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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)

Please note:

Criteria by which persons were selected for this list are as follows: Persons who were members of the academic staff body of the medical faculty and Persons who in 1933 had an employment contract with a Charité institute or clinic. It is for this reason that persons who experienced similar fates to those listed may appear to be missing from the list. A prominent example of such a person is Rahel Hirsch (1870-1953), who left the Charité in 1919.

For persons listed the following information is provided: Name, forename, date of birth, date and place of death, job position, medical discipline, associated hospital institute or medical clinic, date and reason for dismissal, details regarding later life events according to knowledge available. Question marks in the text imply that relevant information is missing. Unless otherwise stated, the paragraph symbols §§ refer to the legal document entitled "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" that was enacted on the 7th of April 1933.

Please address any further queries to: Udo Schagen

§ 3: Teaching license revoked due to "non-Aryan" heritage
§ 4: Teaching license revoked due to "political unreliability"
§ 4 RBG: Teaching license revoked according to § 4 1 by ordinance of the “Reich Citizenship Law”. 1935 (revocation of citizenship)
§ 6: Dismissal according to § 6 "for purposes of administrative simplification", abolishment of permanent posts.
§ 18 RHO: Teaching license

University lecturers from the Berlin Medical Faculty who committed suicide or who were killed as a direct consequence of the Nazi extermination policy

  • Abraham Buschke (1868 - 1943), Associate Professor. Buschke was Professor for Dermatology and Head of the Rudolf-Virchow-Hospital. In 1934 following his dismissal, Buschke’s teaching licence was revoked. An employment ban followed and he and his wife were subsequently deported to Theresienstadt where he died.
  • Ferdinand Blumenthal (1870 - 1941), Consultant and Associate Professor. Blumenthal was Professor at the I. Medical University Hospital and Director of the Institute for Cancer Reserach. He emigrated via Belgrade, Tirana and Tallinn to the Soviet Union. He was killed during a German air-raid.
  • Paul Fraenckel (1874 - 1941). Fraenckel was the successor of Fritz Strassmann and served as head of the Department of Legal Medicine. He poisoned himself shortly before the enactment of the regulation that made wearing a yellow Jewish star (Judenstern) compulsory.
  • Richard Freund (1878 - 1942), Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the Charité-Gynaecological Clinic. Freund committed suicide in Berlin after the onset of deportation. His teaching licence had long since been revoked and an employment ban imposed.
  • Hans Friedenthal (1870 - 1942), Professor of Physiology and Anthropology. Friedenthal committed suicide in 1933 after his teaching licence was revoked and before deportation commenced.
  • Georg Groscurth (1904 - 1944), Associate Professor and Head of the Polyclinic of the IV. Medical University Clinic in Berlin-Moabit. According to available knowledge, Groscurth was the only non-Jewish member of the medical faculty who was a member of an organized resistance group. He was executed on the 8th May 1944 in the Brandenburg penitentiary.
  • Ernst Herzfeld (1880 - 1944), Professor of Internal Medicine at the III. Medical University Hospital. After his teaching licence was revoked in 1935, Herzfeld was deported to Terezin in May 1943 and was subsequently murdered in Auschwitz.
  • Emil Heymann (1878 -1936), Professor of Surgery and Head of the Department of Surgery at the Augusta Hospital in Berlin. Heymann’s teaching licence was revoked on the 19th of October 1935, he committed suicide in Berlin on the 11th of January 1936.
  • Hans Hirschfeld (1873 - 1944), Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Department of Histology and Haematology at the Institute for Cancer Research, Charité. After his teaching licence was revoked, Hirschfeld emigrated to Argentina in 1934, however he returned to Germany. On the 30th of October 1942 he and his wife were deported to Theresienstadt where they died.
  • Eugene Joseph (1879 - 1933), Professor and Head of the Department of Urological Surgery at the the University Surgical Clinic. After his teaching licence was revoked and he was dismissed and having previously brought his family to safety in Switzerland, Joseph shot himself in his Berlin apartment on Christmas Eve 1933.
  • Arthur Kronfeld (1886 -1941), first Associate Professor with psychotherapeutic skills, Professor of Psychiatry at the Charité, private practice owner, co-founder of the Institute for Sexual Science, politically active for the SPD. After his licence was revoked in 1935, Kronfeld emigrated to the Soviet Union via Switzerland. In 1937 he became the Director of the Department of Experimental Pathology and Psychoses Therapy in Moscow. He and his wife committed suicide after the start of the German offensive on Moscow.
  • Heinz Kronthal (1906 - 1942?), employee at the Institute for Pathology. Kronthal was dismissed in 1933 and deported to Auschwitz in 1942.
    Leopold Langstein (1867 - 1933), Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Empress Augusta Victoria Hospital and President of the Imperial Institute for the Prevention of Infant and Child Mortality in Berlin. Stein suffered from a cardiac arrest and died just before his dismissal from office.
  • Konrad Lipschitz (1878 - 1935), Chief Assistant at the Prosthodontics Institute, Head of Technical Propedeutic Courses. Lipschitz shot himself in his apartment on the 1st of October 1935.
  • Arthur Nicolaier (1862 - 1942), Professor of Internal Medicine, discoverer of the Tetanus Bacillus pathogen. Nicolaier committed suicide after being threatened with deportation.
  • Ludwig Pick (1868 - 1944), Professor of Pathology, Director of the Pathological Institute at Friedrichshain Hospital. Pick was deported to Theresienstadt where he died.
  • Arthur Simons (1877 - 1921), Professor of Neurology. Simons was "deported to the East" and subsequently went missing in Tallinn.
  • Hermann Strauss (1868 -1944), Professor of Internal Medicine, Director of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Jewish Community Hospital in Berlin. Strauss was deported to Theresienstadt where he died.
  • László Wámoscher (1901 - 1934), World War I volunteer corps member, Professor of Hygiene and Bacteriology at the University Institute of Hygiene. After being compelled to take forced leave, László poisoned himself after his request for additional leave in Switzerland was refused.