Walther Schönfeld

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Walther Schönfeld (born May 15, 1888 in Gersfeld (Rhön) , † March 26, 1977 in Heidelberg ) was a German dermatologist (dermatologist).


After graduating from high school in 1906 at the Knight's Academy (Liegnitz) , Schönfeld began to study medicine at the Silesian Friedrich Wilhelms University and the Julius Maximilians University . In 1907 he was in the Corps Franconia Würzburg recipiert . As an inactive he moved to the University of Rostock and the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich . In 1911 he passed the state examination. In 1912 he was promoted to Dr. med. PhD . He then worked, interrupted by military service, until 1920 as Karl Zieler's assistant at the Würzburg University Dermatology Clinic. From 1914 to 1916 he served in a medical company on the Western Front (First World War) . In 1917 he completed his habilitation in Würzburg for dermatology and venereology . After he was appointed associate professor in Würzburg in 1920 , he was appointed to the chair of dermatology and venereology at the University of Greifswald in 1922 . In 1935 he succeeded Siegfried Bettmann as director of the University Dermatology Clinic in Heidelberg, after he had been released by the National Socialists and emigrated from Germany. One of the superiors of the Heidelberg University Dermatology Clinic who worked with Walther Schönfeld was the Protestant matron Hammer, who was replaced by matron Maria Sulzbach in 1958. Both superiors belonged to the DRK sisterhood of the mother house in Karlsruhe. Maria Sulzbach introduced the first disposable material items, the newly developed cotton tube bandage and other important items for dermatological wound treatment.

Schönfeld worked in the fields of skin tuberculosis, occupational dermatoses and herpes diseases as well as the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea. He also worked as a medical historian on the history of medicine in the early modern period. On his initiative, the Institute for the History of Medicine was established at Heidelberg University, whose first director was Heinrich Schipperges in 1961 , followed by Wolfgang U. Eckart in 1992.

Heidelberg Collection

Walther Schönfeld's collection is one of the most important on the subject of tattoos in the German-speaking world and comprises several thousand objects. Schönfeld dealt with the subject of tattoos for many years and gathered material on the subject. In 1960 his book Körperbemalen, Brandmarken, Tattooieren was published and is considered a standard work that has had a lasting impact on other publications as well as the scientific and public discourse.

“Schönfeld experienced the beginnings of the scientific examination of tattoos, the heyday of the fairs and show booths, the beginning of the criminalization and stigmatization of tattooed people, the discrimination and extinction in the“ Third Reich ”and even the reappearance of tattoos in post-war Germany. Based on Walther Schönfeld's collection, his research and his person, the underlying tattoo narrative and the possibilities of collating tattoos can be illustrated. They also show how ascriptions about "others" are constructed, adapted and handed down. "



  • About the discovery of human seminal threads (Ludwig von Hammen from Danzig - Johan Ham from Arnheim [Holland] - Antony van Leeuwenhoek from Delft). In: Archives for Dermatology and Syphilis . Volume 178, Number 3, 1938, pp. 358-372, ISSN  0365-6020 .
  • Textbook of Skin and Venereal Diseases , 1938.
  • Medical terms for the "gonorrhea of ​​the man's urethra" in historical light. Sudhoffs Archiv 34 (1941), pp. 169-178.
  • Women in occidental medicine from classical antiquity to the end of the 19th century. Stuttgart 1947
  • with Josef Kimmig : Sulfonamides and Penicillins , 1948.
  • with Walther Frieboes : Atlas of skin and venereal diseases , 1949, 2nd edition 1955.
  • with Heinrich Gottron : Dermatology and Venereology in 5 Volumes, 1958–1965.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Kösener Corpslisten 1930, 138 , 665
  2. Dissertation: Rhinitis hyperplastica oedematosa (Seifert) .
  3. Habilitation thesis: The examination of the spinal cord fluid, its methods and its results with special consideration of syphilis .
  4. Marcus Plehn: Association material history. The beginnings of a new branch of industry, dissertation Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, supervisor Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke , Heidelberger Schriften zur Pharmazie- und Naturwissenschaftsgeschichte, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart 1990, pp. 105 + 106.
  5. Catherine Wettich-Hauser: Heidelberg University Hospital. The Heidelberg Dermatology Clinic, a history spanning three centuries , estate and correspondence of the nursing school of the University of Heidelberg , University Archives Heidelberg Acc 43/08, 2008.
  6. ^ Igor Eberhard: Stigma Tattoo ?: The Heidelberg Collection Walther Schönfeld and its contribution to the pathologization of tattoos Dissertation 2015, University of Vienna.
  7. Member entry of Walther Schönfeld at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on June 25, 2016.