Ferdinand Sauerbruch

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Ferdinand Sauerbruch, 1932

Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch (born July 3, 1875 in Barmen , today a district of Wuppertal ; † July 2, 1951 in Berlin ) was a German doctor and medical officer . He was a general physician , state councilor , privy councilor , university professor and one of the most important and influential surgeons of the 20th century. He became known, among other things, as a pioneer of thoracic surgery and the vacuum chamber developed in Breslau in 1904 .


School and study

Ferdinand Sauerbruch's father, the technical manager of a cloth weaving mill, died about two years after Ferdinand was born of “ galloping consumption ”. He had invested his fortune in the construction of a new loom and lost it. Ferdinand moved with his mother (born in 1840; died in 1920 as a result of a stroke in the Munich property of Ferdinand Sauerbruch, like her husband was buried in Barmen) financially penniless in his grandfather's house in Elberfeld, which is like his birthplace in the Bergisches Land , and grew up there. The grandfather, father of his mother, Friedrich Hammerschmidt, was an arbitrator at the Elberfeld town hall and a successful master shoemaker , who from then on took over the role of Ferdinand's father. Another of his daughters and their son Fritz lived in the grandfather's household, who was run by his daughter Mathilde († 1922), and both of them later emigrated to Australia following their husband and father.

Ferdinand Sauerbruch attended elementary school in Elberfeld and passed the Abitur at the secondary school in 1895 , which he had attended from Easter 1885. (The grandfather died during Sauerbruch's school days.) He then began studying natural sciences at the University of Marburg . There he lived with a locomotive driver's widow in Rosenstrasse and became a member of the pharmaceutical and scientific association “Pharmacia”, a scientific student union and forerunner of today's Hasso-Borussia Marburg country team . There he resigned a little later and became a member of the Natural Science-Medical Association of Students in Marburg, today's Landsmannschaft Nibelungia , which he had to leave during his Fux time because of “improper behavior on the house”. In order to be able to complete a humanistic degree, he first took a Greek exam at the Marzellen-Gymnasium in Cologne , which he failed, however, so that only the temporary solution of becoming a senior teacher seemed attainable to him. In 1896, however, he successfully completed the Graecum examination required for a medical degree, which he was now striving for, at the old-language grammar school in Mülheim an der Ruhr .

He then switched to the medical faculty of the University of Leipzig . His teachers at Leipzig University included the Swiss anatomist and privy councilor Wilhelm His , who provided his students with a room and "free board" in his institute, and the surgeon Paul Leopold Friedrich , who later became his boss in Greifswald.

Ferdinand Sauerbruch (district) in 1901 as a drum doctor in Jena

He also had a short study visit to Jena , advised by Wilhelm His, where he joined the Borussia gymnastics club , whose connoisseur he became and for which he later worked as a drum doctor on mensur days .

In Leipzig , Sauerbruch passed the state examination on February 26, 1901 and received the license to practice medicine, which was valid “for the territory of the German Empire”.

First years as a doctor, 1902 to 1908 (Thuringia, Kassel, Berlin, Breslau, Greifswald)

In 1902 he was charged with a dissertation on a case childlike bones ( A contribution to the metabolism of the lime and the phosphoric acid in infantile osteomalacia ) at Heinrich Curschmann Dr. med. PhD , at the end he had to admit: "We found in our work is nothing new."

In the vicinity of Erfurt he worked briefly as a general practitioner in a country doctor's practice before he became an assistant in the surgical department at the Hessian Deaconess Hospital in Kassel , which was run by its medical director Rockwitz , where he was employed from the beginning of April to the beginning of August 1901 , also performed his first surgical interventions. There, however, he fell out with the head nurse and, after having worked for a while in the private practice in Rockwitz, moved on October 1 of the same year as an assistant to the surgical department of the municipal hospital in Erfurt, where he became first under the direction of the Bock Medical Council in 1902 Became an assistant doctor. In Erfurt he already began to deal with the causes and treatment options of pneumothorax (the "air breast") and wrote his first published scientific work. He was then recommended to work scientifically in a university town and he quit his job in Erfurt on January 1, 1903.

From 1903 Sauerbruch worked for three quarters of a year at Langerhans as a volunteer assistant at the pathological-anatomical department of the Moabit Hospital in Berlin and on October 1 of the same year went to the Royal Surgical Clinic in Breslau , where he worked as a volunteer doctor, from the end of January 1904 as a scientific doctor Assistant to the privy councilor and clinic director Johannes von Mikulicz-Radecki and already worked as a (clinical) assistant doctor from October 1, 1904 (Mikulicz had offered him the position in a letter from America due to his published scientific work). In Breslau, where initially his colleague Hubert Bardenheuer, the son of the important Cologne surgeon Bernhard Bardenheuer , supported him and the senior physician Walther Kausch assigned him a ward, Sauerbruch, who in addition to his surgical work also anesthetized (so also at the beginning of January 1905 in an operation on Mikulicz, during which his incurable cancer was diagnosed) soon became senior physician. Encouraged by his boss Mikulicz, he founded thoracic surgery after several failures with the vacuum chamber (pressure differential method) he had developed in Breslau. H. the open chest surgery. For many tuberculosis sufferers, especially those with unilateral severe tuberculosis, surgical therapy was conceivable due to interventions that were previously impossible. In Breslau, Sauerbruch first lived in a rented room in the city, later in the clinic. On June 8, 1905 , he completed his habilitation as a private lecturer in surgery at the University of Breslau. (He was approved by the medical faculty much earlier than usual.)

After Mikulicz-Radecki's death, Sauerbruch applied because it was certain that Mikulicz's successor, Garré, would bring his own senior physician to Breslau, successfully working as senior physician with his former Leipzig surgery professor Paul Leopold Friedrich at the Greifswald University Hospital and then terminating his contract in Breslau and on July 25, 1905, he received his certificate from Professor Walther Kausch, who was entrusted with the management of the Breslau clinic. While on vacation on Rügen, Sauerbruch became engaged to a factory owner's daughter, but when he returned to Breslau, he soon refrained from the planned marriage (and was portrayed in a bad light by the internist Bruno Buchholz).

In autumn 1905 Sauerbruch left the city of Wroclaw and took the express train to Greifswald, a "small northern German university town" with around 24,000 inhabitants, his new place of work, where he moved into a room in the local surgical clinic on the outskirts and worked as a senior physician . In order to continue his research with the vacuum chamber and advised by his colleague and friend Willy Anschütz from Wroclaw , he had the first version of the chamber sent from Wroclaw to Greifswald. However, there were no operations on humans with the vacuum chamber procedure. In Greifswald he got to know the pharmacology professor and privy councilor Hugo Schulz as a colleague and friend as well as his daughter, Adeline (Ada) (* approx. 1885). She worked scientifically with her father. Sauerbruch and Adeline Schulz got engaged.

When Sauerbruch's boss, Paul Leopold Friedrich, accepted an offer at the University of Marburg in the summer of 1907, he suggested that he follow him there as senior physician. Sauerbruch then presented himself to the privy councilor and personnel officer Friedrich Althoff in Berlin at the Ministry of Culture , who recommended that he follow Friedrich's suggestion and also offered him the prospect of running the outpatient clinic in Marburg. So Sauerbruch and Friedrich both traveled to Marburg.

Professorship in Marburg (1908 to 1910)

Sauerbruch at the University of Zurich

In 1908 Sauerbruch became senior physician and private lecturer in Marburg , where he continued experiments on internal secretion (of the pancreas) that had been started with rats in "parabiotic" dogs, which were surgically transformed into Siamese twins . On January 3, 1908, he and Ada Schulz married in Greifswald. Then she also moved to Marburg. They moved into an apartment in a new tenement house built by the building contractor and speculator Weißkopf on a corner lot in Biegenstrasse near the university clinics.

