Herbert Leopold Robinski

Lichtenberger Straße 34
Historical name
Wallnertheaterstraße 45
Stone was laid
30 November 2021
29 March 1907 in Strasburg (Westpreußen) / Brodnica
1936 nach Südafrika

Herbert Leopold Robinski was born on 29 March 1907 and his younger brother Artur was born on the 02 May 1909. The two brothers grew up in the town of Strasburg in West Prussia (now Brodnica, Poland). Herbert and Artur’s grandfather was an innkeeper and fisherman in Tatmischken, a small village within the administrative district of Rucken (near Tilsit) in East Prussia, close to the border of what is now Lithuania. Their grandfather had six sons, who scattered all across Europe when they left home: David, their father, lived in Strasburg; his brother Isidore in Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia); Max moved to Elbing, East Prussia (now Elbląg in Poland); Adolf lived in Pirmasens, Germany; Eugen emigrated to South Africa; and another son ended up in France.

After World War One, the family relocated to Berlin where the two brothers worked until they fled to South Africa and Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Herbert fled in 1936 and Artur followed two years later. Although the brothers tried everything to rescue their parents Cecilie and David and siblings Siegfried, Edith and Hildegard, due to anti-Jewish immigration laws, no countries were willing to grant them refuge, and they were murdered in Riga and Auschwitz.

In 2000, the artist Gunter Demnig laid the first official Stolpersteine in Kreuzberg for Herbert and Artur’s older brother Siegfried and his wife Edith. A couple of years later, Demnig laid four Stolpersteine in Berlin-Mitte at Lichtenberger Straße 34 (formerly Wallnertheaterstraße 45) at the site where Cecilie, David, Edith and Hildegard Robinski once lived. On the 30 November 2021, two more Stolpersteine were laid at this site for Herbert and Artur Robinski.

After his flight from Nazi Germany, Herbert settled permanently in South Africa, and in 1955 he married his wife Ruth and they had two children, Michael and Steven.
Artur settled in Ndola in Northern Rhodesia where he married Elsa and had two children David and Cecilia.
For more details on the Robinski family you can read Steven Robins’ memoir Briefe aus Stein: Von Nazi-Deutschland nach Südafrika (Berlin: Metropol Verlag, 2019)/Letters of Stone: From Nazi Germany to South Africa (Cape Town: Penguin Random House South Africa, 2016).