Jules “Julius” “Julio” Kohler
Jules Kohler’s father, Guillaume Kohler 1825-1901, was married twice. After five years of marriage, his first wife Caroline Loeffler 1828-1858 died five days after giving birth to twins. Eighteen months later, Guillaume married Frédérique Loeffler 1832-1869, a younger sister of Caroline. After 10 years of marriage, Frédérique died one month after giving birth to twins: Jules and Albert Kohler.
Jules Kohler and his twin
brother Albert were born
on 19 Oct 1869 in the town of
Jules served with the French Foreign
Legion from 24 Dec 1888 to 24 Dec 1893.
We were told this was to regain French citizenship for the family. He was
promoted to corporal on 5 Apr 1891 and to sergeant on 8 Sept 1892. He did two
tours of duty in
On 11 July
1893 a Jules Kohler arrived
in Buenos Aires on board the Rio Negro from
likely that his twin brother Albert also emigrated to
first 18 months after his arrival in mid-1893 Jules presumably lived in
end of 1894, a big quarrel erupted between Emile on the one hand and Jules and
Albert on the other. Following the quarrel Jules moved in early 1895 to
We have a
rather large collection of Jules’ correspondence. These letters are transcribed
and translated in this document,
and are numbered 1-43, A-Z, AA-HH. While he was in
- The Hoffmann family (16 letters).
- His sister Louise Kohler wrote 6
letters from Amillis in
- His cousin Jeanne Veith and her husband wrote 7 letters.
- Reinaldo Hellwig (5 letters) and
Edoardo (3 letters) were friends and colleagues of Jules at Gietz &
Navarro. (Reinaldo appears in the 1895 Argentine census; he was 17 then. You
can scan this census online for free at the Mormons' website
www.familysearch.org.) Obviously, Jules was a popular guy there. Edoardo left
- Letter H is written in Italian by an apparently-jilted girlfriend of Jules.
- August (one letter) was a
Everyone who wrote to him had a genuine affection – even love - for him. He was obviously a very nice person.
- In Letter 18 (1 Apil 1895) Marie Hoffmann wrote, “We are deeply touched by the joy which you feel at the prospect of becoming godfather to one or even two of our children, because it is always these kinds of circumstances that reveal a person’s true feelings, and I thank you with all my heart. I am also very glad that you liked the portrait of Carlitos that we sent you. Now let us speak about baptism - which cannot take place before this winter because, among other reasons, Emile will be quieter being removed from the great work. Then after that you might be able to get a few days off: so that we can continue our former conversations, because you must admit it would be a pity really if you make only one short appearance here. You ask me what the children say. Do not think that they forget you. The name of Mr Jules is each day in their mouths, and they are delighted already that you will stay with us. “
- In Letter 4 (5 July 1895) Marie Hoffmann wrote, “We all are very happy that you will come soon to stay with us for a few days. Request the longest possible leave, so that we can stay up in the evenings as long as we like. We are all in good health here at the moment. Carlitos is indeed a worthy brother for your sister (illegible) for he has no equal as far as greediness is concerned. The children are calling for you loudly, especially some liquid perfume, but they have plenty of powder perfume. Thus dear Mr Jules come to our house as soon as you can. While waiting for the pleasure of reading your good news receive my best friendships. Kisses from the children to you.”
- In Letter A (undated) Edoardo, writes, “The pleasure and the friendship that you have always shown me, believe me Julio I will never forget it. The friendship that I have for you will last forever because we are persons that when they feel and love it is serious, maybe someday we will meet again and work together!! What do you think? Do you ever think of me? far from our countries in a country where we do not have any family bonds to soften our hearts. Up to now I have not found anyone to make me feel less alone.
