Arthur Nicolaier

Arthur Nicolaier | © Tim Ohnhäuser; Familienarchiv Blumenthal, London

Arthur Nicolaier | © Tim Ohnhäuser; Familienarchiv Blumenthal, London

Arthur Nicolaier (Cosel / Upper Silesia 1862 - 1942, Berlin). As a 22 year old medical student Nicolaier discovered the Clostridium Tetani pathogen, the causative agent of tetanus, which is known in English as Nicolaier's Bacillus and in French as Bacille de Nicolaier.

From 1901 he worked in Berlin as an Associate Professor at the University Department of Medicine. In collaboration with Schering he developed the urinary tract disinfectant, Urotropin and was involved in the development of the anti-inflammatory drug Atophan. Both substances have been successfully used to treat patients for decades. In 1933, the newly enforced racial laws meant that he had to give up his position. Due to his age, he did not emigrate. On 28 August 1942, he received the letter informing him that he was scheduled for the next "age transport" ("Alterstransport") to Theresienstadt concentration camp.

On the same day he settled all his outstanding bureaucratic affairs and on the 29th of August 1942 he died of a morphine overdose. His farewell letter contains only one sentence: "I depart voluntarily from this life". The letter was later found to contain a hidden message. A watermark on the letter reads: INVICTUS - Latin for unconquered.

(Text: Udo Schagen, 2013)

Found to...

Farewell letter Arthur Nicolaier | © E. Wagner, Bad Pyrmont

Farewell letter Arthur Nicolaier | © E. Wagner, Bad Pyrmont

Farewell letter Arthur Nicolaier | © E. Wagner, Bad Pyrmont

Farewell letter Arthur Nicolaier | © E. Wagner, Bad Pyrmont

(Please click for an enlarged view!)