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Special Communication
September 2013

Dermatologic Relationships Between the United States and German-Speaking CountriesPart 2—The Exodus of Jewish Dermatologists

Author Affiliations
  • 1Retired
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(9):1090-1094. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5023

The rise to power of the National Socialist (Nazi) party led by Adolf Hitler and the subsequent tumultuous 12 years of their rule in Germany resulted in catastrophes including World War II, the most destructive war ever, and the premeditated and systematic murder of 5 to 6 million European Jews. Despite their notable contributions to the academic excellence that existed in German-speaking countries at that time, Jewish physicians were particularly vulnerable to persecution and death. Between 1933 and 1938, a series of repressive measures eliminated them from the practice of medicine in Germany and other countries. Although some died in concentration camps and others committed suicide, many were able to emigrate from Europe. Dermatology in the United States particularly benefited from the influx of several stellar Jewish dermatologists who were major contributors to the subsequent flowering of academic dermatology in the United States. A number of representative biographies of these immigrants are briefly recounted to illustrate their lasting influence on our specialty.