Jan. 1942, because some prisoners had died in the meantime, and another selection took place. Hermann Beckers’ name is also on this list.

The list involved preparation for a transport under the "euthanasia” program 14 f 13 at the Bernburg "euthanasia” killing center in Saxony-Anhalt, where killing was done using carbon monoxide. The transport took place on 17 Mar. 1942. As in all corresponding cases, the death of the prisoners was recorded in the death registers of the main concentration camps. According to this, Hermann Becker had died of pneumonia in the Gross Rosen concentration camp on 25 Mar. 1942.

(An addendum on the birth certificate dating from 1957, issued in Arolsen, No. 51, gives his date of death as 25.1943, which was corrected to 25 Mar. 1942 on 6 Feb. 1964).

Hermann Beckers’ parents survived the Nazi period in Hamburg. Artur Beckers died in 1950, Gitla Beckers in 1959.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: August 2021
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1, 9; FHH Standesamt 2 (heute Hamburg-Mitte), Geburtsregister Nr. 498/1923; StaHH 351-11 Wiedergutmachung, 25288, 46282; Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Datenbank der Gedenkstätte, Schreiben vom 10.7.2020; Muzeum Gross-Rosen w Rogoznicy, Schreiben vom 20. Mai 2020.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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