Invited by the American Medical Association , Sauerbruch traveled to New York in the spring of 1908 with the small version of his negative pressure chamber in order to present it there at a lecture in what was then the German Hospital . Sauerbruch then visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minnesota) , where he discussed his invention with the brothers Charles Horace Mayo and William James Mayo and became friends with them. (He also got to know the father of the brothers , the founder of the Mayo Clinic.) In Marburg, on December 24, 1908, Sauerbruch received a letter from the Minister of Clergy, Teaching and Medical Affairs, signed on September 23, about his appointment as Associate Professor of the Medical Faculty of the University of Marburg. He and Ada had four children. (The first, Ursula Marie Helene Thekla Gertrude, was born on October 7, 1908, was baptized on February 16, 1909 in the Elisabeth Church and died on February 17, 1909 of the polio, which was spreading in Hesse at that time .) With the He researched psychology professor Lohrmann in Marburg on the subject of "bleeding in the brain". On the feast of the Three Kings in 1910, Ada and Ferdinand Sauerbruch's son Hans was born in Marburg. In the autumn of 1910, Sauerbruch received a call to Zurich. Previously, he had held corresponding discussions in Zurich with the pharmacologist Max Cloëtta and the anatomist Georg Ruge , with whom and whose wives he and his wife became friends in Zurich, as well as with the government councilor Heinrich Ernst (1847–1934). In advance, Swiss lung specialists (including Lucius Spengler ) in search of a potential successor to the renowned Rudolf Ulrich Krönlein in Zurich had already listened to the lecture in Marburg Sauerbruch in 1908. This and the surgeon Theodor Kocher had spoken out in favor of Sauerbruch at government agencies. The call to Zurich to the chair of surgery there, formulated on October 6th as an “employment decree”, arrived at Sauerbruch on October 8th, 1910.

Zurich, Greifswald and Singen (1910 to 1918)

Signed picture postcard by Ferdinand Sauerbruch

The Sauerbruch family moved to Zurich in October and initially lived in a small house on Freiestrasse in Zurich-Hottingen . Later the family moved to the vicinity of the university hospital in an old, located in a park sprawling mansion next to the Pension Florhof in the Florhofgasse where Sauerbruch also ran a private practice and his children Friedrich (August 31, 1911), Peter (on the 5th June 1913) and Marie Helene, called Marilen (April 27, 1917) were born. From October 15, 1910, Ferdinand Sauerbruch succeeded Krönlein as full professor and chair holder of surgery at the University of Zurich and director of the surgical clinic and polyclinic of the Zurich Cantonal Hospital . Shortly before Krönlein's death, Sauerbruch went to see him in his apartment, burned the letters of a former love for him and received gold and cash for setting up a children's department in the cantonal hospital, which was then left with additional funds that were left to the Krönlein Clinic's Board of Trustees was built according to Sauerbruch's ideas. Until Easter 1911, Sauerbruch was followed by doctors Birkelbach and Wilhelm Jehn, as well as laboratory assistants Rohde (Sauerbruch's "operation attendant" in Zurich) and Gustav Kratzat (as laboratory attendant and animal attendant) to Zurich. In 1915, Sauerbruch's wife Ada also took over the organization and administration of a private clinic that Sauerbruch had founded in Zurich. She typed the text dictated by her husband for his first major work on surgery of the thoracic organs on a typewriter that she always carried with her. (Later, the private secretary Johanna Leske in Munich, who was hired for the private clinic in 1915, took over this task.) For the university clinic (until 1977 canton hospital , then called university hospital ), Sauerbruch now acquired differential pressure devices and successfully operated on patients in the negative pressure chamber. Among his closest collaborators and friends of the Sauerbruch family was the Swiss Emil Schumacher (1880-1914), with whom he published the technique of thoracic surgery in 1911 . His patients in Zurich and also in Davos (where he was still active in the 1920s) included the eighteen-year-old daughter of Ruth and Frederik (Earl of) Cavendish-Bentinch and related to the King of England the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergei Dmitrijewitsch Sasonow and for pulling a tooth also the student Vladimir Ulyanov , who emigrated from the tsarist empire . Even the rich businessman Ludwig Rothschild (born 1849), who did not initially suffer from skin cancer as suspected, but from varicose veins, made use of Sauerbruch's services in Gailingen in 1910 . Other prominent patients were a Prince von Radziwill , the daughter of Federal President Ludwig Forrer and, a little later, during the autumn maneuver of 1912, the Swiss division general Hermann Steinbuch . In October 1917, when a consultant was asked by his colleague and friend Anton von Eiselsberg , he operated on the King of Greece Constantine I , who, accompanied by a court of 60 people , had visited the private clinic in Sauerbruch in Zurich from his place of residence in Pontresina (according to Sauerbruch handed over a letter from the former Greek regent to Kaiser Wilhelm II in the Bellevue Palace in Berlin, containing offers relating to the post-war period - Sauerbruch had already received the German Kaiser as part of the Autumn maneuvers of 1912 in Zurich). Sauerbruch describes the “only work” time in Zurich as the happiest of his life. He refused calls to Halle and Königsberg . The Sauerbruch friends in Zurich included the wealthy factory owner Ernst Zollinger-Jenny and his wife.

With the outbreak of the First World War in July 1914, Sauerbruch spoke to District President Ernst (see above) and was given an indefinite leave of absence so that Sauerbruch could register as a volunteer in Germany. Sauerbruch's representation was taken over by his senior physician Carl Henschen , who also looked after Sauerbruch's family in Zurich. He telegraphed his readiness to serve in the army to the German embassy in Bern. Thereupon he was appointed senior staff physician and (instead of the elderly privy councilor Madelung , who held the surgical chair at the University of Strasbourg ), consultant surgeon of the 15th Army Corps in Strasbourg and carried out this activity until 1915. To do this, he first drove to Lörrach at the beginning of August 1914 and finally reached Strasbourg. There he began his service together with his operations attendant Rohde, whom he had called in as a medical sergeant. During the war he worked in the vineyards of the Vosges and near Ypres . At the beginning of the First World War, Sauerbruch had advertised in the neutral Confederation for service in hospitals in Baden. A team of five Swiss doctors was sent to Heidelberg in 1914 to set up a military hospital in the town hall there. After negotiations between the Swiss and the German government, Sauerbruch was given leave of absence by the army in early 1915 in order to continue his activities at the Zurich clinic. Different assessments of Sauerbruch as a foreign boss and allegations against him were probably related to the groups existing in Switzerland, one of which had wished the Germans the victory , the other the Entente (a little later he was also accused that he German Army personnel operated with Swiss instruments, the export of which had been banned).

From 1915 onwards, during the university holidays in Zurich, he was in charge of the reserve hospital attached to the surgical university clinic in Greifswald. After he had presented his method of supplying amputees with a hand prosthesis to the head of field medical services Otto von Schjerning in Berlin, the latter had a hospital set up on the Swiss border (Schjerning's adjutant, Georg Schmidt, who later worked as Sauerbruch's senior physician in Munich, supported Sauerbruch then with the introduction of the "Sauerbruch prosthesis"). In this "club hospital Singen ", which was run by the Sisterhood of the Red Cross, the doctor Alfred Stadler (his wife Angela, née Westernhagen headed the sisterhood) under the guidance of Sauerbruch, who traveled from Zurich , fitted prostheses to amputated soldiers . Inspired by the professor of mechanical engineering Aurel Stodola , Sauerbruch continued to work on the construction of artificial limbs and the use of muscles that were still present after an amputation to control movable prostheses. The starting point was also an “iron hand” of Götz von Berlichingen , which his family gave him for research purposes. In Singen, in addition to his activities in Zurich and visits to the factory for surgical instruments in Tuttlingen ( Aesculap works ), Sauerbruch worked at the hospital there until the end of the war in 1918. In Zurich in 1915 he converted two villas in Carmenstrasse on the slope of the Adlisberg into a private clinic occupied by St. Anna sisters (Lucerne) .

