Deathcard of Franz Köpf - End June 1948 †

This is the Deathcard of Franz Köpf, Franz was a 29 year old, from Dettenhausen (Upper Bavaria). Franz seen in his photo on the Deathcard is a Soldat in the Heer. His rank and unit he was a part of are unknown as the Deathcard does not state nor does the photo show us any information of this. The Deathcard is in a 'Book' format seen accompanied here with cross, this type of cross would be a personal cross carried by and individual.

The deathcard of Franz Köpf tells us his occupation, it details he was a "Bauernsohn". This translates to Farmers Son, this being Franz's occupation before the war, it also details that he is a "Kriegsteilnehmer". This translates to "A Krieger" or "Combatant" . This referring to him being a veteran of WW2 . This is due to death of Franz Köpf unfortunately dying post war and the Deathcard being issued in 1948. Acknowledging his unfortunate demise but not mentioning in the same detail as a wartime Deathcard.

The Deathcard in German reads as:

Zur Frommen Erinnerung Im Gebete

an useren innigstgeliebten, unergeßichen

Sohn und Bruder

Franz Köpf

Bauerssohn und Kriegsteilnehmer

Geb, am 20 Mai 1919 in Deutenhausen

tödich verunglückt in russ: Gefangenschaft

in einem Kohlenbergwerk b, Lutsch (Stalino)

Ende Juni 1948


Fort warst Du von uns, wohl fast zehn Jahr,

Das war eine lange zeit

Wo du Sländig warest noch in Gefahr,

Wo Tod winkte, weit und breit,

Fast 6 Jahre Kreig; keine Kugel kam Dir an,

Das gab Dir nich veil zu denken

Denn Du stelltest Dich als Mann,

Und Gott tat wohl Deie Schritte lenken

Dann ging es leider in die Gefangenschaft;

Da Brauchtesl Du schon Mut.

Schaffen bis die Hand erschlafft,

Essen Wenig und sonst nicht gut

ein bitterer Kelch tat Dir da winken.

Du Mußtest ihnbis zur Neige trinken

Als guter Arbeiter wolltest Du Dich dann [bewähr'n;

Man sagle, die düfen bald zurückkehr'n

Doch kurz bevor Dir das nun glückte,

Im Bergwerk ein Stein Dich zu Tode rückte.

Statt, Daß Du Konntest heimwärts ziehn

Trug man Dich zu Grabe hin.

Vergebens war nun all unser Hoffen,

Die Botschaft hat uns schwer getroffen

The reverse reads as (Left side):

wir sind ja alle ganz erwarre,

Mit Dir haben wir vieles verloren

Wir hätten Dich doch so notwendig gebraucht,

Indessen hast Du schon Deine Seele aus-Gehaucht

Seit Jahren schon schriebst Du auf Wieder-sehn

Des Herrn Wille, ist nun geschehn.

Heimkehrer haben uns das geschriaben,

Die Dir in treuer Kameradschaft verblieben;

Denen bist Du wohl Alles gewesen,

Wie wir aus ihren Briefen konnten lesen.

Süßes Herz Mariä, sei meine

Rettung! (300 Tage Alaß)

Süßes Herz Jesu, Sei meine Liebe

(300 Tage Alaß)

Gütiger Herr Jesu,

ich vertraue auf dich!

(100 Tage Ablaß)

Mein Jesus Barmhezigkeit!

Vater unser ...

Right side reads:

Nun ruhe Du sanft, Du lieber Guter,

O braver Sohn, geliebter Bruder.

Wir konnten Dich nicht sterbe sehn

Und nicht an Deinem Grabe stehn

Die Scheidestunde schlug zu früh,

Doch Gott der Herr, bestimmte sie.

Nun hoffen wir daß Du auch bist droben,

Wo ja scon Mutter und Brudersind oben.

The English translation reads as:

For Pious Remembrance

In prayer to our dearly beloved,

energetic son and brother

Franz Köpf

Bakers Son and War Participant

Born on May 20, 1919 in Deutenhausen

fatally injured in Russian: Captivity in a coal mine b, Lutsch (Stalino)

Late June 1948


You were gone from us, probably almost ten years,

That was a long time

Where you were still in danger

Where death beckoned far and wide

Almost 6 years at War; you didn't get a bullet,

That didn't give you much to think about

Because you presented yourself as a man

And God did well to direct the steps

Then unfortunately it went into captivity;

Since you need courage.

Create until the hand slacks

Eat little and otherwise not good

a bitter goblet waved to you.

You had to drink it to the end

As a good worker you wanted to [prove yourself;

Say they'll be back soon

But just before you succeeded

In the mine a stone put you to death.

Instead of that you could go home

You were carried to the grave.

All our hopes were in vain

The message hit us hard

English Left and right side Reverse;

We are all very beside oneselves

We lost a lot with you

We would have needed you so much

In the meantime you have already breathed out your soul

You have been writing goodbye for years

The Lord's will has now happened.

