The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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17 July 1933

Letter from Hans Brakebusch to his colleague Rudolf Rülf

When Hans Brakebusch (1884–1949) wrote this letter to his Jewish colleague Rudolf Rülf (1890–1968) on 17 July 1933, he had been a member of the NSDAP for more than two years. It is not known how the two dentists met. Their relationship appears to have been a purely professional one: Rülf opened a dentist‘s office in Wolfenbüttel in 1919 while Brakebusch established his own practice around ten miles away in Braunschweig in the early 1920s.

On the stationery of the Reich Association of Dentists, Brakebusch informed his colleague of a meeting that had been held several days earlier by the Braunschweig Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. There it had been "determined" that Rudolf Rülf was to be stripped of his license to bill the statutory health insurance due to his "non-Aryan descent." The basis of this decision was the Regulation on the Work of Dentists and Dental Technicians for the Statutory Health Insurance Scheme, passed on 2 June, to which Brakebusch refers in abbreviated form as the "Aryan Law."

Brakebusch knew that this decision would destroy the basis of his colleague‘s livelihood. Remarkably, he did not wait for the association to notify Rülf. That would have meant the loss of precious time needed for counter-measures, such as the procurement of documents to file an appeal. Brakebusch therefore decided to provide his "dear colleague" with internal information from the association‘s meeting and give him the opportunity "to do everything possible to protect yourself against material damage." As a member of the NSDAP Brakebusch was undoubtedly a staunch supporter of its policies, but here he demonstrated his good will toward a colleague.

In fact, the association had already notified Rudolf Rülf that it was revoking his license. In the following weeks Rülf tried unsuccessfully to reverse this decision.

Jörg Waßmer

Categorie(s): occupational ban | physicians
Letter from Hans Brakebusch to his colleague Rudolf Rülf, Braunschweig, 17 July 1933
Gift of Alfred Rülf