Cleveland German Profile

Hans Kopp

Hans was born in Batschsentiwan, near Apatin on the Danube, the "Land of the Danube Swabians", (in Hungary prior to 1914). As a child, he became a post World War II victim of ethnic cleansing in 1945 in Communist Yugoslavia.

After his escape in 1947, he fled via Hungary to Austria and from there he came to the United States in 1956. After serving a tour of duty in the United States Armed Forces (1958-1960). He studied mechanical engineering and worked as a machine design engineer in the machine tool field and later as an engineering consultant in the steel mill industry.

He married Annemarie Gibisch in 1961. They have two children Birgitt and Robert and three grandchildren Kris, Katie and Klayton.

Hans Kopp

His involvement in the German-American community in Greater Cleveland began in 1957, when he became a founding member of the "GBU Soccer Club". In 1964 he became one of the first youth soccer coaches of the "Sport Club Donauschwaben" (formally GBU) and later Concordia.

In January of 1965 he became one of the founders and program director of the Lake Erie Junior Soccer League. As head coach of the "Sport Club Donauschwaben" during the late 60's early 70s's, the youth program of the club, with ten youth teams and more than 150 youth players, experience the largest expansion.

His involvement in promoting youth soccer, lead to an appointment as the first president of the "Ohio Youth Soccer Association-North" in 1974, and a position he held for 10 years. As such he became instrumental in the soccer development in the state.

His involvements with soccer, lead to an appointment to the "National Soccer Coaches Committee" in 1975, and as such became a founding member of the National "State Soccer Coaches Schools" in the United States and the first state coach of the OYSA-N. In 1977 he became a founding member of the "US National Olympic Soccer Development Program" a name he created for the program.

With the latter appointment, he became one of the five original "National Committee Members" of this important program. Thus he became a pioneer in soccer in the United States and became instrumental in making "Soccer" a household name in this country.

The same year he became the first director for the "Midwest Olympic Soccer Development Program" (which includes 14 state associations), a position he held for seven years. By holding these positions, Hans became one of the most prominent Danube Swabian officers in the United States, involved in the development of youth soccer.

His contributions as a youth soccer coach and administrator of 25 years prompted the OYSA-N to name the U-16 State Youth Cup "The Hans Kopp Cup" in his honor and being inducted into the "Ohio Youth Soccer Hall of Fame". Because of his many contributions to youth soccer in the pioneering years of the sport in the United States, he is often referred to as the "Father of Ohio Youth Soccer".

He has degrees in mechanical, machine and machine tool design engineering. He is a certified instructor in the machine, tool and die design engineering field in the State of Ohio, a national licensed soccer coach and a certified "Ski Instructor of America".

His involvement in teaching spans over more than half a Century. His love for teaching benefited thousands of school children of all ages, as well as, adults, even today.

Hans Kopp working in German Cultural Garden

Hans Kopp working in German Cultural Garden

In 1972 he became a fraternal insurance counselor with District 70 (now 810) of the "Greater Beneficial Union of Pittsburgh" in Cleveland. In 1984 he became the first designated FIC, F (Fraternal Insurance Counselor, Fellow) of the Greater Beneficial Union of Pittsburgh nationwide.

He has been a delegate to the "Federation of German-American Societies of Greater Cleveland" on and off, since 1972 and is a member of several branches of the Society of the "Donauschwaben's German-American Cultural Center" since 1958 and was one of the founding members of their youth dance group that year.

Hans is a passionate gardener and has assumed the responsibility of planting the flowers at Lenau Park since his retirement.

Hans has authored many short stories, technical papers on skiing and soccer, news reports for the "Wächter und Anzeiger" the "Germania" and several other publications in the German and in English languages in Germany, Austria, the United States and Canada.

Perhaps he is best known for his Book: The Last Generation - Forgotten and Left to Die: The Postwar Memoirs of a Child: The History of the Danube Swabians in Word and Pictures (English and German Edition) , written in German and English a volume of 400 pages, framed by more than 1,400 pictures, documents and maps, copyrighted in 1999 and published in 2003.

With this book he leaves behind valuable information's on the historic events which led to the expulsion of the Germans from the Southeast and the genocide on the Germans, perpetrated during the post war years of WWII 1945-1948 by Communist Yugoslavia.

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