Hilde Paechter's first husband was a Communist persecuted by the Nazis

Hilde Paechter's first husband was a Communist persecuted by the Nazis

Heinz M. Paechter, later Henry Pachter, wasn't the only family member attracted to left-wing youth movements in Berlin in the 1920s. His younger sister Hilde Irma Paechter married Walter Ehlen, a KPD (German Communist Party) activist, in November 1933, at a time when Ehlen was under investigation for possible involvement in the Reichstag fire earlier that year. 

His biography in the Handbook of German Communists says that he emigrated to the USSR in June 1934 but returned to Germany in 1936 to organize political actions on behalf of the Central Committee. That work was cut short when he was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo. In May 1937, he was sentenced to 15 years and sent to Malthausen and its Saurerwerke subcamp, where he organized a prisoner's union. 

The bio says he was killed in on May 2, 1945 "during clashes between political and criminal inmates of the subcamp in Gusen."

All of which doesn't leave much time for a family life. I don't think Hilde went with him to Moscow in 1934 because their son Ernst Thomas Ehlen was born late that year in Berlin. Hilde and child get a mention in Ehlen's bio.

His Jewish wife Hilde, née Paechter (* 1910 – † 1993), whom he married in 1933, was able to emigrate to Great Britain with their four-and-a-half-year-old son in March 1939.

We see that in England she was interned as an alien at the Isle of Man before being released in June 1941. Her name is listed as Hilde Sara Ehlen, retaining the racist Nazi identifier as a legal middle name, just as the Germans had updated her marriage record with the offensive moniker in 1939.

At this time, she was still married to Walter and possibly in correspondence with him. I wonder how she received notification of his death. She was a vivacious woman in her mid-thirties. She met a German Jewish emigre Salomon Hirsch Blank, and they married in Barnet, Hertfordshire in April 1948.

Hilde's parents Emil and Helene were together with her brother Heinz and his wife Hedwig in New York. Helene died in September 1949, and then Emil made plans to come to England to be with Irma and her new husband. He did, but then died after only a few months.

Irma delivered her second child that fall, a son named Martin Stephen Blank. The other son Ernest, called Tom, was 16 by this time. We know that Hilde visited New York in the summer of 1960, at a time that she would have bonded with her teenaged niece Renee Pachter. 

Tom would go on to marry Valerie A. Turner and they produced a son Paul in 1967 and a daughter Anne in 1972. Unfortunately, all of these people would die without leaving further descendants that I know of.

Salomon Blank died at age 63 in October 1976.

Henry Pachter died at age 73 in December 1980. 

Martin Blank died at age 30 in 1981.

Hilde herself died in Septermber 1993 and is buried with her second husband in Bracknell, Berkshire.

Anne Ehlen died at age 21 in 2004.

Paul Ehlen passed at age 50 in 2018. 

Ernest Tom Ehlen died just a few months age, on November 11, 2023, in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. He was 89.