Keck family. Collection

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This collection contains five photos of members of the Sinti family Keck, including portraits of Rudolf Keck and Reseda Keck, a photo of three musicians from the Keck and Elster families, and the communion of Antoinette (?) and Reseda Keck.
Content Date
Carmen Spitta, daughter of Arnold Spitta and Melanie Keck
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Ditigally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Carmen Spitta, Private collection, Germany
Level of description
Extent and medium
8 digitised images (5 photos)
Related units of description
The included photo of Reseda Keck was used to complete the "Give them a Face" portrait collection (KD_00017) and the commemoration wall at the Kazerne Dossin museum.
Administrative and biographical
Rosa Keck was born on 19 December 1910 in Krebeck, Germany, as the daughter of the Sinti couple Johan Keck (b. 09/03/1863 in Sulzbach, Germany) and Augusta Pohl (b. 25/03/1875 in Bad Liebenwerda, Germany). Rosa’s son Rudolf Keck was born in Köln-Deutz, Germany on 27 June 1932. During the 1930s, the Keck family, including grandparents, children and grandchildren left Germany and resettled in the Belgian province of Limburg. Rosa Keck and her son Rudolf crossed the border on 1st May 1938. Rosa made a living selling flowers, while the Keck family travelled around the province of Limburg in their traditional wooden caravans.
During the Second World War, the Keck family lived in Hasselt, Belgium. In 1942, the Belgian authorities took the initiative to register all Sinti and Roma in the country. Rosa Keck was arrested, interned and registered on 1st May 1942. On 25 November 1943, 21 members of the Keck family were arrested by four German field officers and taken to the Feldkommandantur in Hasselt. They were then transferred to the prison in Hassselt and from there to the prison in Saint-Gilles, Brussels. The Kecks were eventually interned at the Dossin barracks in Mechelen. On 15 January 1944, a special transport Z deported 352 Roma and Sinti from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Among the deportees were Rosa Keck, her son Rudolf Keck and at least 19 other family members.
Upon arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau on 17 January 1944, all Roma and Sinti were tattooed and sent to the Familienlager. Rosa Keck received the number Z9786, Rudolf the number Z9069. The Keck family was transferred to the Zigeunerfamilienlager, where, on 26 February 1944, Rosa Keck gave birth to a son named Adolf Elster. The child perished due to malnutrition on 25 March 1944. In April 1944, Rudolf Keck, suffering from diarrhoea, was taken from his mother. Rosa never saw him again.
At the end of August 1944, Rosa Keck was transferred from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Ravensbrück. In February 1945, she was sent to Bergen-Belsen where she was liberated by the American army in April 1945. From 9 May until 23 June 1945, Rosa Keck was treated at a hospital in Soltau, before being repatriated to Hasselt, Belgium. The only other deported Keck family member to survive the camps was Joseph Keck, son of Rosa Keck’s brother Walter Keck, who had been transferred from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Flossenburg. Walter Keck himself also had survived the war, being imprisoned in Germany from 1941 until the end of the war.
In 1946, Rosa Keck gave birth to her daughter Melanie Keck in Hasselt. In 1949, mother and daughter returned to Düren, Germany. Rosa Keck passed away in 1958. Melanie became a film director and an advocate for women’s rights within the Sinti community and society in general. She married Arnold Spitta and in 1970 their daughter Carmen Spitta was born. Melanie Keck passed away on 28 August 2005 in Frankfurt-am-Main. Her daughter Carmen Spitta continues her mother’s work.
Carmen Spitta had been in contact with the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, predecessor of Kazerne Dossin, in 2009, before she kindly donated digital copies of several Keck family photos to Kazerne Dossin in 2011, in order to use them for the creation of the permanent exhibition.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Carmen Spitta, 2011

Object hiërarchie: 1 items