At the beginning of 1918 Sauerbruch was ordered to Berlin and received from the German Emperor the task of being a trusted “postman” or secret courier to King Ferdinand of Bulgaria and Mehmed V , the Sultan of Turkey, with confidential letters that the distribution of Balkan interests after the war Content had to be delivered. Officially, Sauerbruch was supposed to appear as a medical officer (senior staff doctor) in the army and inspector of the medical services in Bulgaria and Turkey. His first stop was the main hospital in Sofia . After handing the emperor's letter to the Bulgarian ruler, Sauerbruch traveled to " Constantinople " and moved to the Pera Palace Hotel and, a few days later, at the request of Lieutenant General Otto Liman von Sanders , the head of the German military mission, from where Sauerbruch then called to the "Palais Dolmâ-Bagdschê" and handed the emperor's letter to the sultan. Before leaving for Germany, Sauerbruch is said to have diagnosed a childhood friend called Erika, who was trapped in the sultan's harem, with a lung disease that could only be cured by surgery in Zurich. Later, long after the First World War, but before 1929, he met her again in Leipzig in the establishment “Zum Blaue Affen” run by “Madame Erika”, where, according to Sauerbruch, “kitharists” were active.

Munich (1918 to 1928)

In 1918 Sauerbruch accepted an offer to him by the Royal Bavarian Government in Munich in the summer of 1918, where a new operating theater was built at his request, which also offered space for Sauerbruch's vacuum chamber. His successor in Zurich was Paul Clairmont , a student of Sauerbruch's friend Eiselsberg. From the winter semester of 1918/1919 to 1928 he was a full professor of surgery at the University of Munich . In 1918, when he took up his position as head of the surgical university clinic in Munich, he was appointed Privy Councilor by the King of Bavaria and given the title of General Doctor in the Bavarian Army.

Soon after Sauerbruch's move (initially he lived in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof ), his wife and four children also moved to Munich in October and November 1918 (during the November Revolution ). The move, which was watched by officials from customs and the "Political Surveillance Service", was organized by his wife. There Sauerbruch rented a villa in a large garden on the Theresienhöhe , a few steps behind the Bavaria cellar of the brewery, from the children of Georg Pschorr (1830-1894), the founder of the Pschorr brewery. Of Sauerbruch's employees, he was followed from Zurich by his secretary Johanna Leske, Gustav Kratzat as a nurse and his senior physician Eduard Stierlin (1878-1919), as well as the later Zurich professor Anton Brunner and his colleagues Jehn and Birkelbach mentioned above in March 1919. In Sauerbruch also ran his private clinic on the premises of Munich University. Sauerbruch was also active as a consultant in many Bavarian cities during his time in Munich.

On February 21, 1919, Ferdinand Sauerbruch saved Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley , the murderer of the left-wing socialist writer and Bavarian Prime Minister Kurt Eisner , who had just been shot in Munich , with a spectacular emergency operation, and on the evening of the same day he operated on the one in revenge for the killing of Eisner Social Democrat leader Erhard Auer, who was also shot . After Sauerbruch had operated on Arco and refused his discharge from the hospital and the surrender of the man sentenced to death to the revolutionaries, he was arrested by them and in the Munich suburb of Haidhausen , where the painter Franz von Stuck (in Munich then a friend of the family Sauerbruch) was arrested. He himself (with the help of the son of a former patient) narrowly escaped being sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court.

In the meantime, Count Arco was taken from the clinic and taken prisoner, but was transferred to the psychiatric clinic with a ruse by Sauerbruch's senior physician Jehn, where he was kept hidden until the Munich council government was defeated.

For Sauerbruch, the first few years in Munich were shaped financially by debts still incurred in Switzerland and the existing inflation. Foreign private patients from Sauerbruch, who paid in foreign exchange, helped to overcome this situation. On May 2, 1919, Sauerbruch co-founded the company DERSA (Deutsche Ersatzgliedergesellschaft Sauerbruch GmbH), which existed until 1920 and has its headquarters in Singen, with Swiss friends (this refers to the Brown, Boveri & Co. company headed by Walter Boveri under its general manager Karl Schnetzler) specialized in the manufacture of individually adaptable prostheses (later Deutsche Ersatzglieder-Werkstätten DERSA Dr. König KG, Reichenbachstrasse 24, 80469 Munich). The company emerged from a workshop of the master mechanic and locksmith Martin Schechtl and was again called the mechanical workshop and installation shop Martin Schechtl after 1920 ).

As part of his “representative duties” in opera, theater and concerts, Sauerbruch met the actress Tilla Durieux , who was operated on by him in May 1919, and through her the art dealer Paul Cassirer . The daughter of the chemist and industrialist Carl Duisberg was also operated on by Sauerbruch in 1919, from which a friendly relationship developed between Sauerbruch and Duisberg. Duisberg supported the Sauerbruch Clinic, where some preparations from the Bayer works , where Duisberg worked, were tested.

After the Munich Hitler putsch on 8/9 November 1923, Sauerbruch is said to have treated the injured left shoulder of Adolf Hitler , who had fled from the police, in Ernst Hanfstaengl's Uffinger domicile . According to Sauerbruch, this story was fictitious.

During his time in Munich, Erna Hanfstaengl (1885–1981), Ernst Hanfstaengl's older sister, introduced Sauerbruch to the world of theater. The relationship with her made Sauerbruch think of a divorce from his wife.

At the celebration of his 50th birthday in 1925 in the villa on the “Bavariahöhe” , around 200 people appeared. A “torchlight procession for Privy Councilor Sauerbruch” that took place the previous evening paralyzed traffic in Munich completely. At this time the Innsbruck surgeon Haberer , the Tübingen surgeon Perthes and the Viennese surgeon Breitner as well as the painters von Stuck (see above), Zumbusch and other artists were part of the "domestic dealings" of the Sauerbruchs . The successful French surgeon Gosset, who operated on Georges Clemenceau after an assassination attempt in 1919 , was also one of Sauerbruch's friends.

In 1927 Sauerbruch undertook a trip to South America on the occasion of the invitation from the Surgeons Association of Argentina to present his methods of thoracic surgery, on which his senior physician, the surgery professor Rudolf Nissen, accompanied him.

Sauerbruch's prominent patients in Munich included the blind landgrave and composer Alexander von Hessen , who composed a mass for the clinic's sisterhood. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen , the discoverer of the rays named after him and the first Nobel Prize in Physics, had a small tumor removed from Sauerbruch's neck shortly before his death in 1923.

The Prussian Ministry of Culture asked Sauerbruch in 1927 whether he wanted to come to Berlin to fill the chair in the Reich capital. Sauerbruch initially commuted, as negotiated with the ministry, for six months between the Charité in Berlin and the Surgical University Clinic in Munich: Monday to Wednesday lectures and operations in Berlin, Thursday to Saturday the same workload in Munich. After Sauerbruch had been honored with a torchlight procession by his students, he held a farewell party with prominent guests in the Preysing Palais .

Berlin (from 1928)

Inauguration of the surgical university clinic on Schumannstrasse in Berlin, 1929
Max Liebermann : The Surgeon (1932), Hamburger Kunsthalle

In the spring of 1928, after making his decision at the end of 1927, he finally moved to the Charité (see also Surgical Chairs in Berlin ), where he became full professor and thus director of the surgical university clinic alongside August Bier . Nissen and Emil Karl Frey of his Munich employees also went to Berlin (others followed). From Berlin, Sauerbruch continued to occasionally travel to Switzerland as a consultant. In 1929, on Sauerbruch's advice, the Surgical University Clinic on Schumannstrasse was rebuilt.

Around 1930 Ferdinand and his wife Ada Sauerbruch bought an old vacant house in Koblanckstrasse ( Colonie Alsen ) on Wannsee . The passionate rider Sauerbruch was made aware of the house, which is equipped with a stable, by Margarete Oppenheim (wife of Franz Oppenheim ), who also lived in a house on the Wannsee during the summer months and who got to know the Sauerbruchs through Richard Willstätter (see below). His neighbor, the painter Max Liebermann , who lived across from the Oppenheim estate , with whom the Sauerbruch couple became friends, and who was also treated by Sauerbruch for a hernia , completed a portrait of Sauerbruch in 1932 and named it The Surgeon . The famous oil painting was initially acquired by the British Museum. Despite the increasing reprisals to which the Jewish Liebermann was exposed by the National Socialists, the friendly relationship continued, so that Sauerbruch and his son Hans Sauerbruch were among the few who took part in the funeral procession for Max Liebermann after his death in Berlin in 1935.

