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Erich was a jeweler with a great fondness for his nephew, Max Eisenhardt, whom lived in Germany in the 1930's. A victim of a Nazi antisemitic riot, Erich saw what was coming and recommended the family to leave Germany immediately. He was overruled by Max's father, his older brother Jakob. After Kristallnacht, the family finally fled from Germany to Poland. Unlike his brother Jakob, who followed the path of least resistance, Erich encouraged his nephew to stand up for himself. When they were in Warsaw however, it was Erich who told Max not to undertake any actions against the German soldiers who killed a young boy. The reason being that even more Jews would be shot out of retaliation. When they tried to escape from Warsaw they were captured and killed by the Nazi's. Only Max survived.
Note: The name Erich is very familiar to the the first name that Magneto would later take on as his own, Erik Magnus Lehnsherr. Whether this is just a coincidence or that Mangeto took this name as a tribute to his uncle is never made clear.