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Julie Koppel (née Neuwahl) * 1883

Bernadottestraße 3 (Altona, Ottensen)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Bernadottestraße 3:
Bernhard Koppel

Bernhard Koppel, born 24 May 1884, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, killed
Julia Koppel, née Neuwahl, born 19 Apr. 1883, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, killed

Bernadottestraße 3 (Moltkestraße)

In 2007 students of the Rudolf Steiner School Altona researched a project at the Ottensen City Archive, Altona’s historical workshop, which Jewish citizens had lived near the school and were deported. They came across the couple Bernhard and Julie Koppel who had lived in a "Jewish house” at Bernadottestraße 3 until they were forcibly resettled in 1939. The school sponsored the two Stumbling Stones that were laid in Feb. 2008. Bernhard Koppel, born on 24 May 1884 in Altona, was the son of Samuel and Henriette (Jettchen) Koppel, née Leipheimer. His father too, born in 1849, came from Altona. Bernhard had seven siblings: Siegmund, Helene, Flora, later married as Goldschmidt, Johanna, Eduard, Carl and Leo. Bernhard Koppel’s wife Julia (Julie) Koppel, née Neuwahl, was born on 19 Apr. 1883 in Gelsenkirchen as the daughter of Samuel and Pauline Neuwahl, née Ursell. The couple had two sons: Hellmut was born on 26 Mar. 1912, and Kurt on 22 Mar. 1918. In 1915 the family moved from Wielandstraße 12 (today Suttnerstraße) in Altona, where Bernhard Kopple had been registered since 1912, to a rented apartment on the second floor of the house at Moltkestraße 3 (today Bernadottestraße) in Ottensen. The merchant Bernhard Koppel worked as a salesman in the furniture industry for various furniture manufacturers and factories producing furniture, veneer and laminated wood. His business trips took him from Schleswig-Holstein to East Prussia. During the 1920s he ran a leather goods wholesale business at Clausstraße 2 (today Klausstraße) at the corner of Bahrenfelderstraße in Ottensen together with his brother Carl who owned the business. Bernhard Koppel’s business flourished. The merchant family lived comfortably in the middle-class neighborhood of Ottensen near the banks of the River Elbe. Julie Koppel ran the household, assisted by a maid. At the end of 1935 Bernhard Koppel’s father Samuel Koppel died at the age of 87. He had lived since 1914 as a man of "independent means” at the "Hertz Home”, the Jewish residential home of the "Salomon Joseph and Marianne Hertz Foundation” at Sonninstraße 14 in old town Altona (today Biernatzkistraße). The Altona address book also showed Bernhard Koppel’s brothers Carl, Leo – also a merchant – and Eduard, who ran a wholesale business for bed linens, as living there. Bernhard’s brother Siegmund, a merchant who last lived at Reichenstraße 14 with the Sommer Family, had already moved away in Feb. 1930 to an unknown destination; according to details on his culture tax card he was "travelling”. After 1933 Berhard Koppel was able to continue his work as a representative selling leather furniture, however he will certainly have suffered business losses as a consequence of the emigration of Jewish business partners and customers following the National Socialists taking power and as a result of the boycott of Jewish businesses in place since Apr. 1933. In June 1938, officials of the tax investigation office at the regional tax office became aware of him. The Chamber of Industry and Trade had alerted the authority that the business owner Bernhard Koppel had applied for a passport. They flagged him up "because of securities to be collected for pending Reich Flight Taxes (Reichsfluchtsteuer)”. That brought the foreign currency office into play who sent the local police in Altona a letter on 6 July with the subject line "Suspicion of capital flight”, requesting an investigation "into the Jew Bernhard Koppel” and his family. They inquired whether the Koppels still rented the apartment at Moltkestraße 3 and whether the apartment was still full of their own furniture, whether family members had already emigrated and who had been issued passports. "Further I request discreet inquiries as to whether the named individuals have plans to emigrate. Indications of that might be: giving notice on their apartment, sale of property, new purchases of all types above and beyond their previous usual amount, journeys abroad.” Ten days later, the Altona police department reported to the foreign currency office that no one from the family had left the country as of yet. The report continued that Bernhard Koppel lived in a rented apartment furnished with his own furniture. Inquiries with the landlord revealed that notice had not been given on the apartment. Koppel had, however, applied for a passport to use on business trips through the Polish corridor to East Prussia and to Holland. The foreign currency office authorized the police department to issue his passport but immediately directed the customs investigation office to take measures "concerning suspicion of capital flight” and to revoke Bernhard Koppel’s passport because he intended to emigrate. On 13 July the customs investigation office presented their investigation report: Sizeable assets did not exist, the company only existed on paper, Bernhard Koppel earned his living as a sales representative for various furniture manufacturers, a job he had done for years alongside running his own company. The passport that Koppel by his own account only needed for business trips had not yet been issued. The foreign currency office then investigated the couple’s financial circumstances. The Koppels had to report