Theo Fitzau

10/2/1923 - 18/3/1982

Record updated 10-Feb-23

Generally a Formula Two racer, he participated in one World Championship Grand Prix, the 1953 German Grand Prix, driving an AFM owned by fellow driver Helmut Niedermayr. He retired from the race.

Theo Fitzau
The picture above is from when he was pallbearer at Paul Greifzu's funeral. I think it is Edgar Barth standing behind him.

Theodor Fitzau was born in Köthen, Germany (later East Germany).

I understand that he was a soap maker by trade and seems to have entered the sport in 1949 taking over the BMW 328 Weber-Eigenbau (EMW) from Arthur Rosenhammer with this he took 4th at the Stadtparkrennen Leipzig and second at Halle-Saale Schleife in 1950, both in his native East Germany.

He then acquired the ARO-Veritas and when the rivalry between East and West German moved onto the tracks in 1951 with the Rennkollektiv, the DDR state racing team competing with the West on European circuits. Fitzau joined the Rennkollektiv as team mate to Rosenhammer.

Early in the season at Halle in a combined Formula 2 and sports cars race, Fitzau drove a DRS-Veritas into third place. Apparently these three letters stood for Der rasende Seifensieder (The Speeding Soap Box) due to his occupation!.

At the first big race of '51 at the Nürburgring Rosenhammer managed to qualify for the front row of the grid in the 2-litre sports car race. But neither Rosenhammer nor Fitzau appear in the results. The first round had ended in favour of Veritas and West Germany.

At Avus the East-West battle entered its second stage. The huge entry list contained nearly all of the German top drivers and quite a number of streamlined cars had been developed especially for this high-speed track.

Rudi Fischer from Switzerland had brought his V12 Ferrari, Stirling Moss and Lance Macklin represented Great Britain in the HWM team, and there were three neat little Gordinis, which would of course suffer a little on this fast circuit due to their engine lacking 500cc in capacity.

Also the Rennkollektiv had developed a streamlined version of the car, which was given to Rosenhammer, while Fitzau and Ortschitt had to be content with standard models. The race however was surprisingly won by the East German privateer Paul Greifzu. Fitzau crossed the finish line four laps down on the winner in 11th place. Fitzau was an entrepreneur and never came to terms with the idea of communism.

As a result he did not return from a trip to Rastatt in West Germany at the end of 1952, one of a number of East German drivers committing the crime of Republikflucht (escaping from the GDR). The East German press made jokes about Fitzau starving in the West as he seemingly had expected to get a Mercedes works drive the following year.

In 1952 he drove in the German F3 (500cc)Chamionship in WGW and later in the year a Cooper. In 1953 he raced an old AFM-BMW (50-3), entered by Helmut Niedermayr, as a DDR citizen even though he was then living in the West, in the German Grand Prix. He did not finish. Fitzau died in 1982 in Gross-Gerau, West Germany of natural causes.