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.
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.
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.
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