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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Rolf Ascher * 1921

Heußweg 10, früher Tornquiststraße 88 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Heußweg 10, früher Tornquiststraße 88:
Emil Ascher, Gertrud Ascher, Kurt Ascher

Emil Ascher, born 10 June 1887 in Neustadt-Glewe, imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp in 1938, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Gertrud Ascher, née Rosenbaum, born 14 Sep. 1885 in Hanover, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Rolf Ascher, born 17 Dec. 1921 in Parchim, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Kurt Ascher, born 5 Aug. 1920 in Parchim, fate unknown

Heußweg 10 (Tornquiststraße 88)

In his 1972 novel Das Impressum, Hermann Kant, who was born in Hamburg in 1926 and moved to Parchim at the age of 14, described dealt with the anti-Semitic events that took place in Parchim in 1935. He tells the story of the fictional department store owner Hirsch Ascher, who was humiliated and murdered in his department store by a teacher and a Sturmführer. In the novel he places the events in Ratzeburg, but there actually was a department store called Hirsch Ascher in Parchim, whose last owner, Emil Ascher, moved to Hamburg with his wife Gertrud and son Rolf, from where they were deported to Minsk.

Emil Ascher was born in 1887 in Neustadt-Glewe in Mecklenburg. The Jewish Community in Neustadt-Glewe was dissolved in 1889, as there were only very few Jews left in the town, and incorporated into the Parchim Community. The Ascher family also left Neustadt-Glewe for a short time, but returned. Emil Ascher’s parents Hirsch and Therese (née Meyer) opened a general goods store in Parchim in 1891. They had four sons: Max, Emil, Julius and Jon. Emil finished his schooling in 1902 and entered business, like his brother Max. Hirsch Ascher died in 1903, but the family continued to run the store. In 1915, his widow and his son Emil opened the department store Hirsch Ascher at Lindenstraße 33. Max and Julius Ascher both died in the First World War (1914, resp. 1918), and Emil was taken prisoner.

Emil’s wife Gertrud was born in 1885 in Hanover to Gustav and Fanny Rosenbaum. Gustav was born in 1855 in Everode near Hildesheim. Gertrud’s parents moved to Hamburg at the end of the 1930s to be near their children. Her mother died in 1940, and her father in the spring of 1941 at the Israelitic Hospital.

Gertrud Ascher had three younger siblings. Her brother Otto (*1890) was able to emigrate, but her sisters Anna and Käthe were murdered. Anna, who was eight years younger than Gertrud, never married, and lived with Gertrud and her family for many years. There is a Stolperstein in her name at Gustav-Leo-Straße 4 in Eppendorf. Käthe (married name Mondschein) was deported from Hanover.

Gertrud’s first marriage was to Max Ascher. He was killed in France in October, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. Their son Max was born a few months after his father’s death. She and her mother-in-law Therese ran the department store at Langestraße 61 (formerly Lindenstraße 33). In 1920 she married her brother-in-law Emil Ascher, after he returned from captivity as a prisoner of war. The couple had two sons, Kurt (*1920) and Rolf (*1921). The family lived in an apartment above the store. Gertrud continued to work in the store after her children were born. The family had a housekeeper and two maids to take care of the chores and the children.

The department store remained in the family’s possession until 1935, when Emil Ascher was forced to sell the business and the property at public auction. His loans had been terminated, with a demand of full repayment within eight days. He had no choice but to sell his business. Under the prevailing circumstances, the revenues from the sale were, of course, nowhere near the actual value of the property. Both sons were expelled from the Friedrich-Franz-Gymnasium in Parchim. Kurt attended the Israelitc Horticulture School in Ahlem, beginning in October 1935, and Rolf entered an apprenticeship at the Dankwert & Co. dyeworks in Hildesheim shortly after Easter.

The Ascher family moved to Tornquiststraße 88 in Hamburg on 1 July 1936. Gertrud’s son Max had been living in Hamburg since 1935, and worked at the Robinson clothing store. Emil borrowed money from Max to establish a new livelihood. Through a front man, he bought the Edelweis laundry in Altona, but despite investing much work into the business he was not able to make it profitable and eventually had to sell it.

Of the five family members, only Max, the eldest son from Gertrud’s first marriage, was able to save himself by emigrating. He had apprenticed with Sternheim & Emanuel in Parchim, and then worked at the Robinson Brothers fashion boutique in Hamburg as a sales clerk. He was intended to take over the business in Parchim. He was fired from his job in November 1938, and emigrated to Shanghai in June 1939 on the steamship Husimi Maru, via Naples. He lived in the Shanghai ghetto from May 1943 to October 1947, then was able to procure a visa for the US. He later became a US citizen.

Kurt (*1920) and Rolf (*1921) had just reached adulthood when National Socialism destroyed all of their prospects and eventually took their lives. In 1941, Kurt was in Groß Breesen (near Breslau in Silesia, modern-day Wroclaw, Poland) at a training camp for Jews who wanted to emigrate to Palestine. He is thought to have been a teacher there. He was deported to a concentration camp, where a survivor reports witnessing his death from typhoid fever. Kurt was probably married and had one child. His name is not listed in memorial books. Rolf was deported to Minsk on 8 November 1941, together with his parents.

The Ascher family’s last address in Hamburg before they were deported was a fourth-floor apartment at Bei der Friedenseiche 1, where Rolf lived with his parents. Emil Ascher was sent to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp in 1938. In the years of hardship, other family members moved in with them. Gustav Rosenbaum moved from his apartment at Haynstraße 5 in April 1939. Max Ascher also lived there until he emigrated. Kurt Ascher was registered as living in the apartment over the Christmas holidays in 1940, when he visited from Groß Breesen. Herbert Mondschein (*1892 in Kassel) also rented a room in the apartment. He married Käthe Rosenbaum, who had moved to Hamburg in November 1940 from Baden-Baden. Herbert and Käthe Monschein moved to Hanover in January 1941.

The building at Tornquiststraße 88 (or possibly 86, according to the registry index) on the corner of Heußweg, where the family lived, is no longer standing. Today there is a small park on the corner. The Stolpersteine are in the sidewalk at Heußweg 10.

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Susanne Lohmeyer

Quellen: 1; 2 (R1939/376); 4; 5; 8; StaH 332-8 Bd 4 Meldewesen A51/1; StaH 351-11 AfW AZ: 230593 Rosenbaum, Anna Toni; StaH 351-11 AfW AZ: 240618 Ascher, Kurt; StaH 351-11 AfW 8072 Asher, Mac; Karl Heinz Schütt, Juden in Neustadt-Glewe; Doreen Frank, Jüdische Familien; Hermann Kant, Das Impressum; Parchimer Zeitung vom 18.7.1935.

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