From late 1930 to January 1931, Sauerbruch stayed in Egypt at the invitation of the Medical Faculty of Cairo University. He worked there as a visiting lecturer, also carried out some operations and discussed with King Fu'ad I his measures to improve public health, which were supported by the Rockefeller Foundation .

During the National Socialism (1933 to 1945)

According to the historian Udo Benzenhöfer, Sauerbruch proved to be a “fluctuating, differentiating supporter” of National Socialism during the “ Third Reich ” (1933–1945) . In November 1933, he wrote his own letter, “To the Doctors of the World”, in which professors at German universities and colleges committed to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist state , which he was one of the main speakers at a major event. He was co-author of an anthology Germany calls for equality , which was published in 1933 by the Nazi-friendly Armanen-Verlag . After Paul von Hindenburg's death, Hermann Göring , the President of the Prussian State Council , appointed him to the State Council in 1934 (to publicly acknowledge his medical efforts in his medical care) .

On the other hand, even after 1933, Sauerbruch tried not to tear off contacts with Jewish friends and acquaintances, stood up for them and accepted inconvenience from the regime. This is reported by Robert MW Kempner , the chemist and Nobel Prize winner Richard Willstätter (Sauerbruch's friend, since he had treated Willstätters daughter in Munich) and Paul Rosenstein .

Sauerbruch's best student and one of his favorite students in Munich, the surgeon Rudolf Nissen , was of Jewish descent. Nissen had moved to Turkey in the spring of 1933 (after Sauerbruch had not taken on a teaching position requested by the Turkish government at the new Istanbul University and instead recommended and sent Nissen) to Turkey, where he had taken on a chair at the University of Istanbul . Sauerbruch also maintained contacts in Turkey during the Nazi era . Nissen himself writes in his autobiography that his teacher was not an anti-Semite and that he helped numerous emigrated colleagues with letters of recommendation. Philipp Schwartz , on the other hand, reports that Sauerbruch tried to replace the refugees with Nazi doctors loyal to the regime in 1935 - after (most) three-year contracts of the doctors who fled to Turkey had expired , but that was prevented by Ambassador Wilhelm Fabricius at the time. In the Sauerbruch estate there were lists of names of emigrants who were denounced as “non-Aryan”.

At the German Surgeon Congress in 1934, Sauerbruch gave a speech in recognition of his friend and Heidelberg professor Martin Kirschner . At the beginning of his time in Berlin, Sauerbruch did not have a private practice there, but treated his private patients in the West Sanatorium on Joachimsthaler Strasse . Then he leased a floor in the Landhaus Clinic until he had set up a private ward in the university clinic.

General doctor Sauerbruch in Brussels, 1943

From 1935 on, Sauerbruch acted as curator of the General Institute against Tumor Diseases, which was newly founded at the Rudolf Virchow Hospital in Berlin . In 1937 he was appointed to the Reich Research Council as a reviewer , after having been a member of the main committee of the German Research Foundation since the mid-thirties.

At the end of the 1930s, Sauerbruch divorced his first wife Ada and in 1939 married his colleague Margot Großmann (1903–1995) from Großröhrsdorf , with whom he moved into the Villa at Herthastraße 11 in the Berlin district of Grunewald . The house on Wannsee kept his first wife.

In 1937 Sauerbruch was one of the speakers at an international surgeon congress in London. During the Second World War, Sauerbruch was commissioned, among other things, after the “France campaign” in 1940 with the inspection of the “medical services of the Wehrmacht” and hospitals in occupied areas of France, Belgium and Holland, and in spring 1942 with inspections on the Eastern Front (areas of Stalino , Krasnodar , Crimea and Dnepropetrovsk ). In 1942, Sauerbruch met his former assistant, Hitler's personal physician Karl Brandt , who had meanwhile been appointed professor of surgery, at the Führer headquarters in Werwolf , before he flew to Turkey on behalf of Hitler to treat the Turkish Foreign Minister Numan Menemencioğlu .

According to the autobiography Sauerbruch published in 1951, his patients during the Nazi era included the Minister of Education Bernhard Rust , whom he surgically treated in his apartment, the Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels , who was a patient at the Charité Sauerbruch, the " Strength through Joy " director Robert Ley , who had an operation on the buttocks, and the Reich President Paul von Hindenburg (whose actual personal physician was the specialist in physical healing methods and Professor Hugo Adam), who treated Sauerbruch in his palace on Wilhelmsstrasse and later at Gut Neudeck until shortly before Hindenburg's death , where in 1934 Sauerbruch's senior physician Hermann Krauss also looked after Hindenburg. (The Charité nurse Josef Schmidt, who was commissioned by Sauerbruch, had also moved into a room in Neudeck.) Actress Adele Sandrock also went to the Charité for the surgical treatment of a thigh fracture , where she was treated by Sauerbruch, with whom she was on a duel.

General staff officer Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was also one of Sauerbruch's patients after he was seriously wounded in Africa on April 7, 1943 and then flown to Berlin.

In January 1937 Sauerbruch is said to have warned that Hitler, whom he had known since 1920 (but had only seen four times in total - for example in 1934 shortly before Paul von Hindenburg's death in Neudeck and in 1942 at the Führer headquarters in Winniza ) and as a borderline case between “genius and madness ”Said the“ craziest criminal in the world ”could become. Nonetheless, on September 7 of the same year at the Nazi Party Congress in the Nuremberg Opera House, he accepted the German National Prize for Art and Science donated by Hitler in 1937 (shared with surgery professor August Bier ). The introduction of this prize was the National Socialists' response to the Nobel Peace Prize for Carl von Ossietzky . The division of the German National Prize endowed with 100,000 Reichsmarks occurred as a result of massive protests by Gerhard Wagner , Reichsärzteführer and head of the Office for Public Health in the Reich leadership of the NSDAP, against the nomination of Sauerbruch. Sauerbruch protested against the National Socialist “euthanasia” program and temporarily offered the anti-regime “ Wednesday Society ” as its member space in his house in Berlin-Wannsee .

Since some members of the Wednesday Society were among the "conspirators" of the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944 , Sauerbruch (his son Peter, who was friends with Stauffenberg, was arrested after the assassination attempt) was questioned several times by Ernst Kaltenbrunner , the head of the Reich Security Main Office (in particular because he drove Ludwig Beck (see below) to Olbricht's house on July 18th and the names Popitz, Beck, Hassell, Olbricht, Jessen, Kempner and Planck were noted on a guest list for his birthday party on July 3rd), escaped an arrest. Colonel General Ludwig Beck , who also belonged to the Wednesday Society and had warned against Hitler's bellicose behavior, introduced Sauerbruch to Friedrich Olbricht , Carl Friedrich Goerdeler , Georg Thomas and Hans Oster . (Beck, who had cancer in 1942, was operated on by Sauerbruch in 1943.) This group, which is said to have met frequently in Sauerbruch's house, also included Sauerbruch's “best friend”, the former Prussian finance minister Johannes Popitz . According to his autobiography, Sauerbruch's house was also the meeting place for Beck, Olbricht and Stauffenberg. Karl Gebhardt (see above), like Karl Brandt executed on June 2, 1948, is said to have convinced Hitler of Ferdinand Sauerbruch's innocence in relation to the July 20 assassination attempt, whereupon the investigation against him was discontinued. (Peter Sauerbruch was also able to leave the prison.)

When the attacks on Berlin began in 1945, Ferdinand and Margot Sauerbruch worked in the Charité's large operations bunker, where they lived in the corridor to the X-ray department with two camp beds.

After the war

Sauerbruch at the Charité , 1946

Less than two weeks after the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht , the Soviet military administration in Germany created a magistrate for Berlin. She appointed the former general doctor and state councilor Sauerbruch as city councilor for health care ("Head of the Berlin Sanitary System") and on May 10, 1945, Hans Mahle arranged for him to be Walter Ulbricht in the matter at Prinzenallee 80 (today Einbecker Straße 41 ) personally introduced. Sauerbruch called for a return to humanity and democracy. For example, he signed the CDU's appeal for the founding of the CDU in Berlin on June 26, 1945. He called on all men and women to take an active part in the reconstruction of the country. On the other hand, he later clearly opposed the reappraisal of the involvement of German doctors in National Socialist crimes by Alexander Mitscherlich . On October 12, 1945, he was dismissed from the city council by the Allied Control Council at the insistence of the Americans on charges of having contributed to the increase in the reputation of the National Socialist dictatorship during the Nazi era .

