Monday, May 18, 2015

Rapoport gets doctorate after 77-year struggle

A 102-year-old German women was given a doctoral issue by the University. Surprisingly, she was rejected to get it 77 years ago for racial reasons.

Independent.IE: Woman (102) gets doctorate 77 years after Nazis denied her for 'racial reasons'

Ms. Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport, wrote a dissertation about diphtheria at the University of Hamburg. However, the university refused her application for doctorate for the reason her mother was Jewish. It was in 1938, when the Nazi power was dominant upon academic authorities. Her professor, Mr. Degkwitz, was arrested for criticizing euthanasia.

She moved to the US. She was accepted to Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, and she received medical doctor license there.

She worked as a neonatologist in Cincinnati. She got married, and became a covert communist accompanied with her husband. As their activity came to light in 1950, she came back to Europe.

Wikipedia: Ingeborg Rapoport

Finally, she became a professor of neonatology at the Charité hospital. However, getting the doctorate was not a simple issue for her. The University of Hamburg was initially reluctant to permit her degree because her original paper was missing. In addition, she was suffering from visual disturbance recently. After an argument, the university admitted that her contribution deserved to a doctoral issue.

The Wall Street Journal: Ingeborg Rapoport to Become Oldest Recipient of Doctorate After Nazi Injustice is Righted

I respect her endeavor and patience. On the other hand, I am just wondering why she had not got the doctorate elsewhere. I think she could have applied to doctorate with other than the original paper about diphtheria.

In Japan, not a few people, i.e. politicians, are given an academic degree without any exceptional contribution. There are lots of honorary professors who have scarce experience of research. There is a controversy about the standard of the doctoral issue after the incident that Obokata's degree was deprived. Similar cases also occurred in Germany.

My past entry: Cheating case in science (1)

My past entry: Resign of Schavan: suspicious charge of plagiarism

On the other hand, I understand the stance of the University of Hamburg. It seems not comfortable to deal with Nazi's work 70 years ago. The university might be in a quandary between the restoration of her honor and strict procedure of permission for the degree.

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