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Moses Möllerich * 1876
Isestraße 15 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Moses (Moritz) Möllerich, born on 21 Sept. 1876 in Wolfhagen, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz
Moses Möllerich was born as the third child of a well-to-do Jewish family in Wolfhagen. His parents were Wolf and Friederike Möllerich, née Speyer-Weissenbach. The family also included four sisters and a younger brother.
The relatives still alive today know Moses Möllerich by the name of Moritz Möllerich. The Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of the Hamburg Jewish Community, started in 1937, was also issued to the name of Moritz. However, the Nazis rejected his efforts toward Germanizing the name: The deportation and death lists of the Lodz Ghetto once again contain the name of Moses Möllerich. Probably, Moses Möllerich wished to evade prejudice and reprisals by changing the name. It is not possible to reconstruct when he began calling himself Moritz.
Moses Möllerich was married to Jette (called Jettchen), née Würzburger. She was born on 29 May 1884 in Bieringen/Württemberg as the daughter of Heinrich and Hanna Würzburger. On 16 July 1914, their daughter Margarete was born.
The Möllerich family operated a hardware and building materials store at Schützeberger Strasse 39 in Wolfhagen. The house next door, the so-called Steinkammer, was the home and workplace of the younger brother, Josef Möllerich, and his wife Selma as a well as the two children Edith and Wolfgang. They too managed a business. In addition, the brothers took over the father’s enterprise, the "Wolf Möllerich Company.”
The records in the Hamburg State Archive document that Josef Möllerich was in charge of the business affairs, also proceeding with the forced "Aryanizations” from his base in Hamburg, just as he did with the subsequent compulsory sales of the company, the parental home at Burgstrasse 10, and of additional meadow and garden properties owned by the family.
Relatively little is known about the time when Moses Möllerich lived in Wolfhagen. The records merely reveal that there the two brothers also owned the parents’ home at Burgstrasse 10, in addition to their own residential buildings on Schützeberger Strasse. Furthermore, there was a list with outstanding debts owed to them by residents of Wolfhagen.
Already shortly after the assumption of power by Adolf Hitler, initial anti-Semitic measures were implemented in Wolfhagen as well: As early as the end of Apr. 1933, the city council decided to apply to the government to close the Jewish school. Three days later, the annual subsidy granted to the Jewish Communities was cut by more than 50 percent, funds that financed the school, among other things. Starting on 1 May 1933, the Jewish children had to attend the public school in Wolfhagen, where they were exposed to open hostilities. On 1 Jan. 1934, the Israelite School in Wolfhagen was closed for good. One resident of Wolfhagen, who knew the Möllerichs, remembered that the youngest child, Wolfgang, always went to school feeling uneasy and suffering from stomachaches. Calls for boycotting Jewish merchants and businesses followed as well, as did further reprisals and humiliations.
In order to escape from this, Moses Möllerich and his wife moved from Wolfhagen to Hamburg in May 1937, in the hopes of being able to lead a better life in the anonymity of the big city. The couple moved into an apartment on the ground floor of the house at Isestrasse 15.
Daughter Margarete had married in June 1937 and lived with her husband Josef Rosenthal in Wetzlar. Shortly afterward, the newlywed couple spent their honeymoon in Italy, and upon returning, they were arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo. Margarete and Josef Rosenthal were accused of having smuggled money out of Germany. The parents of Josef Rosenthal as well as Moses and Jette Möllerich were also questioned in this matter. On 10 Aug. 1937, Jettchen Möllerich passed away. Tradition in the Rosenthal family has it that she suffered a heart attack because of the Gestapo interrogation. She was buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Ilandkoppel in Hamburg. Her husband purchased a double grave in order to be buried next to his wife later. His burial plot was to remain empty, however.
After Jette’s death, a sister-in-law, Rahel Ortheiler, née Würzburger, moved in with Moses Möllerich to manage the household for him.
Moses’ brother Josef, along with his wife and the two children, had also moved to Hamburg, in July 1937. They lived at Beneckestrasse 26.
As early as Dec. 1938, the foreign currency office with the Hamburg Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) had become active to set up a "security account with limited disposability” for Moses Möllerich. The standard reasoning read that this was due to "the suspicion of capital flight, based on the fact that he was of Jewish descent.” Consequently, he could no longer freely use and manage his considerable assets. All revenues, e.g., those generated by the compulsory sales of the properties in Wolfhagen, were paid into the blocked security account. From that time onward, Moses Möllerich had to apply for the funds to pay for everyday life. He claimed the following expenses: rent, 150 RM (reichsmark); living expenses, 300 RM; domestic help, 50 RM; miscellaneous, 50 RM. He was granted 425 RM a month of his own money. Any additional costs had to be applied for separately, such as payment of a return train ticket for two persons to Stuttgart to attend the burial of the brother-in-law Jakob Würzburger. The last entry in the files contains the notification by the foreign currency office that his daughter Margarete, married name Rosenthal, had been deleted from his life insurance policy as a beneficiary.
On 25 Oct.1941, Moses Möllerich was deported together with his sister-in-law Rahel Ortheiler, his bother Josef and his wife Selma from Hamburg to Lodz. He perished there on 10 May 1942, at the age of 65. His brother and the two sisters-in-law did not survive the deportation either, dying as a result of the living and working conditions or in the course of a mass shooting.
Following the six-week detention of her husband in Buchenwald, where he had been imprisoned after the November Pogrom of 1938, Margarete, the daughter of Moses Möllerich, moved with her parents-in-law and her husband to Frankfurt. Shortly afterward, her husband managed to emigrate to London. A little while later, Margarete succeeded in following her husband. As the train departed, she met her father Moses at Cologne Central Station for the last time. Via the Netherlands, she reached Britain. On 2 Aug. 1940, the couple boarded a ship to New York. Upon their arrival, Margarete gave birth to their son Harry there. Margarete Rosenthal passed away in Miami in 1985. Her son lives in the USA today.
It was possible to rescue Josef Möllerich’s children on children transports (Kindertransporte) in Dec. 1938. Daughter Edith passed away in New York in Apr. 1987, son Wolfgang lives in Maryland today.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2017
© Christine Zinn-Lührig
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 8; StaH, 522-1 Jüd. Gemeinden, 992 e 2, Bd. 1; Paul Görlich, Wolfhagen, Geschichte einer nordhessischen Stadt, 1980, S. 347; Stammbaum der Familie Möllerich, erstellt von Enrique Bertoldo Kahn am 18. Juni 2003; E-Mail von Ralph Mollerick v. 27.8.2009, 1.9.2009, 3.9.2009 und 19.10.2009; Auskunft des jüdischen Friedhofs Hamburg am 8.9.2009; Adolf Diamant, Getto Litzmannstadt: Bilanz eines nationalsozialistischen Verbrechens, mit Deportations- und Totenlisten der aus dem Altreich stammenden Juden, Frankfurt 1986.
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