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Adversity the mother of innovation

Intellectuals plan a housing project in the USA for unemployed Jewish physicians

"You know that as of October 1st, all of us will no longer be doctors; German medical licenses have been revoked for all those of our faith. Of course, there are many who won't know how to make a living and won't be able to continue living here."


The existential crisis of Jewish doctors in Germany, which had passed through various stages (exclusion from public service and health insurance funds, prohibition of cooperation between Jewish and “Aryan” physicians, etc.) escalated with the employment ban in July 1938 and required a creative approach. On August 25th, Dr. Felix Pinkus, a renowned Berlin dermatologist, wrote to his friend, Dr. Sulzberger, in America, in order to win him over as a fellow campaigner in an aid project. The sociologist and national economist Franz Oppenheimer had come to the idea of establishing a kind of residential colony for former doctors from Germany. The funding for this would be covered by contributions from American-Jewish doctors. According to Oppenheimer’s calculations, roughly 1,000 physicians would use this remedy. (Dr. Pinkus estimated that it was closer to 3,000).




Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin


Felix Pinkus Family Collection, AR 25456


Box 1, folder 41


on the days before