Fred Forbat (1897–1972 · architect)

Forbat was born in 1897 in Pecs, Hungary. After he finished his architecture studies in Munich, the Bavarian government tried to deport him as an undesirable foreigner. However, Walter Gropius gave the talented young man a job in his Weimar studio and had him plan a “Bauhaus estate”. It was never realised, but aspects of its blueprint flowed into the construction of Haus am Horn, a home in Weimar. In 1928 Forbat became a German citizen, founded his own architecture practice and was well on his way to becoming a star architect. Martin Wagner, Berlin’s planning councillor, entrusted Forbat with the construction of 1,200 apartments in the governmental research estate Spandau-Haselhorst, among other commissions. To escape the growing anti-Semitism in Germany, Forbat, a Jew, went to the Soviet Union in 1932 to work for the state urban planning organization Standardgorprojekt. Completely disillusioned after a few months, he was unable to return to Germany after the National Socialists came to power. Forbat was also subject to anti-Semitic attacks in Hungary. After an attempt to bring him to the United States as a university lecturer failed, Sweden offered Forbat his only avenue of escape. He died in 1972 in Stockholm, where he is still honoured as an excellent urban planner.