Glauber family photographs courtesy of Antony

Kurt is not commemorated on the war memorial at Christchurch Park.

Born: 23rd December 1902, Vienna, Austria.

Died: Between the 1st – 30th April 1945; age: 42; brutalised and killed at Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Vienna, Austria.

Residence: 277, Norwich Road, Ipswich.

Occupation: a Solicitor.

Occupation in Ipswich: a Trainee at the Tower Mill Steam Laundry, Bramford Road, Ipswich.

Enlisted: January 1940.


A decision at a tribunal held on the 11th December 1939, by the Norfolk and Suffolk District, found that Kurt, a male enemy alien was to be exempt from internment. Kurt a Jewish Refugee from Nazi oppression was strongly anti-Nazi and could be safely regarded as a friendly alien. Kurt recorded that he did not wish to be repatriated.


Rank: Sergeant; service number: 13800998.

Regiment: Royal Artillery, Searchlight Training Regiment, 220 Light Anti Aircraft Training Regiment.


Awarded: King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct.


Memorial Reference:

Brookwood 1939 – 1945 Memorial,

Panel 2. Column 3.

Brookwood Cemetery,



Father: Friedrich Glauber. A Viennese Transport Contractor.

Mother: Ernestine Glauber (nee Rubinstein), born 12th December 1881, Vienna. In 1939, Ernestine, a widow, was a refugee residing at Castle Inn, Hurst, Berkshire. At a tribunal held on the 27th October 1939, the decision was made that Ernestine was to be exempt from internment. She recorded that she did not wish to be repatriated. Ernestine died 1962, Kensington, London.

Brother: Gerhard Ignaz Glauber, born 18th August 1906, Vienna. Before the war, Gerhard fled to Palestine. He waded ashore at Netanya which was then a fishing village with a population of 400. He lived there for the rest of his life.

Sister: Lucile Maria Japhet, born 4th January 1909, Vienna. Lucile arrived in England in 1937, she married Percy Walter Japhet, born March 1907, Johannesburg, South Africa. Lucile and Percy had one son.



Kurt was a Laundry Trainee at the Tower Mill Steam Laundry. He was one of two lodgers of recently widowed Mrs. Helen Barber at her family home – 277, Norwich Road, Ipswich.

Helen Margaret Barber (nee Hawkes), unpaid Domestic Duties, born July 1887, Easton, Norfolk,

Peggy Isabel Barber, a Shorthand Typist, born July 1919, Ipswich.

James Alexander Hugh Bracken, a Custom & Excise Officer, born October 1919, West Ham, Essex.


A FAMILY NOTE: – Kurt Glauber was my uncle so I have been fascinated (and very impressed!) by your research. I was born 6 months before the outbreak of war so was still young when he died. But I do remember him and can perhaps add one or two things. I can’t throw any light on how my uncle found himself in Ipswich but he was obviously not qualified to practice law in England. I don’t believe that he was recruited by MI5 but rather that he volunteered. Because he was blonde with blue eyes he did not look Jewish and of course, he had a lot of friends he could trust in Vienna. It was just tragic that the woman at whose flat they met every Friday evening turned out to be a double agent so all of the British agents walked into a Gestapo trap. By the way, the woman was caught and hanged by other allied agents soon afterwards. We have no details of his imprisonment but were told that he was executed about a week before the end of the war when Hitler gave the order to execute all parachutists. – Antony, April 2023.

31st  January 1940, one week after enlisting. Kurt is seated extreme left.

Kurt with his sister, Lucile, his mother, Ernestine and young nephew, Antony.

1909 – 6 year old Kurt with his brother Gerhard aged 2.



Research by Mrs. Rachel Field

Dr Kurt Erich Glauber: an unsung Ipswich hero

At the beginning of the war, there were about 20 Jewish refugees living in Ipswich, at least six of whom were from Vienna, including a 37 year old lawyer called Kurt Glauber.  The armed forces of Nazi Germany had marched triumphantly into Austria in March 1938, hailed as heroes by many local people and unopposed by the Austrian military. Very soon after this, many Viennese Jews had their property confiscated and over 700 Jewish lawyers, including (presumably) Kurt Glauber, were banned from practising in the city.  The Glauber family was torn apart.  His father, the owner of a successful freight forwarding company, was dead, his brother had escaped to Palestine, and his mother and sister fled to London.  Kurt, a graduate of Vienna University and by now a lawyer practising in a smart part of Vienna, ended up in Ipswich.