Homecomers wrote to us that

Who remained with you in loyal comradeship;

You have been everything to them

As we could read from their letters.

Sweet heart Mary, be mine

Rescue! (300 days ales)

Sweet heart of Jesus, be my love

(300 days ales)

Good Lord Jesus,

I trust you!

(100 days indulgence)

My Jesus Mercy!

Our father ...

Now rest gently, you dear friend,

O good son, beloved brother.

We couldn't see you die

And don't stand by your grave

The hour of parting struck too early

But the Lord God determined them.

Now we hope that you are up there too,

Where's mother and brother upstairs.

The Deathcard tells us information about Franz Köpf before the war and the unfortunate circumstances in which he found himself in up until his death in June 148. Seen translated, like most Deathcards a brief description of the individual under their photo. Franz Köpf seen mentioned as a Son and Brother, this shows the family he unfortunately left behind. The Deathcard also details to us his occupation and a brief mention of his life. Before it tells us where he unfortunately died. Franz Köpf died in "Kohlenbergwerk b" - this translates to Coal Mine B, in Lutsch, Stalino. Stalino is modern day Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine. Franz Köpf unfortunately died here in 1948. The extract seen on the right details more of his unnecessary and upsetting death.

The extract seen opposite the photo of Franz details not a religious extract but a meaningful passage of his life and the family's description of their beloved Franz. This is seen with the mention of how Franz was away for almost 10 years, and fighting for 6 of those years, a long time mentioned and the danger he still faced. This referring to the start of World War 2 in 1939, and his imprisonment by soviet forces at the late war/end of the war and till death in 1948. They mention the brutality of the Second World War and how death was everywhere, the luck that he was not hit by a bullet in that amount of time, they thank god and show that he had it in his plans to survive. However the next part is much depressing as it details his unfortunate imprisonment by the cruel soviet forces. With this it describes the cruelty, hardships and poor conditions Franz Köpf and many other POWs faced. It talks of the hard labour he faced;

"Create until the hand slacks Eat little and otherwise not good, a bitter goblet waved to you. You had to drink it to the end As a good worker you wanted to [prove yourself - Say they'll be back soon , But just before you succeeded, In the mine a stone put you to death. Instead of that you could go home, You were carried to the grave".

This passage showing the upsetting and unnecessary demise of Franz Köpf. Mentioning that he was in a Coal mine in Stalino to the accident that lead to his death. A stone falling on him whilst he was put to work as a form of hard labour. His family also details their mourning of his unfortunate death as they use the words "Instead of that you could go home, You were carried to the Grave" - This showing their sadness that he was not allowed to come home and the only way he came home was when he died. They mention this further with "All our hopes were in vain , The message hit us hard". Their hopes of their beloved Son and brother coming home were destroyed as the cruelty of the soviets and the forced labour lead to his unnecessary death.

The reverse details more of the life and character of Franz Köpf, this in a much more comforting message that they mention "Homecomers wrote to us that, Who remained with you in loyal comradeship;

You have been everything to them As we could read from their letters". This shows the character Franz was, even in the depressing and hard times he and fellow Soldaten were in at the NKVD Camo at Lutsch, Stalino. It details that the fortunate POWs that made it home (Homecomers) wrote to the family of Franz Köpf and they detailed the Loyalty and Comradeship he showed. These letter the family say they read and gain comfort that Franz was in comfort of great friends and gave them morale in his time till his unfortunate death. After this the family says a prayer to Mary and Jesus before they sign it off with sorrow that they couldn't be there with him to see him die , or visit his grave whilst mentioning that he died too soon. They mention he can now be at peace with his Mother and Brother. This meaning that the farther could be the likely sole survivor of the family at home. A very sad situation for the Köpf family.

This Deathcard serves not only a reminder of Franz Köpf's death, but it details the sad and unnecessary demise of the young Soldat. Surviving the war and the war being over, he found himself still in the rough conditions 3 years after the war ended. He should have been sent home to be with his family, the war was over and he should have been able to rejoice as his service was over. However the cruelty and poor conditions of life as a Soviet POW in a NKVD camp lead to the young life of Franz Köpf to be taken to soon, at the end of June 1948. Some 500,000 German POWs were suggested to be imprisoned in Camps across the USSR in 1948.

The family holding on to this Deathcard as it is the closet they get to their Son and Brother who died in Stalino. How Franz died could be speculated as the conditions in which he was in would have indefinitely played a large role in his livelihood as a POW until his death.

This Deathcard in the collection shows the cruelty of the Soviets and the disregard for human life as the conditions in which POWs were in. Franz being one of many who had served their time fighting in the Second World War and as a Prisoner of War, should have been sent home to be reunited with his family. This is shared in Memory of the Young Franz Köpf and to share his story, although it is a sad one, serves as a reminder of the cruelty and unnecessary death of POWs even after the war. It is suggested some 1 million German POWs were killed in NKVD Camps.

† May He Rest In Piece - A part of the Deathcard series at KB41Collection †

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