At the beginning of the 1st Zone Conference of Surgeons in the Soviet Occupation Zone on May 18-21 . July 1947 he said:

“Two and a half years after the collapse of the German Reich, our people are still judged harshly, negatively and one-sidedly. We understand restraint, but miss the attempt to take our mistakes, attacks and derailments, at least to an appropriate extent, as a consequence of fate. ... Ruthless coercion, which increased to the point of rape of the people, threatened many who left their homeland because of it. Upright men, who recognized the danger of the impending development, were under a dictatorship that cruelly suppressed resistance and defense. Germany will make amends for whatever catastrophes happened under this unfortunate regime. It is obliged and ready to do so. "

- Sauerbruch

Many of the patients treated at the time were Soviet officers who Sauerbruch treated in his private ward. The Russian city commandant Nikolai Erastowitsch Bersarin is said to have visited Sauerbruch often privately at the Charité. Sauerbruch carried out the surgical correction of her leg that was eight inches too short for the daughter of a Soviet general who had traveled from Halle with her parents.

Soon afterwards, Sauerbruch resigned from all his offices. A denazification process opened on April 22, 1949 against Sauerbruch in West Berlin ended with an acquittal on July 26, 1949, emphasizing that "Sauerbruch always stayed away from National Socialism and helped numerous people persecuted for political or racial reasons."

In the last years of his life he continued to work as a surgeon at the Charité and after his retirement for financial reasons at the private clinic of his friend Julius Jungbluth in Berlin-Grunewald . Problems arose when he continued to do this job even though his abilities deteriorated as a result of progressive dementia . On December 6, 1949, the GDR newspapers announced: “In the course of the general retirement of the over 70-year-old teachers, Ferdinand Sauerbruch asked to resign from his position as professor at the Humboldt University and as head of the surgical clinic at the Berlin Charité deliver. ”The request was granted. Thus his representative Max Madlener ran the clinic as acting director in 1949/50. Sauerbruch was officially adopted on June 6, 1950 by the dean Theodor Brugsch at the meeting of the Berlin Surgical Society in the lecture hall of the surgical clinic. A senior official from the ministry was present. He was followed by Willi Felix , who had already worked for Sauerbruch in the 1920s in Munich and Berlin.

In the year of his death, Sauerbruch's cheerful, melancholy memoirs were published. That was my life , which achieved high editions. The text comes from the journalist and writer Hans Rudolf Berndorff ; its truthfulness was vehemently denied by the surgery professor Rudolf Nissen, the former student and senior physician Sauerbruch, who led a dispute with the author and the publisher about it. The book was filmed in 1954 under the title Sauerbruch - That Was My Life . The film depicts Sauerbruch's life and work in a clearly positive and distorted manner; there is no evidence of an affinity to the Nazi regime, nor is Sauerbruch's character, portrayed as almost selfless, relativized.

Ferdinand Sauerbruch, who suffered from a severe vascular disease, was in his last days in the Urban Hospital , supervised medically by Max Madlener, who was in 1950 appointed there to the chief doctor and died one day before his 76th birthday of complications from existing cerebral sclerosis He was buried in Dept. AT-58 at the Wannsee cemetery, Lindenstrasse . His grave has been dedicated to the city of Berlin as an honorary grave since 1967 .


Mikulicz and Sauerbruch vacuum chamber

Sauerbruch was one of the most important and influential surgeons in the first half of the 20th century. His students occupied numerous surgical chairs in Germany and abroad. In addition to his friend Emil Karl Frey , who was a senior physician at Sauerbruch and later became the holder of the Munich chair for surgery, his most important students include the Swiss Alfred Brunner , who was Sauerbruch's student in Zurich and Munich, and Max Lebsche , who was in Sauerbruch in Munich headed the polyclinic and later opened a private clinic, Rudolf Nissen , who emigrated to Turkey in 1933 and later also became a respected surgeon in New York and Basel, Hermann Krauss (head of the surgical department of the district hospital in Göppingen and professor in Freiburg), Wilhelm Fick (until 1937 senior physician at Sauerbruch, then chief physician of the Rudolf Virchow hospital and later a private clinic in Munich), Oskar Übelhör (until 1935 with Sauerbruch and later chief physician of the hospital at Parkstrasse 7 in Geislingen an der Steige ), Wilhelm Jehn (student Sauerbruchs in Munich and later chief physician and predecessor of Albert Lezius in Mainz) and his successor r at the Charité, the surgery professor Willi Felix . Sauerbruch's clinic was frequented by foreign surgeons.

Sauerbruch became famous as early as 1905 through the introduction of a procedure that allowed the surgical opening of the chest. Normally, an opening of the chest cavity causes air to collect in the pleura and thereby relieve the negative pressure prevailing there: the lungs collapse ( pneumothorax ). To prevent this, he had invented a special "pneumatic chamber". With his boss, the privy councilor Johann von Mikulicz , Sauerbruch constructed, after a few weeks before he had independently and secretly carried out such experiments in over 70 animal experiments (first on the dog "Caesar") and a small dispute with Mikulicz had been settled with the help of Wilhelm Anschütz , In 1904 a large chamber with a negative pressure of about one hundred hPa ; In it, operations in the chest could take place under negative pressure conditions. This negative pressure chamber is a forerunner of the iron lung . Sauerbruch and Mikulicz presented a smaller vacuum chamber (a wooden box with a volume of two cubic meters) for surgery on animals on the occasion of an international surgeon congress in Berlin on April 6, 1904. The large one, which Mikulicz then had made in Wroclaw, had a capacity of 14 cubic meters and was intended for human operations. The first person Mikulicz operated on dogs in this chamber after thirteen successful thoracic openings was a woman with esophageal cancer who, however, died during the operation as the negative pressure in the chamber was released. The next procedure that Mikulicz undertook in his private clinic with Sauerbruch's negative pressure chamber was to remove the tumor below the breastbone in a forty-year-old patient. The operation with a wide opening of the chest was survived this time and further thoracic surgery on people using the negative pressure chamber followed; Usually Mikulicz was the surgeon. Sauerbruch himself carried out his first operation of this kind in 1905 on a woman suffering from breast cancer who had already had an operation but had another tumor that had grown together with a rib. As a full professor in Zurich, Sauerbruch also successfully applied his pressure differential method to patients from 1910 onwards. Lung specialists from Davos, Davos-Wolfgang and other Swiss tuberculosis centers, including Karl Turban and Theodor Kocher with his sons (a surgeon and an internist), witnessed these operations . In autumn 1913, Sauerbruch demonstrated his “chamber” at the International Surgeons' Congress in London and gave a lecture on the physiological and physical principles of intrathoracic surgery in my pneumatic operating chamber .

In order to be able to operate on the lungs of those suffering from tuberculosis as little as possible in the chest, Sauerbruch paralyzed their diaphragm . (A diaphragmatic paralysis by severing the phrenic nerve had previously only occurred in animal experiments around 1903.) If the lungs were already too overgrown, he removed parts of the ribs in order to be able to generate a therapeutic (artificial) pneumothorax . With Emil Karl Frey , Sauerbruch in Munich had invented not only other surgical instruments for lung surgery, but also a special instrument for removing the anatomically difficult to access first rib. In Zurich he developed his method of the intercostal incision, the "intercostal incision" for thoracotomy . Sauerbruch also made significant improvements in heart , stomach and esophageal surgery. During his time in Munich (1918 to 1928) he had already performed heart surgery using the differential pressure method. In 1934 he succeeded in the first heart aneurysm operation. In 1937 Sauerbruch reported in London on the field of cardiac surgery. In 1911 Sauerbruch's technique of thoracic surgery was published, which was called surgery of the thoracic organs in the following editions (1920–1925, two volumes ) and from 1937 was also published in English as Thoracic surgery .

