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Officer Cadet School | Josef Kolbe

Officer Cadet School

From 1888 to 1892 Josef Kolbe attended the Infantry Officer Cadet School in Temesvár, in the Banat region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The region was incorporated into Romania at the end of the First World War and the town is now known as Timişoara.

Temesvár, c1890

Temesvár fortress c1890
9. Officer Cadet School
Bécsi kapu = Vienna gate

Vienna gate, outer view

Vienna gate, inner view

Josef Kolbe and Alfred Then, 1889

Josef Kolbe and
Alfred Then, 1889

Josef Kolbe 1890-1891 marksmanship lanyard

Josef Kolbe 1890-1891
marksmanship lanyard


According to Dr. Ioan Hateganu, it was deemed necessary to build a cadet school in Temesvár because of the town’s strategic location. From 1902 to 1903 a fine three storey building in the classical style was erected in park land next to the Vienna gate, not far from the three barracks. It had an imposing facade, an elegant, ornamented roof and was surrounded by a wall decorated with wrought iron in the Temesvár fashion. It contained the cadets’ classrooms and dormitories and also a number of facilities. Under communism it was transformed into the New Clinics, later renamed the municipal hospital.

This was not, however, the building in which Josef Kolbe received his training. His school was built in 1869, initially to accommodate two academic years, rising to four in 1875. In the interwar years it became the Romanian Artillery Cadet School, remaining much the same as he had known it, though a number of annexes were added on the land gained following the demolition of the fortress walls and gates. It is likely that Josef Kolbe’s school was housed in the older building referred to by Dr. Ioan Hateganu that stands in the courtyard.


Officer Cadet School, built 1902
Temesvár leírása by József Bellai

Clinicile Noi,
Photo: Adrian Piclisan, c1960

New Clinics, Photo: Flavius Patruti, 2007
1869 building on left? - 1902 building centre

Municipal Hospital, 2011
Google Maps

On the 40th anniversary of his year’s graduation, Josef Kolbe decided to organise a reunion for his fellow officer cadets.  It took place on 17 and 18 September 1932 in Vienna and, out of a class of 32, twelve attended.  Not only did he take it upon himself to contact all his former classmates, find a venue for two days and organise the proceedings, he also persuaded his fellow officers to contribute a narrative of their life in the intervening years.  He typed out each report, some a paragraph long and others running to several pages, adding a few words about the school and their school days, and collated them in a stylish booklet, a copy of which each received.  (This document has been invaluable for my research into his life and times.  The War Archives in Vienna have had a copy since 2009.)  An album with old and new photos of the cadets, the school and the town of Temesvár was passed round during the reunion, which has unfortunately not survived.

Temesvár Infantry Officer Cadet School class of 1892
Klassenkamaraden 3

* attended the 1932 reunion
§ based on conflicting information, discrepancies likely

Standing left to right:
Adolf Becker
Josef Kolbe
Georg Ornauer
Alexander Birtha
Franz Scheiber
Adolf Zimmer

Officer Cadet School, Temesvár
Class of 1892 at 40th anniversary reunion, 1932

Seated, left to right:
Geza Balcz
Franz Hackl (Ferencz Baltai)
Anton von Macasy
Colomann Ottovay
Viktor Reiber
Richard Hauser
Hungarian Electronic Library: http://mek.oszk.hu
Austrian Timişoara: http://art-historia.blogspot.fr/2010/11/timisoara-austriaca.html
Magyarország Vármegyéi és Városai: Temesvár, Dr. Samu Borovszky
Neue Kliniken
, Dr. Ioan Hateganu
Klein Wien
, Else von Schuster: http://fr.scribd.com/doc/71623410/Else-Von-Schuster-Timisoara-Mica-Viena-de-alta-data
40-jährige Ausmusterung
, Josef Kolbe, 1932 (details available on request)