Names and backgrounds of personalities at the Charité during the 1933 to 1945 period

On the following pages we present personalities who were murdered or suffered expulsion from the Charité during the National Socialist period. It is in their memory that we now introduce you to their achievements and contributions to the Charité.

Exclusion and Forced Displacement at the Charité: Persecuted Colleagues 1933 - 1945

Since Mendelssohn and Lessing, Berlin had been a city characterized by liberal teachings, in which the presence of Jewish doctors was greater than anywhere else in the territory of the German Reich. In 1933 the percentage of Jews accounted for just 1 % of the total German population. In Berlin, the Jewish population amounted to less than 4 % and yet, within the Berlin Health Service, the number of serving Jewish physicians totaled almost 50%. These doctors tended to be politically conservative in outlook with a strong sense of national identity. Many had served in the First World War and had been decorated for their duties on the front lines. Despite this, it remained extremely difficult for Jewish doctors to become civil servants and full time university tutors. But beyond the realms of university life, there were a great number of Jewish medical colleagues who served as licensed habilitated tutors, private lecturers (PD) and professors (ao) who were affiliated to the Berlin Medical Faculty. These physicians formed half of the medical faculty teaching staff.

Persecution of Jewish colleagues began long before 1933. National(social)ist students were increasingly supported by the main student body and this made it progressively impossible for Jewish professors to continue to teach. In addition, directors and heads of institutes were content to issue dismissals for Jewish staff on the 31st of March 1933, before the racial laws came into effect and no concerns regarding the government’s racial policies can be found in faculty protocols. On the contrary, the majority of faculty superiors were quite keen to demonstrate their “loyalty” by issuing dismissals as soon as possible. Following this, teaching licenses were revoked and university professors were thus eliminated from the academic staff body.

These were just the first steps towards persecution and extermination of professional existence. Medical unions were also quick to respond to contemporary political views, promptly removing „Jews and Marxists” from their boards and committees. On the 22nd of April 1933 the "activity of non-Aryan physicians and doctors considered to be involved in communist activities” was also prohibited. This meant that doctors who had previously been discharged from hospitals and institutes were no longer able to treat patients in established practices. Cooperation with "Aryan" doctors (practice stand-ins, referrals, etc.) was also forbidden. By the summer of 1933 other part time Jewish university staff, including scientific researchers and chief consultants based at other hospitals were also dismissed. The annulment of medical licences followed. Soon after this, physical persecution began and late attempts at emigration were often unsuccessful. Those who did not wish to emigrate or who were not in a position to leave Germany were deported and in many cases these persons were murdered in death camps.

The list of excluded and evicted Charité colleagues depicted on these columns is based on information pertaining to university lecturers (>160) and a small number of assistants and other employees (<30). These persons were either members of the university medical faculty or Charité associates who were persecuted for racial or political reasons. The list is based on current knowledge from available sources. Information pertaining to assistants and other Charité employees and the large number of ex-matriculated students is still missing. The Charité must strive to investigate the fates of these persons in the near future. The limited number of women whose names are listed on these columns reflects the restricted career opportunities that were available to women at the time. In addition there are large gaps in the available information concerning the fates of listed professors, in many cases not even the date of death is known.

(Text: Udo Schagen, 2013)