their assets and ongoing living expenses. The Commerzbank informed them that Julia Koppel only had a balance of 2000 Reich Marks on her account. The foreign currency office refrained from seizing the couple’s accounts with a "security order”. From mid Nov. 1938, most Jewish shops and businesses were forced to close. Hellmut and Kurt, Bernhard and Julia Koppel’s sons who were 26 and 20 years old, prepared to immigrate to Uruguay together. In Dec. 1938, Kurt Koppel, a trained machine fitter, filled out the emigrant questionnaire at the regional tax office authority. By issuing a so-called clearance certificate on the 19th, the foreign currency office determined that the brothers did not owe any taxes or contributions; consequently there were no longer any objections to their emigration. Kurt Koppel drew up the requested list of his "emigrant goods” which included the traditional Jewish prayer shawl and tefillin. Their parents wanted to pay the travel expenses for both sons who still lived with them and had worked in their father’s business. Their departure was possibly delayed because the Jewish family was affected by resettlement operations. In Apr. 1939 the Koppels were forced to moved to House II at Sonninstraße 14. The "Hertz Home”, a building of the former Altona Jewish Community, was now being used as a so-called Jewish house to ghettoize and monitor people of Jewish extraction. The Koppels’ valuable furnishings, including "bedroom mahogany”, "study oak”, "dining room oak” and Persian carpets, among other items, were, with the exception of a few individual items, forcibly sold at auction. After war broke out in Sept. 1939, Hellmut and Kurt Koppel changed their emigration plans. Hellmut managed to reach Switzerland in Oct. 1939 and from there immigrated to Palestine. Through the Red Cross and acquaintances he was able to correspond with his parents from Switzerland until 1941. Kurt too escaped to Palestine the same month. In Oct. 1939, Bernhard Koppel tried to claim outstanding payments owed to his company "Bernhard Koppel, Representative of first-class furniture brands” by manufacturers. In a suit against the formerly Jewish, now "Aryanized” company "Rheinische Möbel-Industrie A.G.” in Bad Honnef on the Rhein, a settlement payment was proposed before court. In Jan. 1941 the company’s lawyer notified the foreign currency office: "My client is prepared to pay as long as the money will not benefit the Jew Koppel. Therefore, I request clarification as to whether the settlement amount could possibly be transferred to the foreign currency office. Heil Hitler!” Bernhard Koppel also made financial claims against two Jewish customers at the foreign currency office: "Since I have learned that both gentlemen will soon emigrate, I request expedited measures.” Early in 1941, the Koppels also prepared to emigrate. The Chamber of Industry and Trade endorsed Bernhard Koppel’s application for issue of a passport and directed him to the Department of Passport Police at Hamburg’s police headquarters. The authority of the regional tax office director had received the couple’s application to leave the country. At the end of Feb. 1941, the tax office sent the foreign currency office "an account of assets for the Jew Bernhard Israel Koppel” with the conclusion that neither personal nor company assets were present, nor any balance on a bank account worthy of note. Yet not until eight months later did the Altona Tax Office certify to the foreign currency office that the Koppels were not in any way in arrears. On 3 Nov. 1941 Bernhard and Julia Koppel were finally able to sign the "emigrant questionnaire” at the foreign currency office. They gave their immigration destination as the Dominican Republic. Since the start of the war, immigration was only possible to a few Latin American countries and Shanghai. From Oct. 1941, the policies of the National Socialists shifted from aiming to expel the Jews from the German Reich to annihilating Europe’s Jews. Emigration was banned in Oct. 1941. Apparently the authorities pursued delaying tactics. The foreign currency office did not mail the "clearance certificate”, indispensable for departure, until 11 Nov. They had lost the race against time. Several days before, Bernhard and Julia Koppel had received the order for deportation to the Minsk Ghetto in occupied Belarus, addressed to them at the "Jewish house” at Sonninstraße 14. They had to report on 7 Nov. to the lodge at the Moorweide, a building that had been seized by the Gestapo. After spending one night at the collection point, the transport left on 8 Nov. 1941 from the Hannoversche Train Station. Exactly when and where Julia and Bernhard Koppel died or were killed is not known. After the war the couple was considered missing. In 1947 they were declared dead, having died on the invented date of 8 May 1945. Bernhard’s brother Eduard Koppel had initially fled to Belgium and was deported from the Drancy collection camp near Paris to Auschwitz on 17 Aug. 1942. During the war, their brother Leo Koppel also lived in Belgium and perished in the Shoah in 1944. Their sister Johanna was deported in 1940 to an unknown destination.

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 2 (FVg 8858 Bernhard Koppel, R1938/964 Bernhard Koppel, FVg 8858 Bernhard Koppel, FVg 7175 Kurt Koppel und R1940/33 Koppel, Friedfertig); 4; 5; 8; AB Altona; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 Band 2 (Deportationsliste Minsk, 8.11.1941); StaH 351-11, Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 240584 (Koppel, Bernhard).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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