When he arrived in Ipswich, the resident Jewish community was tiny and it is unclear whether any of the refugees then sheltering in the town knew or associated with each other.  Nor do we know who sponsored Kurt to come to Ipswich, or who found him somewhere to live or work.  We do know that he lived with the Barber family at 277 Norwich Road, maybe simply as a lodger helping the recently widowed Mrs Barber to boost her family’s income. But it is possible that she was more actively committed to helping refugees. The house is now a vaping shop called ‘What’s Ya Flava’! .  Kurt was employed as a ‘trainee’ at the Tower Mill Steam Laundry in Bramford Road –  a far cry from his former profession.

In the spring of 1940, the British authorities decided that refugees, even Jews escaping Nazi persecution, were a potential threat to domestic security.  Many were arrested and interned for some months on the Isle of Man. It is not known yet whether Kurt was included in this round-up, but there is no reason to suppose that he was not.  We do know, though, that he joined the Pioneer Corps in 1941.  This was a non-fighting army unit, open to refugees, in which men did essential but unskilled work, such as guarding bases, laying track, and so on.  And then, in 1943, the government decided to allow refugees to join fighting units.  Glauber promptly did so.  The official record shows that he joined the Royal Artillery.  As it turned out, however, this proved to be a cover story, for, in reality, Dr Glauber was recruited by MI6 to work as a secret agent.

Kurt was somehow smuggled back into Vienna by the British on a deadly secret mission.  One source claims that, by 1944/1945, he was investigating and reporting on factories where Nazis were thought to be developing nuclear weapons.  During that time, he was being hidden by sisters Daniza and Rada Illitsch in their apartment. Daniza was a famous operatic soprano, a great favourite with Viennese audiences for many years.  Although she was not Jewish, she was later acknowledged to have been an active anti-Nazi, as were several of her fellow musicians at the Vienna Opera House.

Tragically, Glauber was picked up in early 1945 by the Gestapo, betrayed by a woman who had been letting British agents use her lodgings as a safe meeting house.  The Illitsch sisters were also immediately arrested and taken to a concentration camp.  They were eventually freed when the camp was liberated a few months later by the Russian army at the end of April 1945.

As for Kurt Glauber, he was held in Vienna and put under pressure to use his secret radio to send false intelligence back to MI6.  He refused to cooperate, so was taken to Mauthausen concentration camp in the spring of 1945.  He was particularly harshly treated for being both a British agent and a Jew.  A camp medic promised to help him get admitted to the infirmary, but we don’t know if this happened.  What is clear, though, is that Kurt died sometime in April 1945.  Had he been admitted to the infirmary, he would probably not have survived as the SS murdered nearly 3,000 prisoners from the hospital in a single day, on 20 April 1945.  A few weeks later, at the beginning of May, the camp was liberated by American troops.

After the war, Kurt Glauber was posthumously awarded the King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct.  He is commemorated at Brookwood Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) in Surrey in a section reserved for servicemen such as ‘special agents who died as prisoners or while working with Allied underground movements’.  There is no commemoration (yet) in Ipswich.

September 2023 On Wednesday, 13th September 2023, at Ipswich Old Cemetery, IP4 4AL, a headstone memorial was dedicated and unveiled to commemorate Dr. Kurt Erich Glauber.

YouTube Video of the Event.

Video courtesy of James Baker.

His Excellency H.E. Bernhard Wrabetz
Deputy Lord Lieutenant Mark Brennan.

This event was kindly led by Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman, of the Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation and held under the auspices of The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation – JASHP, The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women – AJEX, and the Ipswich War Memorial Project – IWMP

The headstone memorial was unveiled by Dr. Kurt Glauber’s nephew and great-niece in the presence of His Excellency H.E. Bernhard Wrabetz, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk, the Mayor of Ipswich Cllr. Lynn Mortimer, Mrs. Rachel Field and other distinguished guests. The event commenced at 3 p.m. with prayers, unveiling, the last post, 2-minute silence, laying of wreaths and spoken tributes from IWMP, AJEX, JASHP, Rabbi Hyman, and Tony Japhet (words below)

A vote of thanks was given by the Austrian Ambassador, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant. A presentation of flowers was given to Rachel Field for her discovery.

