27 July 1933
Letter from Rudolf Rülf to the Reich labor minister
In the first paragraph of his letter Rülf emphasizes his family’s long residence in Germany. He then describes his military career in great detail: After being turned down as a volunteer, he was finally drafted in November 1914 and served until December 1918. During the final weeks of fighting he worked in field hospitals in northern France. Rülf notes that this qualified him as a “frontline soldier” and that the relevant provision in the law was thus applicable in his case.
The Reich Labor Ministry rejected his appeal and informed him that his military service could not be regarded as “activity on the front that sufficiently compensates for your non-Aryan descent.” This decision amounted to an occupational ban for Rülf. Together with his family he immigrated to Palestine in 1934, taking the furnishings of his dentist’s office and his dental equipment with him.
Dr. Rudolf Rülf
Wolfenbüttel, 27 July 1933
To the Reich Labor Minister
Association of German Physicians
According to the notification that reached me on 15 July this year, the Braunschweig Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians has revoked my license to work for the statutory health insurance scheme, claiming that I was unable to prove that I served on the front for the required time.
I would like to appeal this decision for the following reasons:
I was born in Braunschweig on 21 August 1890. My father was the chief rabbi in Braunschweig for thirty-three years. Records show that my father’s family lived in Kurhessen for at least 130 years.
I enlisted as a volunteer in Würzburg in August 1914 but received a deferral due to general physical weakness. On 20 November 1914 I was conscripted as a reservist. Since I was not deemed fit for active duty—I have suffered from a kidney ailment since childhood—I was assigned to work as a hospital attendant. At my request, I received weapons training for a time, but was then assigned to work in a hospital in Germany after all. It was not until 11 October 1918 that I was transferred to Reserve Field Hospital 38 at the front. Since I could not immediately find RFH 38, I went to RFH 37 in Prisches near Landrecies and served there. At that time, the hospital had to be withdrawn due to heavy shelling while the front was being shifted back. On 19 October I located RFL 38 but since it
was not in operation, I was immediately commanded to return to RFH 37, which had now been deployed to St. Hilaire sur Helpe near Avesnes. I worked in the surgical ward (under Captain Kroh of the medical corps) until 5 November. Afterward I returned to RFH 38. During the retreat to the Antwerp-Maas Line, this field hospital continued to be deployed in the days leading up to the armistice, specifically as a casualty collection point.
The following battles are listed in my military passport (see enclosure) as ones in which I took part:
9 October–4 November 1918: Fighting before and at the Hermann Line (south of Le Cateau)
5 November–11 November 1918: Fighting during the retreat to the Antwerp-Maas Line
12 November–20 December 1918: Evacuation of the occupied territory and march home.
I have requested information from the Reich Archive in Potsdam confirming that the field hospitals were located at the front during this period, but I have yet to receive this information due to the heavy volume of work facing the archive (see enclosed card).
As preliminary evidence I am enclosing a certificate from the chief medical officer of RFH 37, Dr. Strecker, now a retired lieutenant-colonel of the reserves, who is currently living in Hanover.
This information should prove that I have performed military service at the front. To my knowledge, the statutory regulations do not stipulate a specific period of service. Rather, section 3 of the decree dated 6 April 1933, Reich Law Gazette I, page 247, paragraph 1, states that “according to the law a frontline soldier is one who during the World War between 1 August 1914 and 12 December 1918 took part in a battle, military action, trench warfare or a siege as a member of the combat troops.”
I would therefore ask you to confirm that section 2, paragraph 1, of the Regulation on the Work of Dentists and Dental Technicians for the Statutory Health Insurance Scheme is applicable to me and to reverse the decision of the Braunschweig Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.