Martin Asch was born on 10 March 1873 in Posen (now Poznań, Poland), the son of Hermann Asch and his wife Jeanette, née Neustaedter. He moved to Berlin as a young man and worked in trade. In 1899 he married Clara Falkenstein. Over the years, they had four children: Kurt (born on 10 January 1900), Hans (born on 16 July 1901), Ellen (born on 18 March 1909), and Rolf (born on 20 March 1918).
The Asch family’s first home was at Naunynstraße 69 in Kreuzberg. In 1920 they moved to an apartment at Barbarossastraße 41 in Schöneberg, where they lived until 1938. Three of their children – Kurt, Rolf and Ellen – were able to emigrate and so survived the Nazi period.
Martin Asch and his wife Clara were eventually forced to leave their apartment and live in other Jewish households, first at Münchener Straße 7 (as subtenants of a widow, Fanny Fetter), then at Motzstraße 27 (as subtenants of Eugen Jacoby and his non-Jewish wife Hedwig). s
On a postcard dated 31 May 1942, Martin Asch thanked his son Kurt for some post from Brussels: “You’ve become so dreadfully thin; I’m only skin and bones now myself … at least Mama looks a little better; if only she didn’t have such frequent, terrible pain in her bad toe, which just won’t get better.”
On 2 March 1943, a few days before his 70th birthday, Martin Asch was deported to Auschwitz together with his wife Clara. They were probably killed immediately on arrival on 3 March. Their son Hans had been deported and murdered six months previously, on 5 September 1942.