Following the service, an afternoon tea reception was held at the Mayor’s Parlour, hosted by the Mayor Cllr. Lynn Mortimer and IWMP.

The service was well attended, with RBL standards, a bugler and a piper, BBC, ITV television, BBC digital, BBC Radio, East Anglian Daily Times, and Ipswich Star newspapers.

Mr Tony Japhet (nephew to Kurt Glauber) speech:
I would like to thank everybody involved in making today happen. First of all to Helen and Andrew of the Ipswich War Memorial project for their hard work and for organising everything so well. To Rachel Field for her amazing research
which started the ball rolling. To Martin Sugarman of AJEX for his involvement and to Jerry Klinger and JASHP for their generosity in funding this wonderful memorial. And also to Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman for overseeing the religious side of proceedings and for schlepping up here from Southend.
I was 6 years old when my uncle was executed. My only real memory of him was when I was 5 years old and he took me to the London Zoo. My mother told me many years later that after we had been all the way round I announced that I would like to go round again. So of course we went round again, as a result of which we were very, very late home for lunch. My mother said she had been very worried and the outcome was that my uncle got a serious ticking off.
Kurt was the oldest of three siblings. The youngest, my mother, came to London in 1937 after marrying my father in Vienna. Kurt gave her away. She arrived with her British passport after it had been delivered to the wedding reception by a member of staff from the British embassy. Kurt’s younger brother, Gerd, fled to what was then Palestine in 1938 and waded ashore at Netanya, now a city with over 200,00 inhabitants, then a fishing village with a population of 400. He lived there for the rest of his life. Also in 1938 Kurt and his mother (my grandmother) decided it was no longer safe to remain in Vienna. In any case when the German army marched into Austria he, as a successful lawyer, could no longer work as the Nazis banned any Jewish lawyers in Vienna from practising. My grandmother came to London, and Kurt to Ipswich where he got a job at a laundry. That I knew but, thanks to Rachel, I now know that he worked at the Tower Mill Steam Laundry in Bramford Road and lodged with the Barber family at 277 Norwich Road. But I don’t know why he came here and even Rachel’s incredible research couldn’t answer that one. He couldn’t practice law here because he didn’t have the right qualifications but whether a Doctorate of Law from the university in Vienna qualified him to work at a laundry I’m not sure. He was here in Ipswich for about 18 months before joining the Army in January 1940. He would have had to have joined the Pioneer Corps because he, classified as he was an “enemy alien”, would not have been allowed to join a fighting regiment.
So I believe that his transfer to the Royal Artillery with the rank of acting sergeant would have come when he volunteered to return to Vienna to spy for the British. He was parachuted into Austria on 1st September 1944 and made his way to Vienna. There he had friends and people he could trust and with fair hair and blue eyes did not look Jewish. The allied agents met every Friday evening at a woman’s flat. One Friday in February 1945 they arrived there to find the Gestapo waiting for them. They were all taken prisoner. We were told that she was a double agent but if she had been the agents would have been arrested much sooner. So I believe she may have been turned by the Nazis. My grandmother was subsequently told by a friend in Vienna that soon after betraying the agents she was visited by other agents and found hanged in her flat. Kurt refused to give his interrogators any information, refused to cooperate and refused to send false information back to England. So he was transferred to Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
I found this out through Rachel so googled Mauthausen. What I read was horrendous and Kurt’s treatment as a Jew and a spy doesn’t bear thinking about. My grandmother was informed of his death and was told by the War Office that he had died when Hitler gave the order a week before the end of the war for all parachutists to be executed. So that is how and when we believe he died. I am naturally very proud of his bravery and his willingness to sacrifice his life for his adopted country. So we are all the more grateful that he should be remembered here.
May be an image of 1 person, monument and text that says "Dr. KURT ERICH GLAUBER 1902- In Memorium Austrian Born, Jewish, British Military Volunteer, MI6 Secret Agent, WW2. King' Commendation for Brave Conduct 1944/1945, while investigating and reporting on factories where Nazis were thought be developing nuclear weapons, he was betrayed. was harshly treated for being British Agent and Jew. laube was killed Mauthausen, Concentration Camp Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation U.K Branch AJEX"
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