Helene Koch

Helene Koch died in California in 1998. She was born to Austrian parents at the height of World War II. Helene never married nor had children. Her only sister died in Europe as a very young woman.

The ancestral Koch family’s story was very interesting and tragic. Helene’s father worked as a mechanic rather than to join the German army. The family was eventually taken to Russia to serve in a forced labor camp mining coal and later to a slave camp in Yugoslavia. The family’s property was eventually confiscated while many extended family members perished in concentration camps.

Helene, her family, and her father were eventually reunited but not until 1947 when Helene was six years-old. The family escaped from Yugoslavia for Romania through Hungary and finally back to Austria. They successfully emigrated to America in 1952. Both of Helene’s parents died in the 1990s in northern California.

Our research efforts were eventually able to locate Helene’s four surviving first cousins in Austria. We worked with a research partner in Europe to document the family’s genealogy and amazing part in world history.