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Dr. Oscar Hirschberg’s office signs


Dr. Hirschberg's office sign, Bromberg, 1902–1910 (Enameled sheet metal)

Oscar Hirschberg (1866–1946) was a general practitioner who had his own office in Berlin. In October 1938 he received a circular from the "commissioner for Jewish practitioners" providing instructions on the design of his office sign. According to the letter, signs were to be 30 x 25 cm in size, and the doctor’s name had to be written in black type on a "sky-blue background" together with the supplementary information "Only licensed to treat Jews." The upper left corner was to display a "lemon-yellow circle" measuring 5 cm in diameter and containing a blue Star of David. The "altitude of the triangles" was set at 3.5 cm. The circular also recommended adding the name "Israel" to the sign in order "to avoid  subsequent costs."

The licenses of the more than 3,000 Jewish doctors practicing medicine in the German Reich expired in October 1938. Starting in 1933, it had become increasingly difficult for them to earn a living from their profession due to anti-Jewish boycotts, local initiatives by professional organizations, as well as discriminatory regulations. In autumn 1938, only 709 of the doctors considered Jewish under the Reich Citizenship Law were granted special licenses to continue practicing medicine, and they were only permitted to treat Jewish patients and their own wives and children. These licenses could be revoked at any time. The Jewish practitioners were also prohibited from calling themselves "doctors," and their offices had to be identified accordingly. Doctors in "mixed marriages" were often the ones to receive special licenses.

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