The beginning of the end of German Jewry


< 1 APRIL 1933
1 APRIL 1933 >

1 April 1933

Letter banning Ernst Rosenthal from work

Dr. Ernst Rosenthal (1898–1971), a Chemnitz ophthalmologist, received this letter on 1 April—probably immediately after arriving for work at the Zimmermann Sanatorium. Written by the sanatorium‘s chief physician, Dr. Wittkugel, the politely phrased letter unambiguously informed Rosenthal that he was banned for the day from entering the clinic and treating patients.

It is unlikely that Dr. Rosenthal anticipated the ban. Although a nationwide boycott of Jewish stores, doctor‘s practices, law firms and notary offices had been announced throughout Germany on 30 March, there had been no mention of work performed by Jewish doctors in hospitals.

Ernst Rosenthal was born in the Westphalian town of Rietberg in 1898 and received his license to practice medicine in Munich in 1925. In 1928 he took over the practice of a deceased ophthalmologist in Chemnitz and began treating patients in Königstrasse in the center of town. His office hours were weekdays from 9:30 am to 1 pm and 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm, and Saturdays from 10:30 am to 2 pm. He also worked at the Zimmermann Sanatorium but treated only private patients there.

The chief physician had evidently been put under pressure by the Defense Committee of the NSDAP to ban Dr. Rosenthal from entering the clinic. Whether the boycott also affected Dr. Rosenthal‘s practice, we do not know. The ban applied only to 1 April, but it marked the start of a long period of discrimination and persecution.

Aubrey Pomerance

Categorie(s): boycott | Chemnitz | physicians
Letter banning Ernst Rosenthal from work, Chemnitz, 1 April 1933
Gift of Karin and Steve Rosenthal