Ida Abresch-Moscher, born 5.5.1900 in Dortmund
Mendel Moscher, born 8.8.1899 in Bialobrzeg
Heiligegartenstr. 10, Do-Nord
Ida Abresch was born on 5 Mai 1900 in the Bittermark district of Dortmund as a child of Protestant parents. The family moved to Krautstr. 11 in 1919/20.
On 31 December 1920, Ida Abresch gave birth to an illegitimate child, her son Otto. A marriage to the child’s father was reportedly prevented by Ida’s father as he belonged to a different religion.
Ida’s later husband, Mendel Moscher, first came to stay at Krautstr. 11 for a few weeks in autumn 1920. He later moved in permanently in February 1922.
On 7 June 1922, Ida Abresch gave birth to a daughter. However, she already died the following day. It has still not been possible to establish definitively whether Mendel Moscher was the father as the start of the relationship between him and Ida can also not be established.
Later, however, Mendel Moscher did unequivocally acknowledge paternity of the daughter Rosa, born on 2 December 1926. The fact that the birth involved twins only emerged through an interview with the daughter in the year 2006. Her brother, Hermann Egon, died already in July 1927.
Under German law, the couple were living in “concubinage”, or unlawful cohabitation, as no civil marriage had taken place. Daughter Rosa reported that a marriage was conducted between her mother and Mendel Moscher according to the Orthodox Jewish rite. This unofficial marriage may well have taken place in one of the Jewish prayer rooms in the north of the city.
In contrast to those conducted within the official Jewish community in Dortmund, which was based in the synagogue on Hiltropwall, marriages performed within the other Jewish religious assemblies, most of whom originated from Galicia in central Europe, did not enjoy official recognition.
According to her daughter, Ida converted to the Jewish faith – but again not officially. The daughter was raised as a Jew and attended the Jewish infant/junior school.
The persecution measures pursued by the Nazis began soon after their takeover of power. Under the “Nuremberg Race Laws”, the cohabitation between Ida and Mendel was no longer just “concubinage”, but now also counted as “race defilement”, and as such was a criminal offence. Mendel Moscher thereupon promptly left the marital home and went to live at Heiligegartenstrasse 10.
In order not to be forced to give up their relationship, the couple decided to submit to the Nazi regulations. In order to conclude a civil marriage with Mendel Moscher, Ida Abresch had to officially convert to the Jewish faith, thus placing herself in the legal status of a “Geltungsjüdin”, i.e. a “notional Jew”, someone not of Jewish ethnicity but treated as Jewish for all legal purposes. This meant she was also exposed to all the anti-Jewish measures pursued by the Nazis. It also meant that the marriage lost any protective function which it may have had for Mendel Moscher as it no longer counted as a so-called “privileged mixed marriage”.
So the couple married at the registry office on 1 December 1937; at the same time, the husband recognized the daughter as their joint child. As the citizenship of the wife depended on that of the husband and Mendel Moscher was a citizen of Poland, the marriage also caused Ida to lose her German citizenship.
At the end of October 1938, the so-called “Polish action” took place. This involved the deportation of Polish Jews to Poland, and so the Moscher family, too, were expelled from Germany and deported to the Polish border. Internment or transit camps were set up by the Polish authorities in Zbaszyn, close to the German border. In August 1939, just before the outbreak of the war, the family relocated to Lublin, where they were sent to live in a ghetto after the German occupation.
With the help of an SS man, the mother and daughter managed to escape from a sub-camp of the concentration camp. They went underground in Lublin.
Mendel Moscher was murdered in Majdanek extermination camp in the course of the so-called “Action Reinhardt” of 1942.
Presumably with the aid of her son Otto, who was stationed in Lublin at the time, Ida managed to get a copy of her German birth certificate. In view of the constant pressure of persecution, she obtained a divorce from her husband through a German court in Lublin, and also gave up her married surname as a means of protecting herself and her daughter from persecution.
In 1945, she returned with her daughter to Dortmund, where she readopted her married name. However, the years of persecution had done severe damage to her health, and she died in the City Hospital of a heart condition on 21 February 1948.
As Krautstrasse now no longer exists, the “Stolpersteine” for the couple are located outside the property at Heiligegartenstrasse 10, where Mendel Moscher lived temporarily in 1937.