The Sauerbruch pressure differential method was modified by Ludolf Brauer (internist) in such a way that a negative pressure was not generated on the outside, but rather the lungs were stabilized from the inside with a slight positive pressure ( CPAP ventilation ). Sauerbruch and Mikulicz had already carried out such tests in Breslau (in 1951 he and Hans Rudolf Berndorff wrote : "Both processes were on the same level. It was irrelevant whether under or overpressure"). Sauerbruch's negative attitude towards this alternative method and his influence in National Socialist government circles prevented the spread of endotracheal intubation with mechanical ventilation, which competed with his pressure differential method, and thus hindered the development of modern anesthesiology until the end of the Second World War . (In the USA, the possibility of intratracheal pressure increase for thoracic surgery had already been considered around 1908.)

In addition, after he had dealt intensively with the history and basics of limb prostheses from 1915, Sauerbruch developed a forearm prosthesis (so-called Sauerbruch arm ) in which a channel was laid through the upper arm muscles. Stodola, who made various hand prostheses with Sauerbruch, had previously suggested to Sauerbruch to use the muscles present on the amputation stump as a power source for arbitrarily movable prostheses, as first developed by the surgical technician and dentist Peter Baliff. ( Sauerbruch also came across this idea of ​​realizing an “artificial hand” in the diary of the surgeon Dominique Jean Larrey .) The prosthesis had an ivory bolt that was passed through this canal. In this way, he wanted to use the still existing reflexes of movement for handling the forearm of the prosthesis. Sauerbruch used the hand developed by Jakob Hüfner . The “Sauerbruch arm” helped many injured soldiers, although it proved to be problematic because inflammations frequently occurred in the canal . Prominent Sauerbruch patients were Hanno Hahn , Otto Hahn's son , Erich Ludendorff and the aforementioned Claus von Stauffenberg , one of the main figures in the military resistance against Hitler. However, Stauffenberg received a different prosthesis than that developed by Sauerbruch.

Not least because of the world wars , the movable prostheses he developed found widespread use.

One of his patients was the painter and sculptor Hubert Weber , who died in 2013 and who had lost both hands in the war. He was operated on ten times within a year, with Sauerbruch performing all important operations himself. The left upper arm was spanned with half the tibia over a length of 17 cm. A successful overvoltage of this magnitude was a unique achievement at the time. After the right arm had first been restored to such an extent that Hubert Weber could wear and operate an arbitrarily movable Sauerbruch prosthesis, he began to draw. Sauerbruch was impressed by his pen drawings and often took his patient with him to the classroom, where he let him demonstrate his newly acquired skills. When the worse injured left arm was restored to such an extent that Hubert Weber could also wear an arbitrarily movable Sauerbruch prosthesis on the left, he accompanied Sauerbruch to congresses in order to demonstrate his possibilities of movement with the new hands. Sauerbruch recognized Hubert Weber's talent and persistence and advised him to make art his profession. With Sauerbruch's help, Weber was able to complete an introductory course during his healing at the Reimann School in Berlin in preparation for his later art studies. After his discharge from the Charité , Hubert Weber made his first portrait of Sauerbruch and presented it to him in the lecture hall.

In Munich, Sauerbruch carried out the overturning plastic surgery named after him for the first time, in which he removed the affected section of bone from a young man with a malignant tumor of the thigh bone and replaced it with a lower leg bone. This enabled his patient to have a lower leg prosthesis instead of having the entire leg amputated. He then operated on a thirteen-year-old girl using this new method.

Sauerbruch was also often visited to examine children from all over Silesia with "water heads" . He treated this with multiple punctures to drain cerebral spinal fluid . Around 1925, Sauerbruch in Munich also removed a brain tumor from a patient with epilepsy. Thus Sauerbuch was not only a pioneer in the field of thoracic surgery, but also one of the pioneers of brain surgery and surgery of the cranial cavity .

In addition, Sauerbruch was one of the first doctors to describe acute stress as the cause of Graves’s disease , an autoimmune form of hyperthyroidism , which Sauerbruch had been dealing with in detail since his time in Wroclaw, just as his boss Mikulicz had done before him. During his work as a military doctor in World War I , he noticed the unusually frequent occurrence of this disease in soldiers after extreme psychological stress.

Memberships and honors

Ferdinand Sauerbruch was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine about sixty times between 1912 and 1951 - more often than any other surgeon during this period, but without ever having received the award.



Bronze bust of Nando Barberi in Berlin-Grunewald

The asteroid (13086) Sauerbruch and the Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Gymnasium in Großröhrsdorf , Saxony , were named after him.

radio play


  • Sauerbruch - That was my life (FRG 1954), feature film based on Sauerbruch's alleged autobiography of the same title. With Ewald Balser in the lead role.
  • The Dark Years (TV of the GDR, December 18, 1983), part of the cycle Famous Doctors at the Charité . With Alfred Müller as Privy Councilor Ferdinand Sauerbruch.
  • Sauerbruch is portrayed by Ulrich Noethen in the second season of the Charité television series , which takes place during the war years 1943–1945 .

Today's assessment of the relationship with the Nazi regime

In 2014, the city of Hanover appointed an advisory board made up of experts to check whether people who gave their names to streets “had active participation in the Nazi regime or serious personal actions against humanity”. In October 2015, the advisory board recommended that ten streets be renamed, including Sauerbruchweg in the Groß-Buchholz district . According to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, "the report does not read like a verdict on a main Nazi perpetrator," as Sauerbruch was neither a party member nor an anti-Semite, kept in touch with Jewish friends like Max Liebermann and protested personally to the Reich Minister of Justice against the euthanasia program, However, he must have been aware of experiments on concentration camp prisoners, which, according to the advisory board, supported the deeds of the Nazi injustice system. The historian Christian Hardinghaus came to a different conclusion in 2019 after reviewing the research proposals directed to Sauerbruch: none of the proposals directed to Sauerbruch contain any reference to attempts that harmed people. However, since this was the case in three known cases, as it turned out in the Nuremberg doctors' trial from 1946, the applications must have been deliberately concealed. With this, Hardinghaus supports the assessment of the historian Notker Hammerstein , who wrote as early as 1999 that all applications that Sauerbruch received as head of the medicine department in the Reichsforschungsrat belong to classic and serious anthropological topics that do not allow any evidence of experiments on or harm to people. The Hanover Advisory Board criticized Sauerbruch for not having protested against a human experiment that was presented at the Eastern Conference in May 1943. There Sauerbruch's former student, the surgeon and sports medicine professor Karl Gebhardt , who is now in charge of the Hohenlychen institution, spoke to the military and SS doctors about sulfonamide experiments on convicted partisans. Hardinghaus is of the opinion that protest would not have been possible without accepting one's own execution and reprisals against family members. Anyone who contradicted the SS during this time that sulfonamides were necessary in the treatment of gas fire , as Gebhardt announced after Reinhard Heydrich had allegedly died of gas fire about a year earlier, would have had little chance of survival.

On November 1, 2018, the Advisory Board presented its final report and recommended that 17 streets be renamed, including the Sauerbruchweg. Local politicians from both the SPD and the CDU immediately appealed. The recommendations are "clearly not a majority" in the Buchholz-Kleefeld district council and the majority of the residents are against renaming.

In his biography Ferdinand Sauerbruch and the Charité, Hardinghaus evaluates the diary of the forced surgeon Adolphe Jung and comes to the conclusion that Sauerbruch had secretly but demonstrably collaborated with the opponents of the Nazi regime.


Ferdinand Sauerbruch's son Hans Sauerbruch (1910–1996) was a well-known painter and the father of the architect Matthias Sauerbruch and the artist Horst Sauerbruch . The second son Friedrich (born August 31, 1911 in Zurich), called "Friedel" by his father, also became a surgeon, assisted his father, was senior physician from July 1, 1942 and in the same year worked as a military doctor in a front hospital. After the war he returned from a prison camp in Lower Silesia whose Russian commanders had treated his father as head of the surgical clinic in Berlin. Friedrich Sauerbruch lived in Berlin, where he was a surgeon at the Charité, and later in Moers . The third son Peter Sauerbruch (born June 5, 1913 in Zurich; † September 29, 2010) became a professional officer after he had been enlisted in the cavalry regiment in Bamberg and received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in 1943 . He was privy to the plans for the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944 by Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, with whom he was friends and corresponded. Sauerbruch's daughter Marilen (born April 27, 1917 in Zurich), referred to by Ferdinand Sauerbruch as "The Cat" or "Cat Woman", married Arthur Georgi junior , who, as a publishing bookseller, was a partner in Paul Parey Verlag and was the first chairman of the German Book Trade Association . The grandson Tilman Sauerbruch held the chair for internal medicine at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn from 1992 to 2012 .

