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Second opinion

An intentional misdiagnosis remedied

“It is therefore mystifying how a previous examiner could reach the assumption of a tuberculous lung disease in this perfectly healthy young person.”


Months after leaving Germany, 12-year old Herbert Friedmann (later Freeman) was still in Zurich waiting to reunite with his family already in the USA. Because of the previous, apparently intentional, misdiagnosis at the US consulate in Stuttgart stating that the boy was a “carrier of tuberculosis,” he had not been able to immigrate with his mother and brother. Finally, on February 2, 1938 a local physician attested to the boy’s “significantly above average” state of health, ascribing the previous diagnosis to an error. Ironically, the physician who issued this critical medical certificate was Dr. Ernst Hanhart, a geneticist and eugenicist who during the Nazi period published extensively on “racial hygiene” and wrote articles in support of the forced sterilization of deaf-mutes.



Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin


Herbert Freeman Family Collection, AR 25346


Box 1, folder 7


on the days before