Commemoration of the German Society of Gastroenterology
In memory of

Dr. med.
Erich Kurt Wolffenstein
1899 - 1976

Dr. med. Erich Kurt Wolffenstein <br> © Instanes Family, Norway
Dr. med. Erich Kurt Wolffenstein
© Instanes Family, Norway

Member since 1926

Training in internal medicine at the Charité Berlin

Interned as enemy alien in England

Letter of recommendation from the biochemist and later Nobel Prize laureate Hans Krebs, <br> 1940 © Instanes Family
Letter of recommendation from the biochemist and later Nobel Prize laureate Hans Krebs,
1940 © Instanes Family
Certificate of the University of Leeds, <br> 1944 © Instanes Family
Certificate of the University of Leeds,
1944 © Instanes Family

Dr. med. Erich Kurt Wolffenstein

  • Dömitz, Mecklenburg, 2‌8‌.‌0‌4‌.‌1‌8‌9‌9‌
  • London, 2‌5‌.‌1‌0‌.‌1‌9‌7‌6‌
  • Member since 1926
  • Escaped to England in 1939
  • Berlin
  • Specialist in internal medicine

Education and Places of Work

After graduating from grammar school in 1918, Wolffenstein studied medicine in Rostock and Freiburg, interrupted by nine months of military service. He continued his studies in Freiburg, Berlin, and Munich. He passed the state examination at the University of Munich in 1923 and received his doctorate the same year. He received his licence to practise medicine in 1924.

Wolffenstein completed his training in internal medicine at the III Medical University Clinic of the Charité in Berlin. He settled in Berlin as an internist in 1929.

He regularly gave lectures on German, French and English gastroenterological literature at the Archiv für Verdauungskrankheiten (“Boas Archive”) from 1925 to 1933.

Wolffenstein was briefly imprisoned by the GESTAPO in Neustrelitz in the wake of the November pogrom in 1938.

 

Escape to England in 1939

Kurt Wolffenstein fled to England with his wife in April 1939. They were able to send their eight-year-old daughter Marianne Wolffenstein to London on a Kindertransport from Hamburg to London via Southampton on 28 December 1938 with the support of an aid organisation. The Wolffensteins initially lived in Brighton in 1939.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Kurt Wolffenstein was interned in England as an enemy alien, like other Jewish refugees, but was able to work in the internment camps in Huyton and Sefton near Liverpool as an assistant doctor/medical officer until August 1941. He then went on to work as a doctor at the Jewish Herzl Moser Hospital in Leeds until August 1944.

Letter of recommendation from the biochemist and later Nobel Prize laureate Hans Krebs, <br> 1940 © Instanes Family
Letter of recommendation from the biochemist and later Nobel Prize laureate Hans Krebs,
1940 © Instanes Family
Document on Wolffenstein's medical activity at the Sefton Internment Camp, Isle of Man, 1940 © Instanes Family
Document on Wolffenstein's medical activity at the Sefton Internment Camp, Isle of Man, 1940 © Instanes Family

Kurt Wolffenstein graduated from Leeds with a Bachelor of Medicine in 1944. He worked as a subsitute for a general practitioner in Bradford, who had been drafted into the army, from September 1944. Wolffenstein obtained British citizenship in 1947 and worked as a general practitioner in Eastcote, Ruislip, an outlying borough of London.

Certificate of the University of Leeds, <br> 1944 © Instanes Family
Certificate of the University of Leeds,
1944 © Instanes Family

Erich Wolffenstein died in London in 1976 at the age of 77.

Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to Erich Wolffenstein’s grandchildren Marit Kristine Instanes and Arne Instanes, Norway, for personal communications and important references and documents from the Marianne Wolffenstein-Instanes family archive.


Sources and Further Reading
Sources
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Sources/Literature/Weblinks

Biographie of Dr. med. Erich Kurt Wolffenstein

Bibliography

  • Arch f Verdauungskr ( Boas Archiv) 1925 bis 1933
  • United States Holocaust Memorail Museum. Collection 40142 (Kindertransport nach England von Hamburg mit der SS Washington via LeHavre und Southamptom nach London, 28. Dez. 1938)
  • Wolffenstein EK. Dissertation: Über Jodempfindlichkeit bei Kindern – Ein Beitrag zur Frage der Kropfprophylaxe. München; 1923

Literature

  • Gramenz J, Ulmer S. Die jüdische Geschichte der Stadt Sternberg (Mecklenburg). Hamburg: tredition Verlag; 2015: 245f.
  • Schwoch R. Berliner Jüdische Kassenärzte und ihr Schicksal im Nationalsozialismus. Ein Gedenkbuch. Berlin: Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag 2009: 910

Weblinks