Gerhard Baader

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Gerhard Oskar Baader (born July 3, 1928 in Vienna ; died June 14, 2020 in Berlin ) was an Austrian philologist and medical historian .


Baader came from an Austrian family and grew up in Vienna. Gerhard Baader was the son of Oskar Baader († 1945) and Cecilia, nee Adler (* 1887). His father was Catholic, his mother Jewish. The parents met each other while studying at the University of Vienna, a hotbed of anti-Semitism at the time. Their engagement marked the end of Oskar Baader's academic career. (According to his son Gerhard, the humiliation by the commanders there was too much for Oskar Baader, once an officer in the First World War. Oskar Baader committed suicide in November 1945). The son Gerhard was baptized, the Christmas tree was just as much a part of his childhood as the Jewish traditions in his mother's family. He found Judaism only at the funeral of his Jewish grandmother in 1942 , when he was counted among the required minyan for Kaddish prayer . As a so-called “ half-Jew ” he was one of the “ privileged” Jews in Austria . As a “half-breed” (not a member of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, IKG), Gerhard Baader, unlike “valid Jews” (IKG members), “only” had to do forced labor during the Nazi era . During the forced labor he came to work as a laborer in an installation company. The next stop was the German Labor Front . There he received training as a welder before he went to work in construction. Then in 1944/45 - at the age of 16 - he had to work for almost a year in the Waffen-SS labor camp . He had to take on paramilitary tasks and support the withdrawal of the Wehrmacht from Eastern Europe with excavation work, earthworks and blasting work. He was liberated in Vienna by the Red Army . After the liberation, he was able to take the Matura in a course that had been specially set up for those persecuted politically and “racially” . Likewise, he now finally broke away from the Catholic Church. He began to get involved in Austrian social democratic youth and student organizations . Throughout his life he remained a staunch social democrat who stood up for an open and fair society. Only the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and later the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) were parties that determined his life. In his later life he reconnected with his Jewish roots.

Baader worked at the Oranienburger Strasse synagogue ("New Synagogue") in Berlin as Gabbai (lay leader, assistant to the rabbi). He was also deputy chairman of the Child Survivors Germany association (surviving children of the Shoah ). He was as Liaison Officer and Advisory Board Member of Begabtenförderungswerk Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Scholarship Program (ELES). Baader died shortly before he was 92 years old. He was buried on June 19, 2020 in the Jewish cemetery in Heerstrasse in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf ; there the Lewaja (funeral procession) took place.

Scientific career

From 1948 to 1952 he studied classical philology , German , linguistics and history at the University of Vienna . After receiving his doctorate in 1952 (subject: Investigations into the use of the -tus- and -tio abstracts in Latin ), Baader lived in Munich from 1954 to 1966, where he was a research assistant at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and was responsible for the project Middle Latin Dictionary , Volume I. . In 1967 he moved to the Institute for Medical History at the Free University of Berlin . Here he was from 1967 scientific assistant, from 1968 academic councilor or senior councilor. In 1975 he began teaching at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute . In 1979 he completed his habilitation on The Library of Giovanni Marco da Rimini. A source for medical education in humanism.

The critical reappraisal of the Nazi medical crimes did not begin in 1960, but only two decades later, when the topic was combined with the criticism of a future generation of the way the sick and disabled were dealt with. As a counter-event to the 83rd German Doctors' Conference organized by critical doctors and historians, including Baader, “1. Health Day ”in West Berlin with 12,000 participants, in 1980 the motto was“ Medicine under National Socialism. A taboo past - unbroken tradition? ”. This event met with great criticism from the established professional representatives. They wanted to continue to forget, repress or at least retouch the guilt of the medical profession under National Socialism. For them, Health Day was a provocation. However, it marked the beginning of a diverse occupation with Nazi medicine. As a result, Baader made medicine under National Socialism one of the institute's main research areas, a branch of science in which, along with Rolf Winau , Fridolf Kudlien , Werner Friedrich Kümmel , Gunter Mann and Eduard Seidler, he belonged to the initially very small group of medical historians who did Researched the subject of medicine and National Socialism. In 1983 he was appointed adjunct professor at the Institute for the History of Medicine and Ethics in Medicine at the Charité . He retired in 1993 and lived in Israel for ten years . There he was visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( Hadassah Medical School ). He returned to Berlin in 2003 and continued to do research and journalism, around 2018 on the subject of public health, eugenics and racial hygiene in the Weimar Republic and under National Socialism: health and illness as a vision of the national community .

Research and teaching focus

Gerhard Baader conducted research in the area of ​​the history of antiquity , the Middle Ages and modern times . From 1980 he dealt with the social history of medicine and emigration research . In particular, he examined the influence of German medicine on the development of the health system in Palestine (Israel). The medicine in the Talmud , especially in its relation to Greek medicine, also found his interest. He is one of the pioneers of historical research on medicine under National Socialism . In 1982 he founded the “Working Group for Research into the History of Nazi Euthanasia and Forced Sterilization ”.

His main teaching areas were:

  • Medicine under National Socialism
  • Medicine in the Talmud in its relation to Greek medicine, especially in Hellenism
  • Jewish life in Germany, especially in the 20th century
  • Dealing with the Holocaust .

Baader wrote numerous articles for the Neue Deutsche Biographie .


  • In 1997 the academic commemorative publication “ Medical History and Social Criticism” was published in his honor .
  • Baader received the Federal Cross of Merit in September 2018 for his commitment to coming to terms with the role of medicine in National Socialism .


