Walter Gerlach
Historical Figure
Nationality: Germany (born in Prussia)
Date of Birth: 1889
Date of Death: 1979
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Occupation: Physicist, educator
Professional Affiliations: Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main
Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen
Military Branch: Imperial German Army (World War I)
Fictional Appearances:
The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Direct (unnamed)
Date of Death: 1947
Cause of Death: Shot to death

Walter Gerlach (1 August 1889 - 10 August 1979) was a German physicist who co-discovered space quantization in a magnetic field, the Stern-Gerlach effect. He served in World War I as a soldier. During World War II, he officially became head of the physics section of the Reichsforschungsrat and Bevollmächtigter of nuclear physics. After the war, he was detained by the Allied Forces, and then returned to academia.

Walter Gerlach in The Man With the Iron Heart[]

Walter Gerlach (1889-1947) was one of several scientists captured by the German Freedom Front in 1946.[1] It had been Reinhard Heydrich's hope that the scientists might build the GFF an atomic bomb. Karl Wirtz disabused Heydrich of that notion.[2]

Nonetheless, Gerlach and his fellows were held in the underground Alpine Redoubt until 1947. When American forces arrived, Heydrich escaped, and ordered Gerlach and several other scientists killed.[3]

Literary Comment[]

Gerlach isn't specifically named in the text, but there are several references to the group of ten scientists. There is no reason to think that the Point of Divergence somehow changed the composition of the group.


  1. The Man With the Iron Heart, pg. 202-204.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 227-228.
  3. Ibid., pg. 467.