• Germany's news in English

102-year old finally earns Nazi-denied doctorate

DPA/The Local · 5 Jun 2015, 11:20

Published: 05 Jun 2015 11:20 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport worked as a junior doctor in a Israeli hospital in Hamburg during the 1930s.

She finished her written dissertation on Diphtheria in 1937/8, but the Nazi authorities stopped her from taking the oral exam required to fully complete the qualification, just because she was Jewish.

But after 77 years the long wait for Syllm-Rapoport is nearly over. In May she finally took the oral exam in its modern format at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic, and will receive her long-awaited doctorate certificate on June 9th.

"We can completely undo the past injustices with this belated doctorate, but at universities and schools we can contribute to dealing with the darkest chapter of German history," said the Dean of the medicine faculty Prof. Uwe Koch-Gromus.

"For me personally it's not really important anymore, but it does have symbolic meaning," Syllm-Rapoport told Tagesspiegel. She will become the oldest person in the world to be awarded a doctorate.

Syllm-Rapoport with her husband in 2004. Photo: DPA

Syllm-Ropoport moved to the USA after being denied the doctorate the first time around .

But she and her husband felt threatened as well-known communists in the hyper-paranoid McCarthy era and decided to move back to Europe and settle in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, Communist East Germany).

After returning from her exile in 1952, she worked for years as senior professor of neonatology (specializing in newborn infants) at Charité hospital in East Berlin.

Story continues below…

In her view, the GDR was not reducible to the caricature of a police state that's remained in the popular imagination.

"There was an unbelievable feeling of comradeship. It was really moving," she said.

She may have lost her husband 11 years ago, but said that she still had a "lust for life" at the age of 102.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Supermarket Edeka warns of exploding apple juice bottles
Photo: DPA

"Risk of injury" from "Gut und Günstig" sparkling apple juice bottles has forced Germany's largest supermarket to recall the product.

By wheelchair from Syria to Germany: teen's story of hope
Nujeen Mustafa. Photo: HarperCollins-William Collins Publicity/Private

She tackled the gruelling 2,000-kilometre migrant trail in a wheelchair, translating along the way for other refugees using English she learned from a US soap opera. Now this teen is living in Germany and hoping to inspire others with a newly published memoir.

Berlin Zoo to have a pair of pandas by next summer
A recently born panda pair at Vienna Zoo. Photo: DPA

The giant bamboo-eating bears will move into a brand new 5,000 square-metre enclosure in the capital's Zoologischer Garten.

Two new spider species discovered in Munich
Zoropsis spinimana. Photo: rankingranqueen / Wikimedia Commons

It's news every arachnophobe in Munich is no doubt thrilled to hear: two types of spider new to the region have been discovered in the Bavarian capital - and one of them bites!

After woman's body found in barrel, husband may walk free
Franziska S., who went missing 24 years ago. Photo: Hanover police.

A woman disappeared in Hanover 24 years ago, but no one reported her missing. Although her husband has now confessed to her murder, he still may not step foot in jail.

Two injured after army tank falls 50 metres in Alps
A Bundeswehr Puma tank. File photo: DPA

A Bundeswehr (German army) soldier has been severely injured after the tank he was riding in crashed 50 metres down an embankment after going off course in bad weather.

Teen girl stands trial for 'Isis' police stabbing in Hanover
Police guard the courthouse in Celle. Photo: DPA

A teenage girl stands trial from Thursday in Germany for stabbing a police officer, an assault allegedly "ordered" by Isis but which was not claimed by the jihadist group.

Merkel threatens Putin with more sanctions on Berlin visit
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel created a united front with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin on Thursday to denounce Russia’s “war crimes” in Syria.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd