FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. – As part of the observance of the Holocaust Days of Remembrance, April 11 – 18, Holocaust survivor Fred Taucher gave the keynote address at a presentation at Fairchild. Mr. Taucher shared his experiences with the base community. Below is a copy of Mr. Taucher's biography.
Mr. Taucher was born in Berlin, Germany in 1933, the same year that Hitler came to power. His father was a tailor and had a tailor shop in the major business area of Berlin. In November 1938, during the Kristallnacht his father's shop was destroyed by the Nazis. His sewing machines, inventory and other business tools were taken away from him and he was forced into slave labor until his arrest in 1943 when the Nazis deported him to Auschwitz.
Mr. Taucher, his mother and brother (who is a year older than he is) went into hiding and were helped by the midwife of his birth. This midwife was a very high-ranking member of the Nazi Party, a personal friend of Hitler and had pictures of Hitler throughout her apartment in Berlin. She also had a summer home in the outskirts of Berlin where only high-ranking Nazi members could hold ownership. She provided false identification and ration cards for Mr. Taucher, his mother and his brother.
They lived with this woman for approximately the first six months in hiding. So as not to be discovered, they had to move and lived in many different places throughout Berlin. Near the end of the war, Mr. Taucher was caught in a Berlin street car during an identification check and since he did not have the proper Hitler Youth ID card (all boys 10 years and older had to be in the Hitler Youth), he was arrested.
Mr. Taucher was interrogated for two days and then shipped to Sachsenhausen on April 17, 1945. Due to an air raid he, together with many Russian soldier prisoners, was able to escape on April 19 or 20 and returned to Berlin. The Soviets liberated Sachsenhausen on April 22, 1945. The Tauchers always had a meeting place in case any of them ever were separated, and they were reunited upon Mr. Taucher's return.
Mr. Taucher's mother was killed during the final days of the fighting in Berlin while she was trying to get water from a fire hydrant outside of a subway station. The war ended in Berlin in May 1945.
The Taucher brothers left Germany for the U.S. in 1946. After graduating from high school, Mr. Taucher enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1951 and was sent to Korea in 1952 where one of his duties was to keep track of casualties on IBM equipment.
Books that relate to Mr. Taucher's story:
Internet resources that relate to Mr. Taucher's story:
- United State Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Mr. Taucher's personal story on WSHERC's website
- More information on pogroms from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's website
- Children (USHMM)
- Hidden Children (USHMM)