K.B. Hopfinger
Titles by the Author
K.B. Hopfinger
Kurt Bernard Hopfinger was born on February 8, 1921 in Drohobyc, Southern Poland. His father, Bernhard Hopfinger was a Polish army officer stationed in Vienna, where he met his wife Bertha. After the couple married they lived in Drohobyc, but Bertha never really settled in the provincial Polish town and the family eventually went back to Vienna after the birth of Kurt’s younger brother in 1926. In Vienna Kurt attended school and from the age of 14 he spent his holidays working at factories for automotive manufacturers, Graef and Stift. Motorcars were always his greatest interest. When he left school he enrolled at the technical college in Vienna to study mechanical engineering.

In 1937, after the annexation of Austria by Germany the family became stateless, as Bernhard had never applied for Austrian citizenship. In December of 1938, with the political situation in Austria becoming ever more dangerous, Kurt, then just 17 years old and his 14 year old brother were sent to England with the Red Cross Kindertransport. When the two boys arrived in England they were sent to Coventry where the Cathedral arranged for them to be cared for by kind local families.

With his younger brother settled in Coventry, Kurt joined the British Merchant Navy and by the time war broke out, was fifth officer. At this time, the Merchant Navy was amalgamated with the Royal Navy which did not accept non-British citizens. Determined to play his part in the war, Kurt took the only course available to him and joined the Pioneer Corp of the British Army. He was sent to France with the British Expeditionary force and when France fell, he escaped from Dunkirk to England with other survivors.

Still in the Army, Kurt furthered his engineering studies and was transferred to the Royal Engineers regiment, which became R.E.M.E. There he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant before becoming Acting Captain. An injury led to his departure from the Army and he became Liason Officer for the American forces and assisted with the preparation for the D-Day Landings.

He married his wife Edith in 1943. Since no more work was available for him in the Army, he started work with Girling, the brake manufacturer, as a research and development engineer, where he remained for about two years. He then made the decision to set up his own business as a Consulting Engineer, and during the remainder of his life worked in the motor industry with many of the large motor manufacturers.

As he was both bi-lingual and an engineer, Kurt began, at this time to write motoring reports and articles for various publications both in Britain and Europe. After the war, when travel once again became possible he visited the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg in his capacity as a journalist. He met both Professor Nordhoff and Ferdinand Porsche and was inspired to write Beyond Expectation.

Right up until his death, Kurt wrote for the Frankfurter Allegemeine Newspaper and his articles were syndicated to many other German newspapers and motoring journals. After Beyond Expectation was published, he also wrote The Boys Book of Motors, which was part of a series of informative books for children. In addition he worked with colleagues to compile a technical French-German-English dictionary.

Sadly on June 29, 1977 he suffered a heart attack and died at age 56. He is survived by his wife Edith, a son Peter who works as a Research and Development Engineer with BMW in Munich, a daughter Caroline and three grandchildren.