Frieda Larsen

Frieda Larsen standing in front of the ‘denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof’ memorial site, 2017
Frieda Larsen at the ‘Hannoverscher Bahnhof Memorial’, 2017 (Photo: Miguel Ferraz Araújo)
‘As far as I know, this is the first place in Germany to have a shared remembrance site. And I still believe that both these groups of people were persecuted for the same reasons. Which is why I was so keen that we should do this together. And here we have it today. But the documentation centre still hasn’t been done. It was promised to us in 2012. And so that it’s not forgotten, the Senate should, in my opinion, officially invite people to a commemoration ceremony at this site at least once a year!’

Frieda Larsen, née Lehing, and her family were disenfranchised and persecuted by the Nazis as part of their antiziganist policies. Many of her relatives and friends were deported from Hannoverscher Bahnhof railway station in 1940 to the Belzec forced labour camp and to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in 1943 and murdered. Frieda and her siblings were considered ‘persons of mixed blood’ as their father belonged to the Sinti group, but not their mother. At school they were discriminated against. Her father was assigned to forced labour in air-raid defences at the port. The family lived in constant fear of being deported, too.

Frieda, her parents and her siblings survived the war in Hamburg. Frieda was 15 years old when the war ended. For many years now, she has been involved in the Auschwitz Committee and has campaigned for the creation of the ‘denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof’ memorial site and documentation centre.

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A man holding his son on the hand standing next to his wife who has a child in her arms. Both are in front of a house
Lehing family, 1934