Fonts (selection)

  • The Berlin Codex Phillipp. 1790, an early medieval medical compendium. In: Medical History Yearbook. Volume 1, 1960, pp. 150-155.
  • On the terminology of Constantinus Africanus. In: Medical History Journal. Volume 2, 1967, pp. 36-53.
  • The beginnings of medical education in the West up to 1100. In: La scuola nell'occidente latino dell'alto medioevo. Spoleto 1972 (= Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull'alto medioevo , volume 19.2), pp. 669-718 and 725-742.
  • The Development of Medical Terminology in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. In: Gerhard Baader, Gundolf Keil (Hrsg.): Medicine in the medieval occident. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1982 (= ways of research. Volume 363), pp. 417-442.
  • The development of medical terminology in the high and late Middle Ages. In: Gundolf Keil, Peter Assion (Ed.): Specialized prose research. Eight lectures on medieval art literature. Berlin 1974, pp. 88-123.
  • with Gundolf Keil : Medieval diagnostics. In: Medical diagnostics in the past and present. Festschrift for Heinz Goerke on his sixtieth birthday. Edited by Christa Habrich , Frank Marguth and Jörn Henning Wolf with the assistance of Renate Wittern . Munich 1978 (= New Munich Contributions to the History of Medicine and Natural Sciences: Medical History Series , Volume 7/8), pp. 121–144.
  • The school of Salerno. In: Medical History Journal. Volume 13, 1978, pp. 124-145.
  • Medical reform thinking and Arabism in Germany in the 16th century. In: Sudhoff's archive . Volume 63, 1979, pp. 261-296.
  • Theory and practice of pre-Salernitan uroscopy. Ref. 65. In: Annual Conference of the German Society for the History of Medicine, Natural Sciences and Technology e. V. Trier 1982.
  • Urban development and psychiatric institutions. In: Gundolf Keil (ed.): "Gelêrter der arzeniê, ouch apotêker". Contributions to the history of science. Festschrift for the 70th birthday of Willem F. Daems. Horst Wellm, Pattensen 1982 (= Würzburg medical historical research. Volume 24), ISBN 3-921456-35-5 , pp. 239-253.
  • Teaching letter and short treatise in the mediation of medical knowledge in the early and high Middle Ages. In: Knowledge-organizing and knowledge-imparting literature in the Middle Ages. Perspectives on their exploration. Edited by Norbert Richard Wolf , Wiesbaden 1987 (= Wissensliteratur im Mittelalter , Volume 1), pp. 246-254.
  • as ed. with Gundolf Keil: Medicine in the Middle Ages Occident. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1982 (= ways of research . Volume 363).
  • Human experiments in National Socialism. In: Hanfried Helmchen , Rolf Winau (Ed.): Experiments with people in medicine, human science and politics. Berlin / New York 1986, pp. 41-82.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Announcement of the awards from October 1, 2018. In: Retrieved October 16, 2018 .
  2. Christine Schmitt: contemporary witness, scientist, Gabbai: The medical historian Gerhard Baader died at the age of 91 in Berlin. In: Jüdische Allgemeine . June 16, 2020, accessed June 17, 2020 . - Ralf Forsbach , medicine in the Nazi state. The historian Gerhard Baader has died , in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , June 17, 2020, p. 14.
  3. a b Michaela Raggam-Blesch: "Privileged" under Nazi Rule: The Fate of Three Families intermarried in Vienna. In: Journal of genocide research. Volume 21, number 3, 2019, pp. 378-397, doi : 10.1080 / 14623528.2019.1634908 , PMID 31708684 , PMC 6817312 (free full text).
  4. Study shows the fate of children from “mixed marriages” during the Nazi era. In: . March 25, 2020, accessed June 17, 2020 .
  5. Supposedly privileged: How children from "mixed marriages" really fared during the Nazi era , Der Standard, March 26, 2020. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  6. ^ The team at the Oranienburger Strasse synagogue: Photo by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Baader. In: . Archived from the original on April 8, 2016 ; accessed on June 17, 2020 .
  7. About us. Child Survivors Germany, accessed June 17, 2020 .
  8. On the death of Gerhard Baader , ELES. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  9. ^ List of former employees of the MLW. Bavarian Academy of Sciences, accessed on June 18, 2020 .
  10. ^ History of the institute , Charité. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  11. In: K. Treu (Ed.): Studia Codicologica (= texts and studies on the history of early Christian literature. Volume 124). Berlin 1977, pp. 43-97.
  12. ^ Norbert Frei: Hitler's elites after 1945 . dtv Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Company KG, June 4, 2014, ISBN 978-3-423-42552-0 , pp. 60-61.
  13. Florian Bruns, Medical History in Berlin , bebra, Berlin, 2014, ISBN 3-95410-053-3 , p. 30.
  14. »Retirement? Only formal « , Jüdische Allgemeine, October 22, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  15. Gerhard Baader, Jürgen Peter: Public Health, Eugenics and Racial Hygiene in the Weimar Republic and National Socialism: Health and Illness as a Vision of the National Community . Mabuse-Verlag, February 5, 2018, ISBN 978-3-86321-479-1 .
  16. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Baader. Friedrich Meinecke Institute of the Free University of Berlin, accessed on June 17, 2020 .
  17. Ralf Forsbach , Medicine in the Nazi State. The historian Gerhard Baader has died , in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , June 17, 2020, p. 14.
  18. Michael Hubenstorf, Ragnhild Münch, Heinz-Peter Schmiedebach , Sigrid Stöckel (eds.): Medical history and social criticism : Festschrift for Gerhard Baader (treatises on the history of medicine and the natural sciences) , Matthiesen Verlag, Husum, ISBN 3-7868-4081- 4th
  19. Federal Cross of Merit for Prof. Dr. Gerhard Baader , Senate Department for Health, Nursing and Equality Berlin, press release from September 14, 2018.