Oskar Wallach was born on 16 April 1894, the son of Joseph Wallach, a merchant, and his wife Ida, née Rosenbaum, in Osterode in the Harz district. He had several siblings. After serving as a soldier in the First World War, he studied medicine, gaining his physician’s license in August 1929. At this time, he lived at Reichsstraße 31 in Berlin-Charlottenburg. A specialist in Internal Medicine, he covered for another doctor in Lichtenrade for a period. In 1933, he opened his own surgery at Parallelstraße 21 (now Bruno-Möhring-Straße 21) in Marienfelde, where he also lived. He was very popular with his patients, holding consultations even on Sundays, and renowned for his medical competence.
After the Nazis came to power, a sabotage attack was carried out on his car – the screws on the rear wheel were loosened – in response to which he placed an announcement in the newspaper of 20 April 1933 saying that he did not hold Nazi Party members responsible for it. He obviously felt compelled to point out that he rejected the rumours that were circulating to that effect.
On 9 December 1938, his license to practice was revoked, like that of all Jewish doctors, and he sold his surgery to the non-Jewish physician Dr. Helmut Urban. He moved in with his widowed mother Ida Wallach (born on 15 March 1864) at Gasteiner Straße 4 in Wilmersdorf, along with his unmarried sister Paula (born on 18 November 1895), a piano teacher, and his brother Wilhelm (born on 18 August 1883). Former patients of his recalled that he was recruited as a forced labourer to do road-building work.
In May 1941 the Wallachs were forced to move again. Oskar and Wilhelm went to live as subtenants of Margarete Eppenstein and her daughter at Dahlmannstraße 28 in Charlottenburg. From here the brothers were deported to German-occupied Lodz in Poland, together with some 1000 others, on the “2nd transport” on 24 October 1941. In the Lodz (or Litzmannstadt) ghetto, Oskar encountered Therese Hammerschmidt (née Neumann, born on 21 April 1913 in Allenstein, East Prussia), a worker and assistant auditor, who had arrived in Lodz one week earlier. It is not known whether they were acquainted from Berlin or had first met in the ghetto. In any case, Oskar Wallach and Therese Hammerschmidt were one of 25 couples among the newly arrived western European Jews to be married in the ghetto in December 1941. They were wed on 10 December.
Only a few months later, on 2 July 1942, Oskar Wallach was transferred to an unknown transit camp. On 25 February 1945 he was sent from Groß-Rosen concentration camp with 3058 other prisoners to Flossenbürg concentration camp in Bavaria, near the border with Czechoslovakia. Part of the journey was by train but part was completed on foot.
The previous assumption that Oskar Wallach survived and migrated to the United States has unfortunately been proven by recent research to be false. However, it is not known whether he died in Flossenbürg concentration camp or on a death march from the camp in mid-April 1945, nor is his true date of death known. Oskar Wallach was pronounced dead by Charlottenburg local court in 1953 on the initiative of an unknown applicant. His formal date of death was registered as 31 December 1945.
A certain Morris Wallach who was born the same day as Oskar Wallach (16 April 1894) and died in the United States in 1989 is not the same person: Morris B. Wallach was born in Russia and became a U.S. resident in 1940.
None of Oskar Wallach’s relatives survived. His brother Wilhelm died on 24 April 1942 in Lodz. Ida Wallach was deported with her daughter Paula to Theresienstadt on 3 October 1942 and died there on 28 November 1942. Paula Wallach was transferred from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz on 23 January 1943. Oskar Wallach’s wife Therese was sent to Stutthof concentration camp, after which no more was seen or heard of her again.