Died in 1940

Jan 1 Panuganti Lakshminarasimha Rao one of the famous modern Telugu writers. He was born at SeethaNagaram, East Godavari District. Most of his education was in Rajahmundry. After his education, he became a teacher in Peddapuram High School. Later he moved to Pitahpuram as 'Asthana Kavi' for the Pitahpuram Rajah's kingdom
Jan 2 István Énekes a Hungarian boxer who competed in the 1932 Summer Olympics.
Jan 4 Flora Finch an English-born film actress who starred in over 300 silent films, including over 200 for the Vitagraph Studios film company.
Jan 5 Humbert Wolfe an Italian-born British poet, man of letters and civil servant.
Jan 6 Johann Nobis an Austrian conscientious objector.
Jan 11 Franciszek Rogaczewski a Polish Catholic priest who was arrested by the Nazis and killed at Stutthof concentration camp. He is considered a martyr, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 June 1999
Jan 12 Robert Frangeš-Mihanović an Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav sculptor. He was a pioneer of modern Croatian sculpture. He was also one of the initiators and organizers of the artistic life in Zagreb at the turn of the twentieth century
Jan 12 Nikolay Strunnikov a Russian World Champion in speed skating. In addition, he was also successful as a cyclist
Jan 12 Edward Smith (VC) an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Jan 16 Norman Bingley an English sailor and Olympic Champion for Great Britain. He competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London and won a gold medal in the 7 metre class
Jan 18 Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer a Polish poet, novelist, playwright, journalist and writer. He was a member of the Young Poland movement
Jan 20 Omar Bundy a U.S. Army general who participated in the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War in Cuba, fought in the Philippine Insurrection and the Moro Expedition, and commanded a regiment on the Mexican border. After serving in France during World War I, he was made a Commander of the French Legion of Honor
Jan 21 John Duha an American gymnast and track and field athlete who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.
Jan 21 Stanislav Redens a Soviet secret police official, one of those responsible for conducting mass repressions under Joseph Stalin. Redens was himself executed in 1940, after being arrested at the end of the Great Purge in 1938
Jan 21 Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark the son of a Hellenic king, belonging to a dynasty which mounted and lost the throne of Greece several times during his lifetime. Much of his life was spent living abroad
Jan 23 Giuseppe Motta a Swiss politician. He was a member of the Swiss Federal Council and President of the League of Nations
Jan 25 Elias Simojoki a Finnish clergyman who became a leading figure in the country's far right movement.
Jan 27 Isaac Babel a Russian language journalist, playwright, literary translator, and short story writer. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, all of which are considered masterpieces of Russian literature. Babel has also been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry". Loyal to, but not uncritical of, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Isaac Babel fell victim to Joseph Stalin's Great Purge due to his longterm affair with the wife of NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov. Babel was arrested by the NKVD at Peredelkino on the night of 15 May 1939. After confessing under interrogation to being a Trotskyist terrorist and foreign spy, Babel was shot on 27 January 1940
Jan 28 Alexander Ivanovich Uspensky a senior leader of the Cheka, the GPU and the NKVD. Uspensky was both a perpetrator and a victim of the Great Purge
Jan 29 Edward Harkness an American philanthropist.
Jan 29 Thomas Ball Barratt a British-born Norwegian pastor and founder of the Pentecostal movement in Norway.
Jan 29 Adam Zamenhof a Jewish-Polish physician known for his work on ophthalmology and was the son of Ludwik Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto. During World War II, 6 September 1939, he was head of the Starozakonnych Hospital in Warsaw, and its director. On 1 October 1939 Zamenhof was arrested and sent to the camp in Palmiry, where he was shot
Jan 29 Nedo Nadi an Italian fencer, widely regarded as one of, if not, the best ever. He is the only fencer to win a gold medal in each of the three weapons at a single Olympic Games and won the most gold medals ever at a single Games - five. Until Mark Spitz won seven swimming championships at the 1972 Summer Olympics, this was also the record number of gold medals won at a single Games by any competitor. Nadi won six Olympic gold medals in total
Jan 31 Candlemas of San José the founder of the congregation known today as the Hermanas Carmelitas de Madre Candelaria. She was beatified on April 27, 2008 at the Central University of Caracas, Venezuela by Pope Benedict XVI
Feb 1 Philip Francis Nowlan an American science fiction author, best known as the creator of Buck Rogers.
Feb 1 George de Bothezat a Bessarabian-born Russian American engineer, businessman, and pioneer of helicopter flight.
Feb 1 Heinrich von Handel-Mazzetti an Austrian botanist best known for his many publications on the flora of China and botanical explorations of that country. He was the cousin of novelist Enrica von Handel-Mazzetti
Feb 2 Vsevolod Meyerhold a Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer. His provocative experiments dealing with physical being and symbolism in an unconventional theatre setting made him one of the seminal forces in modern international theatre
Feb 2 Nikolay Kedrov Sr. a Russian composer of liturgical music. His setting of Otche Nash is one of the best-known in the repertoire
Feb 2 Mikhail Trilisser a Soviet chief of the Foreign Department of the Cheka and the OGPU. Later, he worked for the NKVD as a covert bureau chief and Comintern leader
Feb 2 Mikhail Koltsov a Soviet journalist.
