The beginning of the end of German Jewry


< 24 JUNE 1933
29 JUNE 1933 >

25 June 1933

Letter of dismissal from the Association of Jewish Nurses to Karola Oberndörfer

"Jewish Hospital at Risk!" ran the main headline of the July 1933 issue of the newsletter published by the Jewish Community of Berlin. On 15 June the mayor of Berlin had banned the hospital—"with immediate effect"—from admitting welfare patients. This prohibition also applied to Jewish patients dependent on the welfare authorities—"with the exception of urgent and verifiable cases in which a person‘s life is in danger." For the Jewish Community‘s hospital this meant a significant loss of patients. The article goes on to note that "due to the necessary reduction in services, a large number of salaried employees, doctors, nurses, orderlies and cleaning staff have now lost their jobs."

This was just one of several directives that began the gradual process of cutting off welfare benefits to the Jewish population in the summer of 1933.

Among those affected was Karola Oberndörfer (1910–2000), who was dismissed by the Association of Jewish Nurses on 25 June 1933. Due to the decline in the number of patients, the Jewish Hospital had been forced to terminate its contract with the nursing association, which had been founded in 1894. The result was layoffs. Oberndörfer, a nurse from Rothenburg ob der Tauber, had been working in Berlin‘s Jewish Hospital in Exerzierstrasse since 1931—initially in the maternity ward and then in the gynecological department.

Far from her family, the young woman had managed to support herself during this time as an employee of the Jewish Community. Now it seemed she would be out of a job at the end of July. However, the twenty-three-year-old succeeded in finding a new position. She left the German capital for Frankfurt am Main, where she stayed for three years until presented with the opportunity to emigrate to Palestine with a group of nurses. Until the 1970s Oberndörfer worked at various hospitals in the country, in the end as a head nurse in Jerusalem. She died in Israel in 2000.

Franziska Bogdanov

Categorie(s): associations | Berlin | physicians
Letter of dismissal from the Association of Jewish Nurses to Karola Oberndörfer, Berlin, 25 June 1933
Gift of Michael Anfänger, heir to Carola Anfänger-Oberndörfer