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Victor Cooper Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 10113

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the work of Viktor Kupfer (later Victor Cooper) as a business custodian, special investigator, and Jewish community leader in Straubing (Bavaria, Germany) during the years following the end of World War II. The collection relates primarily to the denazification process and early restitution cases in Straubing.

The correspondence in the first few folders of the collection concerns Kupfer’s emigration efforts as well as legal cases in which Kupfer was involved. The colleagues and friends with whom Kupfer corresponds include Erwin Respondek, a lawyer and personal friend, Kupfer’s lawyer Hans Labin, and Georg Reuter, another friend and a member of the Gewerkschaftsrat (Union Council) in Munich and Wirtschaftsrat (Business Council) in Frankfurt am Main.

A large portion of the collection relates to Viktor Kupfer's work as the custodian of the Dietzel clothing factory. Two folders include materials on the legal case brought against Viktor Kupfer between 1947 and 1948 concerning fabric missing from the Dietzel clothing factory. This material includes legal statements, affidavits, correspondence with lawyers, and court decisions.

Other materials related to Viktor Kupfer’s work as the custodian of the Dietzel factory include details on the production, inventory, and finances of the factory between 1945 and 1948. Also included are legal statements and correspondence concerning the misappropriation of former Jewish property by the brothers and Nazi sympathizers Adolf (formerly Adam) and Hugo Dietzel. Affidavits confirming threats the Dietzel brothers made against Viktor Kupfer can also be found in this part of the collection.

Another well-documented case included in the collection revolves around the clothing store Modehaus Sauter. The married couple Wolf and Hildegard Sauter, the appointed custodians of this store, were accused of falsifying the inventory and taking goods for themselves. Viktor Kupfer was appointed one of three special investigators to look into the inventory and other records of the Sauter store, and they gave a report in 1946, a copy of which can be found in this collection. Further charges related to the Sauters arose as the case developed, including a charge made by Viktor Kupfer accusing Wolf Sauter of libel. The case continued after Kupfer left Germany for the United States in 1949. Materials related to it include correspondence, legal statements, affidavits, and court records.

Other legal cases covered in the collection include one brought by a man named Immerglück against Kupfer regarding an unresolved debt, and several other restitution and denazification cases concerning residents of Straubing which are not as well documented here as the Dietzel factory and Sauter cases. Included among these materials are a few pieces of correspondence regarding legal actions taken against Kristallnacht perpetrators in Straubing.

In addition to his position as custodian of the Dietzel factory, Viktor Kupfer was also the Vice Chairman of the Jewish Committee of Straubing. In this position, Kupfer was involved in many issues that arose involving the local community and the American military government. Materials related to these activities include correspondence, official complaints, regulations, contracts, election materials, and reports of hate crimes that took place in Straubing. Also included with the Straubing Jewish community materials is some documentation of Kupfer’s work with other relief and service organizations, such as Relief for the Former Concentration Camp Prisoners, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) Team 550, and the Central Committee of Liberated Jews. A small number of programs for religious and memorial services, correspondence and clippings regarding the performance of “Professor Mamlock” at the Straubing Theater (Straubinger Stadttheater), and a few copies of photographs of the Straubing synagogue are also included in the folder Straubing Jewish community materials.

Anonymous threats sent to Jewish residents of Straubing can also be found in this collection, as well as materials related to Kupfer’s work as a camp leader of the International Refugee Organization Straubing. Copies of Viktor Kupfer’s personal documents such as identification cards, completed forms regarding his imprisonment in concentration camps, and short biographical sketches are also included.

The collection consists entirely of photocopies.

Dates

  • 1935-1951

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and Polish.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Biographical Note

Victor Cooper (1914-1999) was born Viktor Kupfer on December 26, 1914 in Strzemieszyce (Poland) to Hirsch Leib and his wife Beaila Kupfer. He studied business and accounting at a commercial academy in Krakow. Kupfer was conscripted into the Polish army in 1939. He was taken prisoner on September 22, 1939 and escaped from the Lublin camp in March of 1940. He then worked at various jobs, including as a manager for the confectioners Hedel in Będzin (Poland) until he was arrested again and sent to a series of concentration camps. The last camp at which he was held was Buchenwald. Kupfer's wife and young son perished in the Holocaust.

After the war, the American military government appointed Viktor Kupfer the custodian of the Hugo Dietzel clothing factory, which had previously been run by two brothers, Hugo and Adolf (previously Adam) Dietzel, both Nazi sympathizers. In 1947, Viktor was accused of stealing fabric from the Dietzel factory. The judge ruled in Kupfer’s favor, arguing that there was no evidence that he did anything wrong or to the detriment of the Dietzel factory.

Kupfer also served the Jewish community in Straubing for several years after the end of the war. He was Vice Chairman of the Jewish Committee of Straubing and assisted the efforts of many other organizations, including Relief for the Former Concentration Camp Prisoners, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) Team 550, and the Central Committee of Liberated Jews. Kupfer was also the Camp Leader of the International Refugee Organization for the Straubing camp until its closure in 1948.

In these several positions, Kupfer was involved in a number of legal cases. He was appointed a special investigator for a case involving the Modehaus Sauter, a clothing store in Straubing. The custodians of this store were accused of falsifying the inventory and taking goods for themselves. During the investigation of this case, Kupfer filed a suit against one of the involved parties, Wolf Sauter, for libel.

On December 12, 1946, Viktor Kupfer married Anna née Schermann, widowed Dziadosz, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto who became a displaced person in Straubing after the war. Anna was a widow; her first husband’s last name was Dziadosz. Kupfer had also been married previously, and his wife and young son perished in the Holocaust. Viktor and Anna Kupfer immigrated to the United States in 1949, where they settled in New York City and changed their last name to Cooper.

Extent

1 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection documents the work of the concentration camp survivor Viktor Kupfer (later Victor Cooper) as a business custodian, special investigator, and Jewish community leader in Straubing (Bavaria, Germany) from 1945-1949. The collection relates primarily to the denazification process and early restitution cases in Straubing as well as the rebuilding of Straubing’s Jewish community. Materials included consist of correspondence, legal statements, affidavits, court decisions, reports, Viktor Kupfer’s personal identification documents, and a few copies of photographs and memorial programs. Several documents contain anonymous threats.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by document type or legal case to which it relates.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Separated Material

A copy of KZ: Bildbericht aus fünf Konzentrationslagern was removed. This item can be accessed at the LBI Library. Copies of the Bayerisches Gesetz und Verordnungsblatt (1949, Number 20) were also removed. This volume can be accessed online via the Munich Digital Library and Bavarian State Library: Bayerisches Gesetz und Verordnungsblatt, 1949, Nr. 20.

Processing Information

Duplicates were removed. Materials were rehoused into acid-free archival boxes and folders.
Title
Guide to the Victor Cooper Collection 1935-1951 AR 10113
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Leanora Lange
Date
© 2013
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Described, encoded, and digitized as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States