Commemoration of the German Society of Gastroenterology
In memory of

Dr. med.
Richard Horwitz
1887 - 1941

Title page of dissertation
Title page of dissertation

Member since 1929

Established internist in Wroclaw

Driven to suicide

Breslau address book 1919
Breslau address book 1919

Dr. med. Richard Horwitz

  • Breslau/ now Wrocław, Poland, 3‌1‌.‌1‌0‌.‌1‌8‌8‌7‌
  • Breslau, 0‌7‌.‌1‌2‌.‌1‌9‌4‌1‌
  • Member since 1929
  • Wrocław
  • Specialist for internal diseases

“I, Richard Horwitz, born on October 31, 1887 in Breslau, am a Prussian citizen of the Jewish religion. I attended the Johannes-Gymnasium in Breslau, graduated at Easter 1906 and then turned to the study of medicine. During the summer semester of 1906 I studied in Freiburg i.B., then remained in Breslau until the end of my studies, where I passed the preliminary medical examination on June 25, 1908 and the state medical examination on May 11, 1911. I am currently working as a medical trainee at the All Saints’ Hospital in Breslau,” Richard Horwitz wrote in his dissertation in 1912.

His parents were the Breslau merchant Friedrich Horwitz (1842 – 1891) and Hedwig Horwitz, née Meyer.


Education and Places of Work

In 1912, Richard Horwitz received his doctorate from the Friedrich-Willhelms University of Silesia in Wroclaw with his “Contribution to the treatment of exudative pleurisy with nitrogen insufflation”. He completed his thesis in the Internal Medicine Department A of the All Saints Hospital in Wroclaw (which was also part of the Medical University Clinic in Wroclaw) under Wilhelm Ercklentz. Horwitz worked for this highly respected internist, who dealt with metabolic and lung diseases, after completing his studies. He received his license to practice medicine in 1912 – the same year of his doctorate.

The exact date on which Richard Horwitz settled in Wroclaw as a specialist in internal medicine is not yet known. In 1919, he lived at Ohlenauer Stadtgraben 24, a large boulevard that surrounded the old town of Wroclaw. His consultation hours are listed in the Wroclaw address book from 1921. It can be assumed that Horwitz established his practice here between 1919 and 1921. Horwitz’s address at Ohlenauer Stadtgraben can be found in the Wroclaw address books until 1934, although at this time his surgery hours are no longer listed.

Breslau address book 1919
Breslau address book 1919
Breslau address book 1921
Breslau address book 1921


After 1933

Richard Horwitz was exposed to anti-Jewish measures by the National Socialists at an early stage. In August 1933, his health insurance license was revoked. From then on, he had to rely on the treatment of private patients. As a result, Horwitz was forced to move his place of residence and practice several times. He is listed as Charlottenstraße 9 in the Breslau address book from 1935, holding only the status of specialist and not doctorate. Charlottenstraße is located in the far south of Wroclaw, today a residential area with prefabricated high-rise buildings. In 1936 and 1937, his address was Gutenbergstraße 8, even further out in the east of Wroclaw. He is still allowed to call himself a specialist.

Breslau address book 1935
Breslau address book 1935
Reich medical calendar 1937
Reich medical calendar 1937

His license to practice medicine was revoked on September 30, 1938. In December 1937, Horwitz was not practicing medicine, according to the Reich medical register. After his license was revoked in the fall of 1938, he worked as a “Krankenbehandler” (medical attendant) and was only allowed to treat Jewish patients. He was forbidden to call himself a doctor any longer. In the Breslau address books of 1939 and 1940, he is listed under the address Goethestraße 18 (again in the south of the city), now as a private individual, without a doctorate and without a specialist title.

Horwitz Richard 1939 Breslau address book
Horwitz Richard 1939 Breslau address book

Horwitz was forced by the Nazi rule “on the change of surnames and first names” to use “Israel” as his middle name starting in January 1938.

On November 25, 1941, the first deportation of a thousand Silesian Jews took place when they were taken from the Breslau-Odertor train station to Kowno (Kaunas, Lithuania).

On the night of December 6, 1941, at the age of only 54, Richard Horwitz took his own life with sleeping pills. He was not married. No relatives are known to date. In his death certificate of 1941, Richard Horwitz is referred to as a “medical attendant”.

Richard Horwitz, death certificate 1941
Richard Horwitz, death certificate 1941
Richard Horwitz Jewish Community Breslau Arolsen
Richard Horwitz Jewish Community Breslau Arolsen


Written by:
Dr. med. Cornelie Haag, Dresden
Dr. med. Harro Jenss, Worpswede

Translated by:
Priska Scheidt-Antich

Sources and Further Reading


Biographie of Dr. med. Richard Horwitz


  • Horwitz R. Beitrag zur Behandlung der Pleuritis exsudativa mit Stickstoffinsufflation. Med. Dissertation, Königliche Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Breslau 1912. Staatsbibliothek Berlin /SBB-PK, Sign. Ja 4722-1912,2 darin Lebenslauf S. 26f

  • Reichsmedizinalkalender 1937. Digitale Sammlung der ZB Medizin – Informationszentrum für Lebenswissenschaften. Im Internet:

  • Ercklentz, Bernhard, „Ercklentz, Wilhelm“, In: Neue Deutsche Biographie 4, 1959, S. 568 []


  • Cohn W. Kein Recht, Nirgends. Tagebuch vom Untergang des Breslauer Judentums. 1933 – 1941, Band 2, Köln – Weimar – Wien: Böhlau Verlag 2007, S. 562 und 575f.


  • Arolsen Archives ( Kultusvereinigung Breslau, Zählkarte Zuzug-Fortzug-Sterbefall, Dr. med. Richard Horwitz, mit inkorrektem Geburtsjahr ) , Stand 25.1.20224

  • / ( Richard Israel Horwitz, geb. 31.10.1887 in Breslau ), Stand 25.1.2024