With the development of medical specialties beginning in the 1860’s, physicians could devote their time to the study of specific organ systems or surgical approaches. Although Jews had been given full rights in the new Germany by 1871, prejudice and other restrictions often precluded hospital and university appointments. Major specialities like internal medicine and surgery were almost closed to Jews, as were obstetrics and gynecology. Dermatology with its heavy emphasis on sexually transmitted diseases evolved into a suitable domain for Jewish physicians almost by default. Even those Jews who converted to Christianity were not spared from discrimination. Paul Gerson Unna (1850-1929), a non-practicing Jew, established his own institute for these reasons to compensate for not achieving a university appointment. Numerous Jewish physicians served in the Kaiser’s army during World War I; this was the first chance for Jews to become officers and many distinguished themselves on the battlefield.
Recommended CitationBurgdorf, Walter H.C. and Parish, Lawrence Charles, "Jewish dermatologists in Nazi Germany." (2014). Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 118.