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Dr. Felix Bobek

Fotografie von Felix Bobek. Fotorechte: GDW.
Stolperstein für Felix Bobek. Foto: OTFW.
Wilhelmstr. 22/23

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg – Kreuzberg

08/21/1898 in Prag / Praha
01/22/1938 in Berlin-Plötzensee

Dr. Felix Bobek was born on 21 August 1898 in Prague (then in Austria-Hungary, today capital of the Czech Republic). His father, Karl Bobek, was a Professor of Mathematics and his mother, Marta Bobek, née Rosenfeld, a teacher. Felix Bobek’s father died when he was just 1½. Henceforth Marta Bobek cared for her son and his one-year older sister Olga alone. Felix Bobek spent his childhood and youth in Nuremberg, where his maternal grandparents lived, and later in Graz, Austria.

After gaining his school-leaving certificate in summer 1916, Felix Bobek enrolled to study Chemistry and Physics in Graz. In 1917 he was called up to fight. When World War I was over he continued his studies in Munich, initially, and from autumn 1920, in Berlin. He wrote his dissertation 1921-1924 at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin. In his free time he took part in the Friends of Nature movement and was a keen photographer, painter and model-maker. On 1 January 1925 Dr. Felix Bobek began working as a physical chemist for the company Osram. In July 1926 he married Gertrud Denner, who gained her doctorate in Geography a short time later. They had two daughters, Anna and Eva. The family of four lived at Wilhelm Strasse 23.

In 1933 Felix Bobek was dismissed from Osram on account of his Jewish background. In summer 1934 he worked for three months for the Luma group in Stockholm, Sweden. However, the permanent position he had hoped for did not materialize and he returned to Nazi Germany.

From 1932 Dr. Felix Bobek and his wife worked for the “BB” (internal reporting) department of the German Communist Party’s secret apparatus. One of the tasks of the BB apparatus was to obtain secret information about German armaments production and direct it to the Soviet Union. Dr. Felix Bobek’s main task was to photograph incoming reports and to create reduced size reproductions of them by means of an innovative procedure which he himself had developed.

On 15 May 1935 Dr. Felix Bobek was arrested by the Gestapo. On 4 October he managed to escape from custody but was re-arrested some two weeks later. By this time, his wife Gertrud Bobek and their two daughters had managed to migrate to the Soviet Union and so evade Nazi persecution.

On 10 May 1937 the “People’s Court” found Dr. Felix Bobek guilty of “planning high treason in coincidence with the betrayal of military secrets” and sentenced him to death. In the ten months remaining until his execution, he wrote a treatise on dialectics in physics in his prison cell. Dr. Felix Bobek was executed on 22 January 1938 in Ploetzensee, Berlin.

Biographical Compilation

Lorraine Bluche

English Translation

Charlotte Kreutzmüller