Wilhelm Traube
Wilhelm Traube was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...



Traube was born at Ratibor (Racibórz)
Racibórz is a town in southern Poland with 60,218 inhabitants situated in the Silesian Voivodeship , previously in Katowice Voivodeship...

 in Prussian
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

, a son of the famous private scholar Moritz Traube
Moritz Traube
Moritz Traube was a German chemist and universal private scholar....


After studying law for a short time, he studied chemistry in Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

, Breslau (today Wrocław), Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. Among his tutors were August Wilhelm von Hofmann
August Wilhelm von Hofmann
August Wilhelm von Hofmann was a German chemist.-Biography:Hofmann was born at Gießen, Grand Duchy of Hesse. Not intending originally to devote himself to physical science, he first took up the study of law and philology at Göttingen. But he then turned to chemistry, and studied under Justus von...

, Adolf von Baeyer
Adolf von Baeyer
Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer was a German chemist who synthesized indigo, and was the 1905 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Born in Berlin, he initially studied mathematics and physics at Berlin University before moving to Heidelberg to study chemistry with Robert Bunsen...

 and Karl Friedrich Rammelsberg
Karl Friedrich August Rammelsberg
Karl Friedrich August Rammelsberg was a German mineralogist from Berlin, Prussia.He was educated for the medical profession and graduated in 1837 at Berlin University. In 1841 he became privatdozent in the university, and in 1845 professor extraordinary of chemistry...

. In 1888 he received his doctorate "Über die Additionsprodukte der Cyansäure". Since 1897 Traube was assistant at the Pharmakological Institute in Berlin, since 1902 assistant at the Pharmaceutical Institute and "Titularprofessor". In 1911 he became an associate professor and 1929 a full professor. Hermann Emil Fischer
Hermann Emil Fischer
Hermann Emil Fischer, Emil Fischer was a German chemist and 1902 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered the Fischer esterification. He developed the Fischer projection, a symbolic way of drawing asymmetric carbon atoms.-Early years:Fischer was born in Euskirchen, near Cologne,...

 nominated Traube to be department head at the Chemical Institute (Analytical Department) of the University in Berlin. Traube was inventive and held many patents in cellulose chemistry and salts of metal complexes.

Traube is well-known for a procedure of synthesis of caffeine. The TRAUBEsche Synthese (Traube purine synthesis) was important for the pharmacological industry. The University of Kiel
University of Kiel
The University of Kiel is a university in the city of Kiel, Germany. It was founded in 1665 as the Academia Holsatorum Chiloniensis by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and has approximately 23,000 students today...

 appointed him full professor, but he refused. Traube was a board member of the German Chemical Society and became in 1926 a member of the Leopoldina in Halle
Halle, Saxony-Anhalt
Halle is the largest city in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is also called Halle an der Saale in order to distinguish it from the town of Halle in North Rhine-Westphalia...

. Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

 (1879–1968) used an organic salt that Traube had constructed in order to detect barium
Barium is a chemical element with the symbol Ba and atomic number 56. It is the fifth element in Group 2, a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal. Barium is never found in nature in its pure form due to its reactivity with air. Its oxide is historically known as baryta but it reacts with...

 in the products of nuclear fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

Traube liked to play the piano. He was of Jewish origin but belonged to the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union.

In 1935 the Nazis
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 deprived Traube of the right to teach. His property was expropriated, and he was arrested on 11 September 1942. Traube had planned to commit suicide with cyanide before deportation, but Hahn had asked him not to do so. Traube died in prison in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 as a result of maltreatment. Otto Hahn and Walter Schoeller had knowledge of the forthcoming deportation and tried to rescue him on the same day, only with formal success, they came only hours too late. Traube is buried in Berlin's Weißensee Cemetery
Weißensee Cemetery
The Weißensee Cemetery is a Jewish cemetery located in the neighborhood of Weißensee in Berlin, Germany. It is the second largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. The cemetery covers approximately and contains approximately 115,000 graves. It was dedicated in 1880....

; there is no memorial stone.


  • Promotionsverfahren WILHELM TRAUBE (Gutachten, Lebenslauf, Dissertationsschrift, Prüfungsprotokoll, Doktorurkunde). (Archiv der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Philophische Fakultät, 1888, Littr. P, Nr. 4, Vol. 46, Bl. 1-24)
  • Personalakte des a.o. Prof. Dr. WILHELM TRAUBE (Archiv der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Philosophische Fakultät, Band 87, Bl. 1-43)
  • Personalakte des o. Prof. Dr. WILHELM TRAUBE (Archiv der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Philosophische Fakultät, Band 87, Bl. 1-10)
  • Henrik Franke: MORITZ TRAUBE (1826–1894) - Leben und Wirken des universellen Privatgelehrten und Wegbereiters der physiologischen Chemie. Med. Dissertation 1994, Universitätsbibliothek der Humboldt-Universität Berlin Signatur 94 HB 1449.
  • Henrik Franke: Moritz Traube (1826–1894) Vom Weinkaufmann zum Akademiemitglied "Studien und Quellen zur Geschichte der Chemie" Band 9 Verlag für Wissenschafts- und Regionalgeschichte Dr. Michael Engel, ISBN 3-929134-21-7-->

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