Publications (selection)

  • A contribution to the metabolism of calcium and phosphoric acid in infantile osteomalacia. Medical dissertation Leipzig 1902.
  • Clinical contributions to the diagnosis of purulent perityphlitis. In: Correspondence sheets of the General Medical Association of Thuringia. Volume 31, Issue 7, 1902, pp. 313-322.
  • Experimental information on intestinal injuries after abdominal contusions based on a case of rectal rupture. In: Correspondence sheets of the General Medical Association of Thuringia. Volume 32, Issue 2, 1903, pp. 21-26.
  • with Emil Dagobert Schumacher (and others): Technique of Thoracic Surgery. Julius Springer, Berlin 1911; first edition of:
  • Surgery of the thoracic organs. 2 volumes. 1920-1925; 3. Edition. Springer, 1928.
  • Hans Weberstedt (ed.): Germany demands equality. A collection of essays and broadcasts on the issues of equality, security and disarmament. Armanen -Verlag, Leipzig 1933 (together with the anti-Semites Johann von Leers , Wilhelm Ziegler and others Nazi greats).
  • with Rudolf Nissen: General Operations. Leipzig 1933.
  • with Hans Wenke: The nature and meaning of pain. Junker & Dünnhaupt, Berlin 1936.
  • Surgical interventions on the heart. Lecture given in London in 1937. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch, Hans Rudolf Berndorff: That was my life. (1951) 1956, pp. 368-385.
  • with Hans Rudolf Berndorff : That was my life. Kindler & Schiermeyer, Bad Wörishofen 1951 [ foreword : Berlin-Grunewald, June 27, 1950] (with an appendix by Hans Rudolf Berndorff); several new editions, e.g. licensed edition for Bertelsmann Lesering, Gütersloh 1956, Knaur, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-426-75026-0 . (The publisher's claim that it is even remotely an “autobiography” is denied by his student Rudolf Nissen ; in: Helle Blätter, dunkle Blätter (172 ff.) He describes exactly how the text came about at the time of Sauerbruch's severe memory disorders The actual author was Hans Rudolf Berndorff, and the book was full of errors. However, Sauerbruch had already started to write down his memories in 1910.)
  • Lecture ("Description of the history of surgery, its position in the present and the importance of this branch of medicine"), given in the Prussian Academy of Sciences. In: Hans Rudolf Berndorff: A life for surgery. Obituary for Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. (1951) 1956, pp. 456-478, here: pp. 460-478.


  • Marc Dewey, U. Schagen, Wolfgang U. Eckart , E. Schönenberger: Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch and his ambiguous role in the period of National Socialism. In: Annals of Surgery . August 2006, Volume 244, Issue 2, pp. 315–321, PMID 16858197 , PMC 1602148 (free full text)
  • Tibor Doby: Development of Angiography and Cardiovascular Catheterization. Littleton, Mass. 1976, pp. 123-126.
  • Wolfgang U. Eckart : Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875–1951). In: Michael Fröhlich (ed.): The Weimar Republic. Portrait of an Era in Biographies. Darmstadt 2002, pp. 175-187.
  • Wolfgang U. Eckart: Ferdinand Sauerbruch - master surgeon in a political storm. A compact biography for doctors and patients. Springer, Wiesbaden 2016, ISBN 978-3-658-12547-9 . Online resource Ferdinand Sauerbruch 2016 .
  • Werner E. GerabekFerdinand Sauerbruch. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , p. 459 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Christian Hardinghaus : Ferdinand Sauerbruch and the Charité - Operations against Hitler Europa Verlag, Munich 2019, ISBN 978-3-95890-236-7 .
  • Martin Friedrich Karpa: The history of the arm prosthesis with special consideration of the performance of Ferdinand Sauerbruch. Diss. Med., RUB 2005 full text (PDF; 4.7 MB).
  • Hans Rudolf Berndorff : Tryst with death. A forgotten episode from Sauerbruch's life. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch, Hans Rudolf Berndorff: That was my life. Kindler & Schiermeyer, Bad Wörishofen 1951; used: Licensed edition for Bertelsmann Lesering, Gütersloh 1956, pp. 439–456.
  • Hans Rudolf Berndorff: A life for surgery. Obituary for Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. (1951) 1956, pp. 456-478.
  • Rudolf Nissen : Light leaves, dark leaves. Memories of a surgeon. DVA 1969, often new edition, most recently: Reprint Ecomed, Landsberg 2001, ISBN 3-609-16029-2 . (Pp. 186–188: reproduction of a letter that Sauerbruch wrote to this student of Jewish origin in April 1933 to persuade him (in vain) to stay in Nazi Germany. An interesting source, like Sauerbruch at that time internally about National Socialism einschätzte) Explicit Biography Sauerbruch chapter. Sauerbruch : page 143 to 180, as a counter-draft that was my life (and frequent mention Sauerbruch passim). His unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Berndorff book in this form through negotiations.
  • Rudolf Nissen: Sauerbruch. The development of surgery of the thoracic organs. In: Hans Schwerte , Wilhelm Spengler (ed.): Researchers and scientists in Europe today. 2. Explorer of Life. Physicians, biologists, anthropologists. Stalling, Oldenburg 1955. (different places of publication: Bremen, Hamburg) Series: Design of our time, volume 4.
  • Leo Norpoth: Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875–1951). In: Edmund Strutz (Ed.): Rheinische Lebensbilder , Vol. 1, 1961, pp. 207–223.
  • Sabine Schleiermacher, Udo Schargen (ed.): The Charité in the Third Reich. On the easement of medical science under National Socialism. Paderborn 2008, ISBN 3-506-76476-4 .
  • Peter Schneck:  Sauerbruch, Ferdinand . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 2. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Jürgen Thorwald : The dismissal. The end of the surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch. Munich 1983, ISBN 3-426-00011-3 . (The book was the subject of legal disputes because of his statements.)
  • Jörn Henning Wolf: Ferdinand Sauerbruch and his kineplastic operation for the functioning of the "arbitrarily movable artificial hand". In: Zs. Operative Orthopedics and Traumatology. Urban & Vogel, Vol. 3, No. 3, Aug. 1991, pp. 221-226 ISSN  0934-6694 Print; ISSN  1439-0981 online.
  • Notker Hammerstein: The German Research Foundation in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich. Science Policy in the Republic and Dictatorship 1920–1945, Munich 1999.

