Kopp & Joseph Drugstore (BHR A 11673 / A 88293)

The pharmacists Emil Joseph and Emil Kopp founded their drugstore Kopp & Joseph in June of 1893 and entered it into Berlin’s commercial register in 1901. The company’s commercial register number was originally A 11673 but later, following the tidying up of the register and removal of incorrect and redundant entries in 1937, was given the number A 88293. The main office of the company was located in Postdamer Staße 122 and produced and sold perfume, bathing products, bandaging materials, and cosmetics – including the successful nail polish “Stein der Weisen” (“The Philosopher’s Stone” or “Stone of the Wise”). The production department was located in Lützowstraße. The business developed and flourished so that, before the First World War, two shops could be opened in Tauentzienstraße 12a and on the Kurfürstendamm.

Unknown photographer, April 1, 1933, Private

After the deaths of the company founders (Emil Joseph in 1913 and Emil Kopp in 1922) Joseph’s widow, Marie Joseph, initially took over the running of the company. She was supported by her eldest son, Curt Joseph. After Marie died in August 1929 Curt became the sole proprietor and took on his younger brother as his proxy and inactive partner.

Curt Joseph was born in 1899 and had fought with distinction both in the First World War and later in the Freikorps. The call for a “boycott” of Jewish businesses at the end of March 1933 struck him as a personal insult, especially given the fact that the Nazi regime claimed to particularly honour the so-called “front-line fighters.” For this reason, Joseph wore his war medals on the morning 1st of April 1933 and declared to his colleagues that he believed the “so-called Nazi victory to be the beginning of the end for Germany.” He also announced that he would not voluntarily dismiss his Jewish employees.[1]

Joseph then copied the award certificate for his war medals and pasted it on the inside of his shop’s display window, directly underneath the boycott poster that had been stuck on the outside. Soon, however, the certificate had been removed and the window was smeared with the star of David and the word “Jude” (“Jew”) in white paint.

Joseph was threatened with violence by some colleagues (who now openly admitted to being National Socialists) and was forced to fire his Jewish staff. He was quickly able to recover his Jewish employees, however, due to the fact he had full power over employment. The company nevertheless suffered considerably from the informal trading boycott of the Berlin hospitals. The sinking business was forced to reduce its staff to survive, including its long-term authorized signatory. What’s more, Joseph relocated some of his businesses into companies that were not connected with the parent company, now labelled as Jewish. At the end of 1938, the company was named in the index of Jewish businesses for the administrative district of Tiergarten, with an additional comment that there remained 13 employees, 5 of whom were Jewish.[2]

During the November Pogrom that followed the main shop of the parent company was plundered and destroyed. Joseph was deported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp and, shortly after his release, sold the rest of the business far below its worth. Kopp & Joseph was liquidated in July 1939 by the “tax expert” Hans Rosenberg. Curt had left for Britain before the company’s liquidation and he remained, working as a chemist, until he died in 1963. His plan to bring his family over to the United Kingdom was “made impossible due to the war,” his wife and two children were deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

Christoph Kreutzmüller

[1] Curt Joseph, NS-Betriebszellen in Aktion, in: Margarete Limberg, Hubert Rübsaat (Ed.), Sie durften nicht mehr Deutsche sein: Jüdischer Alltag in Selbstzeugnissen 1933–1938, Frankfurt am Main 1990, p. 95.

[2] Verzeichnis jüdischer Gewerbebetriebe im Verwaltungsbezirk Tiergarten, Nr. 91, o. D. [1938/1939], LAB, A Rep. 005-03-02, 2.

Cite this blog post
Christoph Kreutzmüller (2023, April 5). Kopp & Joseph Drugstore (BHR A 11673 / A 88293). Database of Jewish-Owned Businesses in Nazi Berlin. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/nh87

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search