Kupfer family papers

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of the Kupfer family, former Jewish refugees from Germany. Erich Kupfer was the grandson of the owner of the first shoe manufacturing company in Burgkunstadt and followed in his footsteps. He emigrated to the United States in 1938 to escape Nazi persecutions but his parents, uncle and grandmother were deported and murdered in concentration camps. His wife Ruth Kupfer (née Landau) fled to England in 1939. Her parents also perished in the Holocaust.

Included are papers relating to the family's restitution claims and pensions (1849/1-2); personal documents such as Erich Kupfer's birth certificate, qualifications, work references and conduct certificates, US immigration affidavit, military papers as well as Ruth Kupfer's criminal record certificate, UK certificate of registration and friendship book ('Poesiealbum') (1849/3. Also included are personal papers and war-time correspondence (1942-1943) of Karl and Selma Kupfer; family tree; papers and press cuttings relating to the shoe manufacturing business of the Weiermann family, the Jewish community in Wesel, and post-war visits to Wesel and Munich (1849/4).

Administrative / Biographical History

Erich Kupfer was born in Munich in 1919. His parents were Karl Kupfer (1878-c1943), a lawyer, and Selma Kupfer (née Weiermann, 1890-c1943), daughter of successful shoe manufacturer Joseph Weiermann (1863-1939) in Burgkunstadt. After completing his three-year training programme in Oberhof, Erich worked for Neuburger shoe manufacturing company in Bamberg from January 1938. When his parents' flat was confiscated in 1938 they had to move to Erich's grandmother, Maria Weiermann (1868-1944). In order to escape further persecutions Erich emigrated to New York via Amsterdam in October 1938. His parents and his grandmother were deported in 1943. The exact dates of Karl and Selma's deaths at Auschwitz concentration camp are unknown. Maria Weiermann perished at Terezin concentration camp in 1944. Her son Julius Weiermann (1892-1941), who had been running the shoe business after his father's death, was killed in Kaunas.

Erich served in the U.S. Army between 1941-1946 and returned to working in the shoe business after the Second World War. He married Ruth Landau (1921-1996) in London in 1946, also a former Jewish refugee from Germany. Ruth Kupfer was born in Wesel, North Rhine-Westphalia. She emigrated to England in 1939. Her parents, Alex (1882-1941) and Emma Landau (née Bongartz, 1879-1941) were deported from Dusseldorf to Riga in December 1941. They both perished but the exact circumstances of their deaths are unknown.

Erich and Ruth Kupfer moved to New York shortly after their marriage.


Chronological and by subject

Access Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by Paul Sinclair

Related Material

See also digital collections for additonal documents relating to Erich Kupfer, Karl and Selma Kupfer and a visit to Wesel in 2008. See photo archive for album re show factory.