Eva Kobrak

A family picture of the Kobraks, probably the wedding of Eva's parents. From the Berlin Solpersteine (commemorative stone) website

A family picture of the Kobraks, probably the wedding of Eva’s parents. From the Berlin Solpersteine (commemorative stone) website

Dr. Richard Kobrak was a lawyer after his migration from Breslau, Poland in 1927, the welfare system in the Municipality of Berlin. Dr. Kobrak, his wife Charlotte, née Stern, and his three children, Katherine Toni (born 1918), Helmut Richard (* 1920) and Eva Maria (* 1922), were Christians, but because of their origin were labelled Jews among the racial legislation of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws.

In Berlin, the family lived in the took an active part in community life and from 1935 were members, of the Confessing Church (a Protestant church in Nazi Germany that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to nazify the German Protestant church).

In 1933 Eva’s father, Dr Kobrak, lost his place in the first magistrate. Due to the Nuremberg Laws, as a classified Jew, in 1936 he was forced to take early retirement.

Dr. Kobrak was involved in organising aid for Christians of Jewish origin and directed the 1939-40 Welfare Department in “Office pastor Grueber.”

After Kristallnacht in 1938, the couple sent their three children to England, where the two daughters survived. The son was brought to Australia in 1940, and from there to Bombay. He returned to England in 1952.

The couple were sent to a room in 25 Oak Avenue 25 in Charlottenburg. Dr. Kobrak was made to take part in forced labour at Siemens-Schuckert cable works. In February 1943, Dr. Kobrak and his wife were arrested. They were initially sent to Theresienstadt. Tragically, in October 1944 both Dr and Mrs Kobrak were deported to Auschwitz, where both were murdered.

From a commemorative stone for the victims of National Socialism

From a commemorative stone for the victims of National Socialism

( Translated from http://www.stolpersteine-berlin.de/en/biografie/1351#slide-0-field_st_bild-1351 )

Eva was determined to excel in English. While teaching at Nottingham High School, she went on to take a degree at Bedford College, London. She became head of the English department at Wallington Girls’ School and, in 1964, became headmistress of Surbiton High School. She proved a distinguished headmistress who showed sympathy both for the girls and their parents. She passed on her strong Christian convictions to her pupils and gave the school an ecumenical outlook long before it was fashionable to invite Roman Catholics and Baptists to address an Anglican school.

As well as being headmistress she was a talented artist. She painted landscapes, primarily pictures of Greece and Venice, they mainly seem to be of pastels or possibly watercolours. They were mainly of buildings in Mediterranean countries. Nobody knows were the true inspiration came from for her pictures.

Jane Sutherland remembers Miss Kobrak as headmistress. She says:

‘It is very strange to see these paintings, as I remember she had some on the walls of her office. She was a wonderful person, if a little scary at times. She really encouraged me in my painting and drawing.’

Eva Kobrak died on 23rd June 1982. The History of the School Club would be really interested to hear from any former pupils of Ms Kobrak.

 

One thought on “Eva Kobrak

  1. This is so interesting.. feel so privileged to have been a pupil at SHS! (1972-83); Miss Kobrak instilled in me christian principles, morals, and the belief in the value of each individual, whatever their role in life. (She was always praising the hard work of our caretaker – Mr Crocket?? – and telling us to make his job easier by picking up litter etc!! I thank God for this incredible, warm, genuine, sincere lady who indeed made a great impact on my life in those early years.

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