BAD SALZUNGEN: Sophie KÖPPL, en 1882-

What We Know:
Birth Name
: Köppl
Given Name: Sophie
Date/place of Birth: 21. August 1882, Erbendorf/Bavaria
Date/place of Death: Exact date of death unknown
Age: 60 years old at deportation

Sophie Köppl was born 21 May 1882 in Erbendorf in Bavaria. Sophie was one of eight children. Her parents, Adolf Abraham Köppl and Theresa Köppl (née Weiss), had four daughters, Mathilde, Charlotte, Sophie and Julie, and four sons, Leopold, Joseph, Siegfried and August.  August, born in June 1889, died only four months after his birth. (See outline of family tree here.)
Sometime between 1915 and 1921, Sophie and her sisters Mathilde and Julie moved to Bad Salzungen with their parents. Their brothers Josef and Siegfried remained in Erbendorf.
From at least 1930, and perhaps earlier, Sophie and Mathilde owned a building at Bauergasse 12. The three Köppl sisters operated a shoe store at this address, and most likely lived above the store, as Bauergasse 12 was primarily a residential building that contained various shops.

When the Nazi Regime began, Sophie and her siblings were living in Germany. Their parents had both died: Theresa  in 1922 and Adolf in 1931. Her brother Josef Julius was living in Erbendorf but the exact whereabouts of Siegfried, Charlotte and Leopold is not known.

In the night of the Reichskristallpogrom of 9/10 November 1938,  the three sisters were taken into police custody in Bad Salzungen, as was their niece Elsa (Josef’s daughter) who was visiting relatives. They then actively sought to leave Germany, hoping that relatives in the United States (“Verwandte in USA” in document below) would be able to assist them in obtaining visas.

Arolsen Archives, 129819219 Sophie Köppl
Persecution forced the sisters to sell their property at Bauergasse 12 and to find quarters elsewhere: at the time of their arrest in October 193O, they were living at Ratsgasse 8; in 1939, their address on the emigration index card was Nappenplatz 3, Bad Salzungen. The three sisters were living at this address with the widow Hilde Löb, geb. Stein.
Stolperstein for Mathilde Koeppl. Credit:
In early 1941, Mathilde fell ill; the inscription on the Stolperstein laid for her states that she “was refused medical treatment and that her death occurred on 20 March 1941 in an emergency operation” (for hernia /eingeklemmten Bruches).

Sophie and Julie failed to obtain visas to enter the United States and by October 1941, when the deportations of German Jews to the ‘east’ began,

their fate was sealed. On 9 May 1942, they left the house of Hilda Löb in Bad Salzungen and travelled to Weimar and then on to Belzyce Ghetto.

Enemy Alien Tribunal Index Card for Elsa Köppl. Source: findmypast

Not a great deal is known about the fate of Sophie’s other siblings and their families. Some were able to escape: According to Bad Salzungen archival records, Leopold and his family managed to emigrate to Argentina, and Charlotte was also able to leave. But we have no details. Elsa, b. 1919 and Hildegard, b. 1921, daughters of Josef Julius, were able to enter England through the Domestic Permit program. They were both declared exempt from internment when they met with the Enemy Alien Tribunals in October 1939, just after World War II began. Both women joined the A.T.S., the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British Army during the Second World War.

Yad Vashem, Page of Testimony submitted by Elsa Köppl, for brother Siegfried, b. 1926

Sophie’s brothers, Joseph, b. 1884, and Siegfried, b. 1887, were unable to leave: Joseph Julius and his wife Recha Köppl, née Levy, and their youngest child, Siegfried (b. 1926), were deported in 1942 to Auschwitz; exactly when and from where is not known. Of Siegfried Köppl, b. 1887, even fewer traces have been found. The archives document states that “Siegfried’s widow and their children (the Archives do not identify their names) were also deported.” In 1978, Elsa Köppl submitted Pages of Testimony to Yad Vashem to honour her brother, Siegfried Köppl and her parents, Julius and Recha Köppl.

We welcome any information about the Köppl family. Please contact Sharon Meen at [email protected]

The primary source for this webpage is the Stadtarchiv Bad Salzungen ,,Sophie, Julie and Mathilde Koeppl”
Bad Salzungen, Geschichte, Koeppl, Sophia (Sophie)
Yad Vashem, Page of Testimony for Josef Koeppl by his daughter, Elsa Köppl. She also submitted Pages of Testimony for Recha Koeppl and Siegfried Koeppl.
Stolperstein for Sophie Koeppl. Photo credit: Christian Michelides