Max Henkel

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Max Henkel

Max Henkel (born September 26, 1870 in Berlin , † September 9, 1941 in Jena ) was a German gynecologist and obstetrician .

Live and act

Max Henkel was born on September 26, 1870 as the son of medical officer Wilhelm Henkel and Caroline Henkel, née Friedrich. He attended high school in Demmin ( Pomerania ), where he passed his Abitur . Henkel then studied medicine at the Universities of Würzburg , Freiburg and Greifswald . During his studies he became a member of the Academic Choral Society Würzburg in the Sondershäuser Association . In 1894 he was charged with a thesis on the Histiogenese the Parotisgeschwülste doctorate and put 1896 in Greifswald the state exam. Henkel then began training in pathology, until 1898 in Greifswald and then until 1900 at the Eppendorf General Hospital in Hamburg . Max Henkel then moved to Berlin to the University Women's Clinic under the direction of Robert Michaelis von Olshausen , where he initially worked as an assistant doctor and later as a senior physician .

Under Olshausen he was habilitated in 1905 and appointed associate professor in 1907 . In the same year, Henkel accepted the call as full professor of gynecology and director of the university women's clinic at the University of Greifswald, where he worked as a replacement for Walter Stoeckel for three years. Stoeckel had accepted a call to Marburg from Berlin, although an appeal procedure to Greifswald was ongoing. In 1910, Max Henkel was appointed to succeed Karl Franz (1870–1926), full professor and director of the university women's clinic at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena .

Between 1915 and 1918, Henkel was suspended from his position as head of the clinic due to disciplinary proceedings against him, and during this time in 1917 he was called up for military service as a doctor. After an acquittal, he resumed his duties. In the 1923/24 term of office he was elected rector of the university. In March 1933 he signed the declaration of 300 university lecturers for Adolf Hitler . On May 1, 1933, he joined the NSDAP .

Henkel was full professor and director of the Jena University Women's Clinic until his retirement on October 1, 1935. He died on September 9, 1941 in Jena at the age of 70. Since 1903 he was married to Emmy Henkel, nee Fischer. From this marriage two sons were born.

Fonts (selection)

Max Henkel published numerous papers in the entire field of gynecology and obstetrics. His interests lay particularly in surgical gynecology. In Berlin and Greifswald, Henkel primarily dealt with antiseptics in obstetrics and gynecology, for example with the etiology and therapy of puerperium infections and the role of bacteriology in gynecology, and set new impulses in the fight against infection.

  • Is total abdominal extirpation of the pregnant uterus justified because of pulmonary tuberculosis? In: Arch Gynecol Obstet. 94, 1911, pp. 580-597.
  • Artificial miscarriage and artificial infertility from the point of view of gynecology. In: S. Placzek: Artificial miscarriage and artificial infertility, their indications, technology and legal situation. Georg Thieme, Leipzig 1918
  • Bernhard Sigmund Schultze . In: Arch Gynecol Obstet. 111 (1919), pp. III-XX. doi: 10.1007 / BF01759655
  • Diseases of the external genital organs and the vagina, urethra, ureter and the female bladder: gonorrhea, syphilis and tuberculosis of the female genital organs. Georg Thieme, Leipzig 1921
  • Becoming and passing away in a woman's life. W. Schneider, Querfurt 1925
  • About hemostasis in the case of uterine bleeding by clamping the parametria with double-clawed hook pliers. In: Arch Gynecol Obstet. 125, 1925, p. 327. doi: 10.1007 / BF01975218
  • About directing childbirth. In: Arch Gynecol Obstet. 134, 1928, pp. 18-43. doi: 10.1007 / BF01702608
  • Conservative fibroid surgery. In: Arch Gynecol Obstet. 156, 1933, pp. 72-86. doi: 10.1007 / BF01790425

The "Max Henkel case"

Soon after Henkel took office in Jena in April 1910, tensions arose between him and other faculty members . Disputes with Robert Rössle , professor of pathological anatomy , who was appointed to Jena in 1911, were particularly momentous. Because Henkel did not hand over dead newborns for dissection , but kept them in the women's clinic as teaching material, there were open disputes between the two ordinaries in April 1913, in which Henkel showed no willingness to compromise. In addition, Rössle found a large number of post- operative infections with fatal results and doubted the necessity of the radicality of the surgical methods used. Henkel was also accused of performing unsubstantiated operations, including unauthorized abortions and sterilization , the occurrence of increased malpractice and inadequate care for babies. In 1915 Professor Ernst Giese (1865–1956) filed a criminal complaint with the Grand Ducal District Court in Jena for negligent homicide. Henkel was given leave of absence from the Weimar State Ministry. After setting this criminal was a formal disciplinary proceedings initiated due to several allegations against Henkel.

In 1917, the Criminal Service Chamber sentenced Henkel to transfer and reimburse the expenses of the proceedings. In the grounds of the judgment, he was certified medically unjustified abortions, including the failure to attempt to save a fetus in the eighth month of pregnancy. He was also found guilty of the charges of negligent treatment of sufferers and violation of medical ethics. In this context, it was particularly criticized that during a visit from an interested layman, a Prince to the Lippe , without any indication or preparation, he operated on a patient for demonstration purposes who died immediately after the operation.

This judgment was challenged by the prosecution and the defense . In the appeal proceedings , the Thuringian Higher Administrative Court acquitted Henkel of all allegations after an oral hearing in Jena in 1918. The previous judgment was overturned and the expenses of the proceedings were charged to the Grand Ducal Treasury .

The discussions on the Henkel case generated considerable media interest. Daily newspapers reported regularly from the courtroom on the progress of the negotiations in both proceedings, in 1917 and 1918.

A testimony of witnesses reported in the daily press about the fatal demonstration operation in the presence of the Prince zur Lippe repeated Karl Kraus in the torch and took over the event described by the witness as the 8th scene in the fourth act in The Last Days of Mankind .


  • Katrin Ratz: The "Max Henkel" case. The official criminal proceedings against the Jena professor of gynecology and obstetrics 1915–1918. VDM Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-8321-6 .

Web links

Commons : Max Henkel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Otto Grübel, Special Houses Association of German Student Choral Societies (SV): Cartel address book. As of March 1, 1914. Munich 1914, p. 44.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j Katrin Ratz: The "Max Henkel" case. The official criminal proceedings against the Jena professor of gynecology and obstetrics (1915–1918). Dissertation . Friedrich Schiller University Jena , 2002. (PDF document; 500 kB)
  3. Walter Stoeckel (Ed.), F. Michelsson: Deutsches Gynäkologenverzeichnis. 2nd Edition. JA Barth Verlag, Leipzig 1939, pp. 176-179.
  4. Max Henkel (1870-1941). ( Memento from September 5, 2012 in the web archive ) Biography on the website of the Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald
  5. ^ Robert Jütte: Lust Without Load: History of Contraception from Antiquity to the Present . CH Beck, 2003, ISBN 3-406-49430-7 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  6. Ernst Giese : On the Henkel trial. In: MMW. 38, 1918, pp. 1053-1059.
  7. Thuringian Higher Administrative Court: Henkel (Max) trial: grounds for judgment of July 24, 1918 . Jena 1918 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  8. ^ Karl Kraus: Weimar Germany. In: The torch. May 1918, p. 154.
  9. Karl Kraus: The last days of mankind. IV. Act. ( Memento from November 14, 2010 in the web archive ) on: