Commemoration of the German Society of Gastroenterology
In memory of

Dr. med.
Georg Gabriel Wolfsohn
1881 - 1955

Dr. med. Georg Gabriel and Helene Wolfsohn  ©  Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna/ <br> Library of Congress, Washington
Dr. med. Georg Gabriel and Helene Wolfsohn © Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna/
Library of Congress, Washington

Member since 1926

Head physician of the Surgical Polyclinic at the Jewish Hospital Berlin

Friendship with the composer Arnold Schönberg

Wolfsohn's book publication 1924, Archive H Je
Wolfsohn's book publication 1924, Archive H Je
Dedication for Arnold Schönberg <br> ©  Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna, Library of Congress, Washington
Dedication for Arnold Schönberg
© Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna, Library of Congress, Washington

Dr. med. Georg Gabriel Wolfsohn

  • Berlin, 3‌0‌.‌0‌4‌.‌1‌8‌8‌1‌
  • Israel, 1955
  • Member since 1926
  • Escaped to Palestine in 1935
  • Berlin
  • Surgeon

Georg Wolfsohn was born into the family of the Berlin merchant Nathan Wolfsohn and his wife Rosalie, née Rosenberg, in 1881.

 

Education and Places of Work

After graduating from secondary school in 1899, Georg G. Wolfsohn studied medicine at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin and at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau from 1903, where he passed his state examination on 3 May 1904. He received his doctorate the same year with the thesis “Über Spontanluxationen der Hüfte nach acuten Infektionserkrankungen”.

Wolfsohn's book publication 1924, Archive H Je
Wolfsohn's book publication 1924, Archive H Je

Wolfsohn initially worked as an intern at the department for surgery at the Auguste-Viktoria Hospital in Berlin-Schöneberg with the pancreatic surgeon Walther Kausch. He moved to the Surgical Polyclinic of the Jewish Hospital in Berlin in 1910, where he worked with Ferdinand Karewski and Paul Rosenstein. He also ran a surgical practice. He was the head physician of the Surgical Polyclinic at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin from 1923 to 1934.

Georg Wolfsohn was not only a doctor, but also an outstanding pianist who composed songs and set poems by Hermann Hesse to music. Schönberg and Wolfsohn developed a close and long-lasting friendship after Wolfson had assisted Schönberg with medical advice. Schöneberg had been referred to Wolfsohn by Dr. Kurt Singer in 1933. The latter was a neurologist, musicologist, and founder of the Jewish Cultural Association. There is extensive correspondence testifying to the friendship of Wolfsohn and Schöneberg. Their friendship lasted until Schöneberg’s death in 1951, even after Wolfsohn had fled to Palestine and Schönberg to the USA. Schönberg paid tribute to Wolfsohn in 1931 on his 50th birthday with a specially composed canon and dedicated his book “Style and Idea” to Wolfsohn on his 70th birthday in 1951 in Israel with a separate contribution. The German-Israeli musicologist Peter E. Gradenwitz was Wolfsohn’s son-in-law.

Dedication for Arnold Schönberg <br> ©  Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna, Library of Congress, Washington
Dedication for Arnold Schönberg
© Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna, Library of Congress, Washington

 

Escape to Palestine in 1935

Wolfsohn fled from Germany to Palestine with his wife in September 1935. He worked as senior surgeon at the Bikur Cholim Hospital and the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. He continued his pianistic and compositional endeavours. In his letters from Palestine (later from Israel) to Arnold Schönberg after 1935, Wolfsohn reports on his life in Jerusalem. The original letters are kept at the Library of Congress in Washington, while the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna holds the copies.

Georg Wolfsohn died in Israel in 1955 at the age of 74.

Publications

  1. Über die Opsonine und ihre Bedeutung. Berl klin Wochenschr 1908; 45: 2184-2187
  2. Die Verwendung der Serodiagnostik in der praktischen Chirurgie mit Berücksichtigung eigener Untersuchungen. Berl klin Wochenschr 1909; 46: 444-447
  3. Die Erfolge und Misserfolge der Vakzinetherapie. Berl Klin Wochenschr 1912; 49: 2312-2314
  4. Ueber eine Modifikation des Staphylokkokenvakzins. Dtsch med Wochenschr 1913; 39: 112-113
  5. Immunität, Immunodiagnostik und aktive Immunisierung im Dienste der Chirurgie. Stuttgart:Verlag von Ferdinand Enke, 1924 ( Reihe Neue Dtsch. Chir., Bd. 31 ). [Ein Exemplar übersandte Wolfsohn 1930 mit einer persönlichen Widmung an Arnold Schönberg, Arnold Schönberg Center, Wien]
Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to Therese Muxeneder and Eike Fess, Arnold Schönberg Center Vienna, for important information on the relationship and friendship between the Wolfsohns and Arnold Schönberg, for numerous documents, and for the impressive photo.