Give my best regards to Rinaldo Helovich,
tell him to write and I will do the same. Write to me, write to me soon, long
letters and if you need anything from
The Hoffmanns, Veiths and Louise all seemed to be very
concerned about his emotional state in
In Letter 12 (12 Sept
1895) Emile Hoffmann writes, “Continue to work as you did in the past. Your
owners, who are well disposed to you, will reward you well. You should not
despair. Whatever happens, remain one year at least on their premises and then
if that does not get anywhere we will try to find something in
- In Letter 14 (undated) Emile Hoffmann writes, “Proceed, sergeant, with courage and especially with patience, and you will do as well as anybody. … Well my old or young Tonkinese the important thing is that you succeed. In my opinion, you must spend at least 1 to 2 years in this business.
1º for you to learn the trade.
2º these are uncertain times and having something now is worth 10 times what you might have in the future.
I cannot recommend too strongly that you not leave at the end of 6 months even though you may have saved a little money – [because] two years of a training course in a large company, such as the one you are with now, will show customers what you can do, etc. So, be patient. “
- In Letter 8 (17 Apr 1896) Louise writes, “Always think twice before giving in to your first impulse, because this is the decisive moment of your life if you want to be a success.”
On the other hand, his friends Reinaldo and Alberto don’t mention that he might be worried or concerned. Obviously, he presented a different face to them.
In 1895 we get evidence that Emile was making accusations and starting rumours about Albert which caused Albert go into hiding – at least from Emile. There are indications that Jules knew where Albert was; however, Louise didn’t. Perhaps Albert fled because he was afraid that Emile would take his accusations to the police; and perhaps Jules was reluctant to tell Louise where Albert was in case it got back to Emile. In early 1895 Jules seems to have written to the Hoffmanns claiming that Albert was innocent
- In Letter 14 (undated) Emile Hoffmann writes, “The information that you also provide about your brother Albert is in his favour. So then – where do all the accusations come from? I really think I know where they come from. [Presumably, he means they came from Emile.] Your brother [Emile] stops by every week. He never mentions your name, and naturally I have not told him where you were. If by chance he asks me, I will tell him, and I will add that your brother Albert can return [to his former way of life] whenever he likes, and that he has done no harm to anyone.“
- In Letter 15 (17 Sep 1895) “Schwerzel” (who I think is Jules’s cousin Jeanne Veith nee Jeanne Kohler) writes, “If you have occasion also to see my dear Albert say to him thousand and thousand friendships from us and especially from your Schwerzel who has been so much teased by you. All this to me I remember with pleasure. ”
- In Letter 8 (17 Apr 1896) Louise writes, “Ah, so if … we could find Albert, I would be so happy.”
- In Letter T (5 Nov 1895) Louise says, “Have you still no news of Albert? It is impossible to say how much that child torments me, or rather how much the two of you torment me! Why did you have to be so stubborn? You could all be here happy and calm and I, having sacrificed everything for you, would have a little compensation in having you near to me.”
Emile also seemed to have been telling people that Jules needed constant supervision, was unpopular and was “difficult”.
In early 1895 the Hoffmanns and Veiths were worried that Emile would tell Louise about the quarrel and that she would only get Emile’s side of the story. They were concerned that this would turn Louise against Jules. They urged Jules to write to Louise to counter Emile’s accusations.
In Letter 5 (2 Apr
1895) Emile Hoffmann says,”I hope that you have given instructions to your sister
to be warned against the rumours and gossip that might arise. … It is essential
that Mrs. Kohler should believe that you are well and haven’t done any harm to
anyone again in
- In Letter 18 (1 Apr 1895) Marie Hoffmann says, “By the way, when your sister [Louise] will receive your letter in which you give her the details she so much requested, [you should tell her] that you know how to deal with business without anybody, and especially that you know perfectly how to make friends, and finally that your impossible character existed only in the imagination of the pharmacy on Pasco Street.”
Jules did write to Louise and the Hoffmanns waited with baited breath for her reply –
- In Letter 4 (5 July 1895) Emile Hoffmann says, “I hope that you will have received good news of your sister and that she will not believe everything she hears about Emile and Marie.”
In Letter 7 (Undated)
Emile Hoffmann says, “We just received your letter, and at the same time a
But Jules’s letter to Louise was obviously very defensive and confrontational and to have assumed that Louise would take Emile’s side, because -.
