August Hirsch (physician)

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August Hirsch

August Hirsch (born as Aron Simon Hirsch ; * October 4, 1817 in Danzig ; † January 28, 1894 in Berlin ) was a German doctor , epidemiologist and medical historian .


August Hirsch was the son of a businessman and began an apprenticeship in Berlin when he was 15. Since he had no inclination to do this, he attended high school in Elbing and graduated from high school there. From 1839 he studied medicine at the Universities of Leipzig and Berlin , where he received his doctorate in 1843 . After that he was initially a doctor in Elbing and from 1846 in his native city of Danzig. After his plans to work as a doctor in Indonesia were dashed, he turned to scientific work and published in Virchow's archive on tropical and infectious diseases and finally published his extensive handbook on historical-geographical pathology , first published in Erlangen from 1859 to 1864 Reputation established, especially because of his careful study of literature.

In 1862 he converted to Christianity in Königsberg. After the early death of his wife, he was appointed Professor of Pathology, History and Literature of Medicine in Berlin in 1863, against the resistance of the medical faculty, filling the chair created by Justus Hecker - the founder of historical pathology - after a 13-year vacancy has been. The appointment was preceded by a spectacular dispute in the Berlin daily press.

In 1864 Hirsch completed his habilitation with a thesis on the anatomy of the school of Hippocrates . On behalf of the Prussian government, he investigated an epidemic of meningitis that broke out in the province of West Prussia in 1865 and wrote a monograph on it. Together with Max von Pettenkofer , he founded the German Cholera Commission in 1873 and was the German representative at the International Cholera Conference in 1874. To investigate cholera, he traveled to West Prussia and Posen on behalf of the state . In 1879 he traveled to Astrakhan on behalf of the German government to investigate the outbreak of the plague , about which he published a monograph in 1880. In 1872 he founded the German Society for Public Health in Berlin . He was its chairman until 1885 and then an honorary member. In 1892 Hirsch was elected a member of the Leopoldina .

Hirsch was considered a well-known hygienist and medical historian of his time. On behalf of the Munich Historical Commission , he wrote the history of the medical sciences in Germany (1893). The Biographical Lexicon of the Outstanding Physicians of All Times and Nations ( BLÄ ) published by Hirsch in six volumes (1884–1888, reissued 1929–1935, reprinted in 1962) was of lasting importance .

August Hirsch was married to Pauline Friedländer (1827–1863), a sister of the philologist Ludwig Friedländer , who also acted as Hirsch's christening father.

The mathematician Kurt Hirsch was his grandson.

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Web links

Wikisource: August Hirsch  - Sources and full texts
Commons : August Hirsch  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Member entry by August Hirsch at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on February 25, 2013.
  2. Peter Schneck: Heinrich Haeser's memorandum to the Prussian Ministry of Culture from 1859. In: Andreas Frewer, Volker Roelcke (ed.): The institutionalization of medical historiography: development lines from the 19th to the 20th century. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, pp. 39–56 (here: p. 49, note 61).