Feb 2 Carl Grünberg a German Marxist philosopher. He was the first director of the Institute for Social Research, later known as the Frankfurt School. He established and edited a journal of labour and socialist history today known as Grünbergs Archiv. He retired in 1929 and left the Institute to Max Horkheimer
Feb 4 Mikhail Frinovsky responsible for setting in motion the Great Purge.
Feb 4 Nikolai Yezhov a Soviet secret police official under Joseph Stalin. He was head of the NKVD from 1936 to 1938, during the most severe period of Stalin's Great Purge. His time in charge is sometimes known as the "Yezhovshchina" , a term coined during the de-Stalinization campaign of the 1950s. After presiding over mass arrests and executions during the Great Purge, Yezhov ironically became a victim of He was arrested, confessed under torture to a range of anti-Soviet activity, and was executed in 1940. By the beginning of World War II, his status within the Soviet Union became that of a political unperson. Among art historians, he has the nickname "The Vanishing Commissar" because after his execution, his likeness was retouched out of an official press photo; he is among the best known examples of the Soviet press making someone who had fallen out of favor "disappear"
Feb 8 Karl Hermann Zahn a German botanist who was a leading authority regarding the genus Hieracium.
Feb 8 Antonio Escobar Huertas a Spanish military officer. Escobar was a catholic and a conservative. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he was a colonel of the Spanish Civil Guard in the city of Barcelona. He remained loyal to the Republican government and on 19 July with his 800 men aided decisively to the defeat of the coup in Barcelona. Later he was promoted to General, and on January 1939, he led the Republican forces in the failed Valsequillo Offensive. On 16 February 1939, he was one of the officers who said to the Prime Minister Juan Negrin that further military resistance was impossible. In March 1939, he was the commander of the Estremadura Army, supported the Casado's coup and crushed the Communist resistance in Ciudad Real. On 26 March 1939, he was captured by the Nationalists and executed on 8 February 1940 in Barcelona
Feb 9 William Dodd (ambassador) an American historian of the South. A liberal Democrat, he served as the United States Ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937 during the Nazi era. President Roosevelt, seeking peace in Europe, first ignored and then fired Dodd over his strong public denunciations of Hitler
Feb 11 J.-H. Rosny aîné Rosny aîné was the pseudonym of Joseph Henri Honoré Boex , a French author of Belgian origin who is considered one of the founding figures of modern science fiction. Born in Brussels in 1856, he wrote in the French language, together with his younger brother Séraphin Justin François Boex under the pen name J.-H. Rosny until 1909. After they ended their collaboration Joseph Boex continued to write under the name "Rosny aîné" while his brother used J.-H. Rosny jeune
Feb 11 Ellen Day Hale an American Impressionist painter and printmaker from Boston. She studied art in Paris and during her adult life lived in Paris, London and Boston. She exhibited at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy of Arts. Hale wrote the book History of Art: A Study of the Lives of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Albrecht Dürer
Feb 11 John Buchan a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the 15th since Canadian Confederation.
Feb 11 Gunnar Höckert a Finnish athlete, winner of 5000 m at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Feb 12 Philip Tomalin member of the Norse Rowing Club in Richmond, and the Carlton Cricket Club that played at Regent's park before he left for France at the age of 21. He stayed there, 60 years until 1939 and died the following year at Bognor Regis. He was the captain of the silver medal winning French cricket team at the 1900 Summer Olympics, the only time to date that cricket has featured in the Olympics. In the only match against Great Britain, he was the not out batsman in both French innings, scoring three runs in the first and six in the second. He was born in Kensington
Feb 15 Otto Toeplitz a German Jewish mathematician working in functional analysis.
Feb 15 Zelman Passov arrested. He was executed a year and a half later
Feb 16 John F. Baddeley a British traveller, scholar and journalist, best known by his works on Russia and the Caucasus region.
Feb 17 Waldemar Christofer Brøgger (geologist) a Norwegian geologist and mineralogist. His research on Permian igneous rocks of the Oslo district greatly advanced petrologic theory on the formation of rocks
Feb 18 Rudy Wiedoeft a U.S. saxophonist.
Feb 20 Ludwik Mzyk Blessed Ludwik Mzyk, SVD a priest of the Society of the Divine Word and one of the 108 Blessed Polish Martyrs beatified on June 13, 1999 by Pope John Paul II in Warsaw, Poland.
Feb 23 Karl Duncker a Gestalt psychologist. He attended Friedrich-Wilhelms-University from 1923 to 1923, spent 1925–1926 at Clark University in Worcester, MA as a visiting professor, where he received a masters in arts degree. Until 1935 he was a student and assistant of the founders of Gestalt psychology in Berlin: Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka. In 1935, exiled by the Nazis, he got an assistantship in Cambridge with Frederic Charles Bartlett and later emigrated to the USA where he was again an assistant of Wolfgang Köhler’s at Swarthmore College. He committed suicide in 1940 at 37 years of age. He had been suffering from depression for some time and had received professional treatment
Feb 25 Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria (1882–1940) a member of the Teschen branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and an Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Bohemia, Hungary, and Tuscany by birth. Through her marriage to Prince Elias of Bourbon-Parma , Maria Anna was also a member of the House of Bourbon-Parma and a Princess of Bourbon-Parma