- In letter 16 (14 May 1895) Louise herself writes, “You seem in your letter to be annoyed in advance at what I will give reason of you or of Emile after having seen them. Neither to one nor to the other, I tell you frankly and in advance. You have always missed and you always miss both, because you let yourselves be carried away by your bad head. Thus you threaten already “I will not give any more sign of life”. If this is all the reward you think you owe me. Oh well, my old man, you will not go far! I do not need to be informed by strangers. I know you both well enough, to report to me what has happened. Emile is hard when he is malicious, and you, up to now, while having a bad head, you never refused, I understand that this new process will appear bitter to you.”
Louise was very upset by Jules’s letter-
In Letter 13 (19 Nov
1895) “Schwerzel” (= Jeanne Veith) writes, “Yes, my
dear Jules, be always grateful and good to your sister because she sacrificed
much for you and Albert, since she replaced your dear mother. Always listen to
her advice for it will never do you harm. And when you feel angry, never write,
because letters are worse sometimes than spoken words. Forget, my friend,
everything that occurred. You did the best you could without having
someone to support you. Sometimes one falls into traps or develops bad
feelings. These things happen but it is unfortunate sometimes. But if you take
a moment, you can read and think that in
It is interesting to speculate
whether Jules in
We have one his business cards. It is
undated but the address 1450 Ayacucho is written in it by hand. (There is an
Ayacucho street in both
In November 1897 he was in
We have a receipt (see front
dated 28 Sept 1898 issued by the Brazil Central Railway for transporting two
unaccompanied suitcases of clothes from Sao Diogo (a train depot near downtown
Rio de Janeiro) to “Julio” Kohler in the town of Mendes, a small town about 90 km
north-west of Rio de Janeiro on the railway line from Rio to Sao Paulo. (The
shipping company was Muller & Vilmar who were located at Rua [do] Lavradio
60, in downtown
We have a document in Portuguese
dated 1 April 1899 that seems to indicate that he was working then as a fireman
in the Vila Isabel Fire Station in
In the 1901 census he was a surface
colliery labourer at Sunny Bank in
He was employed as a messroom
steward on a ship from
He was married on 19 Mar 1905 when his new wife was 2 1/2 months pregnant. At the time of his marriage he was a "tubeworker" (?).
On 1 May 1916 the French Vice
He enlisted in the British Army on 4 Dec 1916.
Between 19 Feb 1917 and 24 Sept 1917 he was a private (# 220427) in the 301st Roads Construction Co., Royal Engineers and was a member of the Special Intelligence Police, Fourth Army with authority to travel anywhere in the Fourth Army Area.
In Dec 1918 he was attached to the Canadian Intelligence Corps with authority to “move by day or night, and by any means of locomotion, in any part of the Canadian Corps Area”. In the same month he was given a similar permit to travel anywhere by any means in the area of the British Second Army.
In early 1919 he was working as a translator and investigator in Düsseldorrf. His identity card contains a photograph of him and mentions that he had a scar on his right cheek. During this period he was assigned to investigate the Chief of Secret Police at Düsseldorf
On 8 May 1919 he was officially transferred from the Intelligence Corps, 10th Royal Fusiliers to the 28th Brigade of the Canadian Corps stationed at Benrath (Hollhausen), Düsseldorf. (I think this was a formalization of a transfer that had occurred earlier because we have a copy of a letter date 30 Jan 1919 instructing him to conduct surveillance in Düsseldorf.)
At the conclusion of the war he was a corporal and earned the Victory Medal and British Medal.
There is no record of his being a naturalized British citizen.
He had a big operation in
His death certificate gives his age at death as 52 but he was actually 59. His occupation then was "gas producer (Steel Tube Works)".
(Records of alien entries in the National Archives are too disorganized to search through.)
No record of him in section WO 363 of the National Archives, the so-called "burnt" series covering war survivors and war dead (these records are incomplete; about 60 percent were destroyed in WWII).
According to Joan Kohler:
"Jules was born in