Hermann Senftleben

8th April 1890 to 1975

Hermann Senftleben, signature, University of Breslau 1932

Physicist Herman Senftleben studied at the University of Breslau, receiving his doctorate (‘Über die Zahl der Emissionszentren der in Flammen leuchtenden Metalldämpfe und die Beziehungen dieser Zahl zur Helligkeit der ausgesandten Spektrallinien’) under the supervision of Rudolf Ladenburg and Otto Lummer.

Senftleben gained a post at Breslau (working with Carl Hintze, Arnold Eucken, Otto Lummer) in 1924; he was also a private lecturer at Marburg, where he worked with Clemens Schaefer. The American Institute of Physics website holds a photograph of Senftleben on a physics department day out at Zobten with Hedwig Kohn and Clemens Schaefer, among others.


In the period under examination here, when my father was studying at the University of Breslau, Senftleben’s address is listed in the handbook for 1930-1931, as follows. Lothringer Straße can be seen in the map extract below.

Hermann Senftleben, University of Breslau 1930-1931
Lothringer Straße, Breslau 1931 Source: fotopolska.eu

The same handbook tells us that Professor Senftleben worked at the Physics Institute, which was then part of the Institute for natural science and medicine, where he was an assistant (Oberassistent). As can be seen in the extract below, he taught Practical physics for beginners, together with Drs Bergmann and Kohn, on Wednesdays 3pm to 6pm, and Sundays from 9am to 12pm; Practical physics for medicine, pharmacists and famers, together with Drs Bergamn and Kohn, on Tuesdays from 3pm to 6pm; and Practical physics for advanced students, together with Professor Dr Steubing and Drs Bergmann and Kohn, daily, full-time.

Hermann Senftleben, University of Breslau handbook, 1930

Senftleben does not appear in the 1935-1936 handbook for the University of Breslau, because from 1935 until his retirement in 1958, he moved institutions and was a professor at the University of Münster. As he continued to teach at a German university, he would have sworn the Oath of Loyalty to the German Reich from around 1933. He carried out research from 1946 to 1961 as an employee of the chemical works Hüls in Marl.


All black and white extracts on this page are from the 'Vorlesungs und Personal Verzeichnis der Schlesischen Friedrich Wilhelms Universität zu Breslau Winter Semester 1930/1931', and the equivalent handbook for 1935-1936, available online at the University of Wrocław.

The map extract is from the excellent fotopolska.eu.