The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide

Dr Karl Michael and Selma Kupfer

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Plaque

Portrait of Karl, Erich and Selma Kupfer

Karl, Erich and Selma Kupfer

Dr Karl Michael Kupfer 
born 13 June 1878 Frankenreuth
died c. 1943 Auschwitz

Selma Kupfer
born 3 June 1890 Burgkunstadt
died c. 1943 Auschwitz

 

About the Donor

Karl, Erich and Selma Kupfer

Karl, Erich and Selma Kupfer

A legacy from Karl and Selma’s son Erich has been used to endow this plaque and those for Erich’s grandparents Josef and Marie Weiermann and for his uncle Julius Weiermann.

Introduction

Karl Kupfer (2nd left) with some of his brothers and sisters

Karl Kupfer (2nd left) with some of his brothers and sisters

Karl Michael Kupfer was born on 13th June 1878 in Frankenreuth, a tiny village near Waidhaus, Bavaria, a few hundred metres from the border with Bohemia. He was the eighth of 12 children of Eduard Kupfer, a glass manufacturer, and his wife Fanny née Glaser.

Career

From 1897 he studied medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, qualifying as a doctor in 1902. Following this, he did one year’s military service. After the First World War, he practised as an obstetrician in Munich.

During The War

Karl Kupfer in Bavarian Army uniform

Karl Kupfer in Bavarian Army uniform

During the First World War he served in the Bavarian Army as a medical officer. In 1915 he was awarded the Royal Military Service Order 4th Class (with swords). In 1916-17 he was imprisoned by the French for 10 months until released as part of an exchange of prisoners.

Family And Personal Life

Extended Kupfer family c.1927.  Karl Kupfer middle back, Erich Kupfer front left

Extended Kupfer family c.1927. Karl Kupfer middle back, Erich Kupfer front left

On 14th December 1911 Karl Kupfer married Selma Weiermann, daughter of Josef Weiermann, a shoe manufacturer of Burgkunstadt, Bavaria. His only child Erich was born on 5th August 1919. Erich immigrated to the United States in 1938. Karl and Selma remained in Munich to look after Selma’s elderly parents. Following Kristallnacht, Karl was arrested and imprisoned in Dachau from 10th November to 1st December 1938. Karl Kupfer had often helped many people in the most unselfish way. He had saved the life of more than one woman who other doctors had given up on. As a result he was much loved by his patients. As a doctor, Karl Kupfer was allowed to use his bicycle despite the general ban on Jews using transport. If he had a puncture he would not have been able to get a replacement, but there was a shop whose proprietor was once one of his patients. She told him that he could come to her any time he needed something for his bike. Selma had to carry out forced labour in a factory making pocket torches.

In The Concentration Camp

Selma, Karl and Erich Kupfer

Selma, Karl and Erich Kupfer

Karl and Selma were deported from Munich to Auschwitz on 13th March 1943. On arrival in the camp he was taken to one side because doctors were urgently needed, and was given a special position which was somewhat better than that of the mass of prisoners. He is believed to have died in Auschwitz from a hand infection some time later in 1943. His wife Selma also died there some time later of typhoid fever.

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Comments

Tuesday 12th July, 2016

Thank you for this moving and well-deserved tribute.

Peter Kupfer

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