Eduard Borchers (physician)

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Eduard Borchers (born June 26, 1885 in Vegesack ; † February 24, 1977 in Bad Tölz ) was a German surgeon and long-time chief physician at the Luisenhospital Aachen .

Live and act

Borchers studied medicine at the universities of Munich , Freiburg im Breisgau , Kiel and Heidelberg . After completing his state examination, he began his specialist training as a surgeon with Ottmar von Angerer at the surgical department of the Munich University Hospital . Further stations of this training were the "Friedrichsheim and Luisenheim Clinic" in Malsburg-Marzell , the Red Cross Hospital Bremen , the Medical Academy Düsseldorf and the University Hospital Kiel . In 1913, Borchers took up an assistant doctor position with Georg Clemens Perthes at the University Hospital Tübingen and, before the outbreak of the First World War, Perthes had the opportunity to take on a temporary position as a visiting scientist with Hugh Young at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore . During the war, Borchers served as a senior surgeon in various hospitals from 1914 to 1917, before continuing his career in Tübingen. There he received his habilitation in 1920 and was appointed associate professor in 1924. Since then he has written over 120 scientific publications and books, including his 1926 standard work “ General and Special Surgery of the Head ”. After the sudden death of Perthes, Borchers took over the chair on a substitute basis without being promoted. Instead, the surgeon Martin Kirschner was appointed to the position of Perthes in 1929 and Borchers was to serve as senior physician under him. This prompted Borchers to move to Aachen , where he was taken on as chief surgeon at the Aachen Luisenhospital.

During the time of National Socialism , Borchers tried to oppose the efforts of the politically responsible to win him over to their medical and political plans. He joined the Wehrverband Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten , in the hope of being able to prevent further membership in Nazi organizations, but when the Stahlhelm was incorporated into the SA , he was initially automatically accepted as a member. However, he made several requests to leave until he was finally approved. In contrast, he maintained his membership in the National Socialist Medical Association and in the National Socialist People's Welfare , but did not take part in any major club activities.

Nevertheless, along with Leo Funken and the gynecologist Erich Zurhelle , Borchers was one of the doctors at the Luisenhospital who were authorized to carry out compulsory sterilizations in accordance with the law for the prevention of hereditary offspring . The extent of his activity in this area is incomprehensible, as he - like his colleague Max Krabbel in the Aachen City Hospital - neither kept a book nor published it, but his concerns can be measured by the fact that he publicly advocated it after the war , Refertilisierungsoperationen perform some forced operated patients.

Finally, Borchers got into the anger of the local NSDAP leadership in 1939 when, at the beginning of the Second World War, he refused to completely vacate the Luisenhospital as it was customary in all other hospitals in Aachen at the time as a military hospital for war wounded, and he therefore partially not his Transportable patients were only partially discharged or evacuated. Borchers was to be reported and arrested several times for this unruly behavior, but this was not to happen, as a few months later by order from Berlin, a corresponding urgent use of these premises was no longer planned after the campaign in the West, which ended in the summer of 1940 and was successfully conducted . Nevertheless, it took several weeks until after an intervention by the internist Prof. Dr. Erwin Moos was able to resume full hospital operations at Hermann Göring's staff at the Luisenhospital for the city's population.

As a result of this controversy with the authorities, the Borchers' children were in danger and were bullied, harassed and threatened at school. Borchers then sent his wife with five of his six children, namely the children Renate (* 1923), Ute (1925–1997), Hans-Jürgen, Klaus (* 1930) and his twin sister Ruth (1930–2020) to Bad Tölz, where the family had owned a holiday home since 1935. The eldest son Axel stayed with his father. Borchers himself was released from military service and continued to do his service in the Luisenhospital. In Bad Tölz, the Borchers got in touch with the Scholl family, who also lived in a house in the neighborhood, and Borcher's daughter Ute also began a love affair with the student Hans Scholl . This also gave father Eduard Borchers access to the planned activities of the Scholl siblings and allowed them to temporarily set up a printing press for the leaflets in the gable roof of his house and to hide a diary of Hans Scholl. This was found and confiscated by the Gestapo in 1944 as part of a house search . The connection to the Scholl family and his stubborn behavior towards the political authorities led Borchers to be arrested on September 3, 1944, just a few days before Aachen was liberated by the Americans, without giving any reason, and in the Cologne exhibition center , a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp was interned on the premises of the Cologne exhibition center .

While in captivity, the Borchers became life-threateningly infected with typhus and was released. Borchers spent the following months in a sanatorium in Bad Tölz and was only able to return to work in the Luisenhospital in Aachen in 1946 after his complete recovery. His most famous interns at this time, who later had a great medical career ahead of them, were Cuno Winkler and Leo Koslowski . In 1952 Borchers was elected President of the German Society for Surgery and in this capacity he organized the annual surgeon congress in Munich a year later.

In the Luisenkrankenhaus Borchers, himself a hobby violist , founded the "Orchestra of the Luisen Doctors" with fellow doctors, which regularly performed works by Mozart and Vivaldi in the stairwell of the hospital with the patient doors open as part of so-called "house concerts" . In 1955 Borchers retired and spent his old age in Bad Tölz. After his death, his house there was sold and demolished shortly afterwards. A leaflet from the Scholl siblings still exists in the family today with a personal note from Eduard Borchers in memory of the contacts with the Scholl family in Bad Tölz.

Fonts (selection)

  • General and special surgery of the head including surgical theory with special consideration of the face, the jaw and the oral cavity: Ein Lehrbuch , Springer, Berlin 1926
  • Eduard Borchers and Georg Perthes: Injuries and diseases of the jaw , Enke Stuttgart 1932


  • Richard Kühl: Leading Aachen clinic doctors and their role in the Third Reich, study by the Aachen Competence Center for the History of Science , Volume 11, Ed .: Dominik Groß, Diss. RWTH Aachen 2010, pp. 64–86 and others, ISBN 978-3-86219- 014-0 pdf
  • Stefanie Westermann: Medicine in the service of “hereditary health”: Contributions to the history of eugenics and “racial hygiene” . LIT Verlag Münster 2009 digitized
  • R. Kühl, D. Groß: The Surgeon Eduard Borchers (1885–1977) - An Unusual Case Later Remorse? About the involvement of German surgeons in National Socialism and the lack of reappraisal , in: Zentralblatt für Chirurgie, issue 06, December 2012, Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Axel Borrenkott: Aachen was a collecting basin for Nazi doctors , in: Aachener Zeitung of January 11, 2011
  2. Heike Kayer: The forgotten White Rose , in: Gradraus, newspaper for the Chiemgau , January 2015
  3. Letters from the Borchers siblings in Inge Aicher-Scholl's estate
  4. ^ President of the German Society for Surgery