Web links

Commons : Ferdinand Sauerbruch  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb Ferdinand Sauerbruch, Hans Rudolf Berndorff: That was my life. Kindler & Schiermeyer, Bad Wörishofen 1951; cited: Licensed edition for Bertelsmann Lesering, Gütersloh 1956.
  2. a b c Udo Benzenhöfer : Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: Wolfgang U. Eckart and Christoph Gradmann (eds.): Ärztelexikon. From antiquity to the 20th century. CH Beck, Munich 1955, p. 317; Medical glossary. From antiquity to the present. 2nd Edition. 2001, p. 276 f., 3rd edition. 2006, each Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg / Berlin / New York, p. 288. doi: 10.1007 / 978-3-540-29585-3 .
  3. ↑ The attic of science . In: Der Spiegel of April 10, 1989 ( online , accessed September 30, 2012).
  4. Barbara I. Tshisuaka: Sauerbruch, (Ernst) Ferdinand. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1285 f., Here: p. 1285.
  5. Ernst Kern : Seeing - Thinking - Acting of a surgeon in the 20th century. ecomed, Landsberg am Lech 2000, ISBN 3-609-20149-5 , p. 269 f.
  6. death certificate .
  7. Name register of the registry office Berlin-Wannsee.
  8. See [1]
  9. ^ Historical lexicon of Switzerland: Emil Dagobert Schumacher .
  10. ^ Jewish cemeteries: Kaufmann Ludwig Rothschild .
  11. ^ Philipp Osten : When the town hall was turned into a hospital. During the First World War, the permanent building was a military infirmary for the citizens. In: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung Heidelberg, weekly supplement from July 20, 2010, Heidelberg issue 28.
  12. Christoph Mörgeli : The Sauerbruch scandal of 1915: A surgeon politicized. In: Switzerland. Rundschau Med. (Praxis) 77, 1988, No. 6, pp. 123-127.
  13. Martin Friedrich Karpa: The history of the arm prosthesis with special consideration of the achievements of Ferdinand Sauerbuch. Medical dissertation Bochum 2004 (digitized pdf)
  14. Julius Pagel (ed.): Biographical lexicon of outstanding doctors of the nineteenth century . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1901; unchanged reprint Basel and Munich 1989, p. 1513.
  15. Martin Friedrich Karpa: The history of the arm prosthesis with special consideration of the performance of Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875–1951). Medical dissertation, Bochum 2005, pp. 80, 113 f., 172-177, 206 f., 209, 230 f. and 249.
  16. Othmar Plöckinger: History of a book: Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' 1922-1945. Munich 2006, p. 30.
  17. Michael Scholz: Ferdinand Sauerbruch and homeopathy. An overall picture. BoD, Norderstedt 2019, ISBN 978-3-7448-1426-3 , p. 17 f.
  18. Maximilian Vogel: This genius brazenly reveals Hitler's girlfriend .
  19. ^ Der Tagesspiegel: Max Liebermann's garden complete again .
  20. ^ Appeal from Prof. Dr. Sauerbruch and our answer. In: International Medical Bulletin . Central organ of the International Association of Socialist Doctors . Prague, January 1934, p. 3 Internet Archive
  21. Ali Vicdani Doyum: Alfred Kantorowicz with special reference to his work in İstanbul (A contribution to the history of modern dentistry). Medical dissertation, Würzburg 1985, pp. 45 and 47.
  22. Ulrike Scheybal: The General Institute against Tumor Diseases 1935–1945. In: Wolfgang U. Eckart (Ed.): 100 Years of Organized Cancer Research. Georg Thieme-Verlag, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-13-105661-4 , pp. 51-55, especially p. 52.
  23. a b bust with inscription for Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: berlin.de. Retrieved August 19, 2019 .
  24. Sauerbruch's pro-Nazi speech on the award by Dewey et al. a., see lit., also in the online version (Appendix 3), in English. Translation from the radio archive 1938. Partly original, as received in the radio archive (italics); partially back translation from English (excerpt):

    “At that time (1919) , elementary national forces slowly grew up out of the jumble , still unregulated and confused, but full of strength and faith. Then came November 9, 1923 , the day on which the first national trial of strength failed. Our hopes were buried in disappointment and despair. Determined, creative work and effort determined our lives in this great, fateful time. It was then that the foundations were laid for the accomplishments which today are highly recognized by the leader.

    The universities of that time had the noble task of preserving what had been achieved up to that point and of strengthening their reputation at home and abroad [...]

    The year 1933 came. With the help of the Fiihrer, the decisive turning point came for our fatherland […]. With National Socialism there was a reshaping of völkisch life in all areas, from which medicine also received a living effect. The medical community preserved what had always been of value; but at the same time it was open to great new developments that arose from the new spirit.

    Today we perceive with pride and inner joy the high recognition that the Führer pays to the German doctors, we experience it in a wonderful, uplifting way. The honor that two German surgeons receive means in a deeper sense an honor and satisfaction for the German doctors , recognition of the German medical profession by the Führer . We express our gratitude for this trust, and it is our wish to give our full commitment to work effectively in the great tasks that are set for our people. "

  25. ^ Jörg Nimmergut: German medals and decorations until 1945. Volume 4: Württemberg II - German Empire. Central Office for Scientific Order Studies, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-00-001396-2 , p. 1912.
  26. On the role of Sauerbruch in National Socialism see also Fridolf Kudlien and Christian Andree : Sauerbruch und der Nationalozialismus. In: Medical History Journal. Volume 15, 1980, pp. 201-222; Jörg Hauptmann: Ferdinand Sauerbruch and the Third Reich. Plea for a differentiated view , 2009 (PDF).
  27. Volker Klimpel : Sauerbruch and Ulbricht. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 23, 2004, pp. 418-427, here: pp. 422 f.
  28. ^ Appeal to found the CDU in Berlin ( Memento of July 11, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 157 kB).
  29. a b SAUERBRUCH: As a cash practice lion . In: Der Spiegel . No. 35 , 1950 ( online - Aug. 31, 1950 ).
  30. Helmut Wolff : On the development of surgery and surgical research in the GDR. German Society for Surgery - Announcements 1/2012, pp. 1–8.
  31. Sauerbruch is denazified. In:  Workers will. Social democratic organ of the Alpine countries / workers will. Organ of the working people of the Alpine countries / workers will. Organ of the working people for Styria and Carinthia / workers will. Organ of the working people for Styria, Carinthia (and Carniola) Neue Zeit. Organ of the Styrian Socialist Party , April 20, 1949, p. 2 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / awi
  32. Sauerbruch surgeon unencumbered. In:  Workers will. Social democratic organ of the Alpine countries / workers will. Organ of the working people of the Alpine countries / workers will. Organ of the working people for Styria and Carinthia / workers will. Organ of the working people for Styria, Carinthia (and Carniola) Neue Zeit. Organ of the Styrian Socialist Party , July 27, 1949, p. 2 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / awi
  33. SAUERBRUCH: Death of the Titan . In: Der Spiegel . No. 47 , 1960 ( online - Nov. 16, 1960 ).
  34. ^ Communication by Helmut Wolff (November 2012).
  35. Rudolf Nissen (1969), p. 176 f.
  36. Hans Rudolf Berndorff: A life for surgery. Obituary for Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. (1951) 1956, p. 459.
  37. Volker Klimpel: Sauerbruch and Ulbricht. P. 418.
  38. Hans Rudolf Berndorff: A life for surgery. Obituary for Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. (1951) 1956, p. 459 f.
  39. Dr. Sauerbruch, Breslau: About the physiological and physical principles of intrathoracic interventions in my pneumatic operating chamber .
  40. Ernst Kern : Seeing - Thinking - Acting of a surgeon in the 20th century. ecomed, Landsberg am Lech 2000, ISBN 3-609-20149-5 , p. 270.
  41. ^ Heinrich Fründ : The extirpation of the thigh with overturning plastic of the lower leg after Sauerbruch. In: German journal for surgery. Volume 196, 1926, pp. 241-245.
  42. ^ Member entry by Ferdinand Sauerbruch at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on June 21, 2016.
  43. Sauerbruch and beer had suggested each other for this price.
  44. Volker Mrasek : The forever nominees. In: Current research (broadcast on DLF ). December 7, 2016, accessed December 20, 2016 .
  45. Experiments on humans: How upright was the star surgeon? Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, October 13, 2015.
  46. Hardinghaus, p. 121 ff. Udo Schagen expresses criticism of Hardinghaus' source assessment in his review in H-Soz-Kult , March 20, 2019 ( online ).
  47. Hammerstein, p. 431.
  48. Hardinghaus, p. 128.
  49. Advisory board recommends: 17 streets in Hanover should be renamed hannover.de, see also the final report of the advisory board from September 2018 (PDF).
  50. ^ Hanover: Protests against street renaming neuepresse.de, November 2, 2018.
  51. Charité doctor Sauerbruch “Shut up. There are many Nazis in the clinic! ” In Spiegel Online on February 7, 2019, accessed on February 10.
  52. Sauerbruch's grandson at the symposium at the Großröhrsdorf grammar school. Website of the Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Gymnasium Großröhrsdorf (accessed on March 7, 2019).
  53. See also Such elevated truths (Der Spiegel, December 17, 1952).