Abraham Kuhn

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Abraham Kuhn (born August 28, 1838 in Bissersheim , Palatinate , † September 15, 1900 in Strasbourg ) was an Alsatian doctor and professor of ear medicine at the University of Strasbourg .


Abraham Kuhn came from a Jewish family who had been viticulture in the Palatinate since the Jews were legally equated in the course of the French Revolution . Abraham Kuhn's grandfather Abraham Loeb-Kuhn (1749–1832) bought a farm in Bissersheim with income from wine and brandy deliveries to Napoleon's armies . In 1854, Kuhn's parents, Isaak Kuhn (1805–1871) and Ester, née Levy, (1806–1882) bought a winery in Worms . Abraham Kuhn attended the old language grammar school there, today the Rudi Stephan grammar school .

After studying medicine in Gießen and Munich , he did his doctorate at the University of Würzburg with a thesis on the epithelium of the lung alveoli and studied ear medicine with Anton von Tröltsch , one of the founders of this field in Germany. In 1863 Kuhn passed the medical exam in Munich.

After that, Kuhn went to Strasbourg for family reasons. One of his sisters was married there. He studied at the University (École de Médecine) in Strasbourg, completed the French medical exam in 1865 and earned his doctorate with a thesis on tumors of the larynx under the title Des tumeurs du larynx . He translated von Tröltsch's textbook on ear medicine into French, and the translated work was published in Paris in 1870 . During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Kuhn worked for the French Red Cross on the battlefields of Weißenburg and Wörth in the northern Vosges .

After the annexation of Alsace by the German Empire in 1871, Abraham Kuhn tried to work at the medical clinic of the university in Strasbourg, which was renamed Kaiser Wilhelm University . There he became a lecturer in 1873 and an associate professor for ear medicine in 1881. Presumably in connection with this , he converted to Christianity. As a figurehead of German science and culture in the “ Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine ”, the university was one of the best-equipped German universities, and Kuhn was one of the few university professors who specifically specialize in ear medicine - in Germany it only existed after a list from 1878 ten lecturers and professors in this then still young subject. First he was head of the polyclinic , then from 1881 until his death director of the clinic and polyclinic for ear diseases. The department was housed in the Hôpital Civil, became an independent university institute from 1892 and in 1897 had 32 beds. The later professors W. Kümmel ( University of Heidelberg ), Paul Manasse (University of Würzburg) and Gustav Alexander (1873-1932) worked there as assistants and students of Kuhn .

Kuhn was temporarily a member of the board of directors of the German Otological Society and today's German Society for Ear, Nose and Throat Medicine, Head and Neck Surgery .

Abraham Kuhn's daughter Anna (died 1966) married Albrecht Bethe , professor of physiology in Frankfurt am Main, their son was the theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Hans Albrecht Bethe, who had become an American after his emigration from Nazi Germany .


Abraham Kuhn belongs to the second generation of representatives of modern ear medicine, which was founded in the German-speaking countries primarily by Hermann Schwartze in Halle, Adam Politzer in Vienna and Kuhn's teacher von Tröltsch in the years after 1860 and who used science-based methods to treat diseases of the Ear researched and treated. He established the subject as an independent medical discipline in Strasbourg and was both the founder and first director of the university ear clinic there.

Kuhn's scientific work focused on the areas of comparative anatomy of the ear, especially the labyrinth , as well as the diagnosis and therapy of tumors of the ear. On these topics he wrote articles in the manual published by Hermann Schwartze. In the two specialist journals Archiv für Ohrheilkunde and Zeitschrift für Ohrheilkunde you can find several individual clinical works and communications by Kuhn, articles on the cholesteatoma and on the surgical treatment of the soft palate adhesions were particularly emphasized in his obituary.


  • Traité pratique des maladies de l'oreille. Delahaye Paris 1870, translation with DMLevi from: Anton Friedrich Freiherr von Tröltsch: Textbook of ear medicine.
  • Histology of the membranous labyrinth of bony fish. Leipzig 1878.
  • Neoplasms of the Ear and Comparative Anatomy of the Ear. In: Hermann Schwartze (Hrsg.): Handbook for ear medicine. FCW Vogel Leipzig 1893.


  • Oskar Brieger: Professor Abraham Kuhn, a necrology . In: European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology . tape 50 , no. 3-4 . Springer, December 1900, ISSN  0937-4477 , p. 279-283 , doi : 10.1007 / BF01971064 .
  • Julian Marcuse : Abraham Kuhn, professor of ear medicine. In: Anton Bettelheim (Hrsg.): Biographisches Jahrbuch and Deutscher Nekrolog. V. Volume 1901, Berlin 1903.
  • List of lectures at the Kaiser Wilhelm University of Strasbourg 1872–1918.
  • Hermance Metzger: The History of the Kuhn Family 1800–1935. Typewritten manuscript 1932, Leo Baeck Institute Archive, Berlin, ( opac.cjh.org ).

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