Flora Goldschmidt, or Lola as she was known, was born in 1887 in Altona, to Samuel Koppel, a butcher, and his wife Jette, nee Leipheimer. Lola’s family tree goes back 250 years, to when Altona was still under Danish rule. On May 28, 1920, Lola married an Altona businessman Joseph Goldschmidt. She was 32, and he was 15 years her senior. Lola and Joseph had no children and were well off. Lola was very fond of children and took in her 4 year old little nephew Alfred, the second son of her brother Carl, while his parents and brothers (Günther and Walter) moved from Altona to Munich in 1931, to make a fresh start after the financial crash. Little Alfred remained with his Aunt Lola for two years, and then returned to his parents in Munich to start school.
In November 1938 Alfred and his brother Walter Koppel went to live again with their aunt Lola in Thomasiusstraße. Lola Goldschmidt then appealed to a children's charity in the USA, which facilitated the boys’ departure in mid 1941 to New York, where they joined their father Carl Koppel, thereby avoiding Nazi persecution.
Lola's brother Carl Koppel had been sent to concentration camp and then imprisoned in Russia and Japan, but in the mid 1940s he managed to flee to the United States. He tried everything possible to get his family and six children out to join him – but in vain. Carl received some letters from his sister Lola Goldschmidt. It is from these letters that we know Lola’s wit and charm enabled her to “keep laughing” during these hard times, as she tried to conceal her fears. She and her husband Joseph were also trying to get out of the country, to any place they could. Lola was a courageous woman, and her positive nature kept her going, with the fear of deportation looming over their heads. Despite their fear and their bleak situation, Lola and Joseph maintained their faith as orthodox Jews. Strange as it may seem, they continued to be open and generous to the world around them. Lola in particular was witty and tolerant; her door was always open. She maintained close contact with family members, despite the fact they were scattered over Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg. Lola also kept in close contact with many of her neighbors. Lola and Joseph’s home was strictly orthodox, so they no longer ate meat as there was no more kosher meat available, and from 1939 onwards the food rations for Jews were very meager. They belonged to the Orthodox Jewish community at Siegmundshof. When this closed down in the summer of 1941, they attended the great liberal synagogue at Levetzowstraße, where services were staggered. Starting October 1941 this synagogue was used as a transit camp. In the end, only the prayer room located on the 4th floor at Wilsnacker Straße 3 remained.
Joseph Goldschmidt was 15 years Lola’s senior. He was more reserved and not very comunicative, but he was very patient and like a good father to Alfred and Walter, who were very attached their uncle. Joseph seemed to be reasonably well-off, and starting 1939 supported his wife’s sisters financially. By this time Jews could no longer work and had no means of supporting themselves. Unfortunately, most of his investments were not liquid and could not be converted into cash or liquidated.
Lola Goldschmidt and her husband were deported to Theresienstadt on October 3, 1942; their address on the deportation list was given as Alt-Moabit 86. One year later on December 8, 1943, Joseph Goldschmidt died in the camp. Lola was deported to Auschwitz extermination camp on October 9, 1944 and murdered. She was 55 years old. Lola had seven siblings: Siete (Siegmund), Lene (Helene), Bernhard, Carl, Hanna, Leo and Edi (Eduard). Only three of them survived: Carl and Hanna in Brooklyn, New York, and Siete in Hamburg, who survived as a result of being in a “mixed marriage”.
Joseph's widowed sister Recha and her brother Mendel, who lived alone, were also at Theresienstadt; they were deported together from Hamburg in July 1942. Recha died just four months later, on 11/08/1942; two days later Joseph's brother Mendel committed suicide.
The letters of Lola Goldschmidt were published in the book: "My Heroic Mother: Voices from the Holocaust." Author: Alfred Koppel. Hardcover, 272 pages, published in 2010 by Trafford Publishing