Hans Körbel moved in the early 1920s with his parents and younger brother Robert Körbel from Bielitz (now Bielsko-Biala) in Silesia to Vienna, where they lived at Neulinggasse 18 in the 3rd district. After leaving school he attended the Bundeslehranstalt für Maschinenbau und Elektrotechnik (Federal Institute for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering) and later completed a state training course in advertising. He worked at Brown-Boveri Werke and Preßburger Elektrizität A.G. In July 1938 he married Judith Fischer from Belgium. After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, the family were persecuted as Jews. Hans Körbel lived from August 1938 at Wollzeile 19 in the 1st district. A few weeks later he was registered to leave for Palestine. His emigration appears to have been delayed, because he was registered in mid-September as living in Wollzeile until 1 November 1938. Prior to this he had applied on behalf of his mother Meta Körbel to the Zentralstelle für Denkmalschutz (Central Monument Protection Authority) to export her artworks. A watercolour by Friedrich Gauermann and a miniature by Carl Goebel were withheld. Hans Körbel then sold the miniature to the Albertina. The whereabouts of the Gauermann watercolour are unknown. His wife Judith managed to escape to Palestine in September 1938 and his mother is registered as leaving for Budapest on 10 February 1939. His brother Robert Körbel had already emigrated to Mexico in 1925. Nothing else is known of the family's fate. At its meeting on 6 December 2013, the Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended restitution of the miniature sold to the Albertina.
Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Hans und Meta Körbel, 6.12.2013, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Koerbel_Hans_Meta_2013-12-06.pdf (3.12.2020).
Archiv der IKG Wien, Bestand Jerusalem, A/W 2589,11, Hans Körbel.
Archiv der IKG Wien, Bestand Jerusalem, A/W 2590,54, Sophie Fischer.
BDA-Ausfuhr, Zl. 2476/1938, Meta Körbel.
WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Hans Körbel.
WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Meta Körbel.
WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Judith Fischer.