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Lucie Adelsberger (1895–1972)

Author of Auschwitz: A Doctor's Story

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Lucie Adelsberger was born in Nuremberg to a German Jewish family and had two younger siblings. She graduated from gynmnasium and studied medicine at the nearby University of Erlangen. In 1919, she was certified as a physician. She went to Berlin to work at the Friedrichshain municipal hospital, where she received a postgraduate diploma in internal medicine (1925) and in pediatrics (1926). She went into private practice as a pediatrician with a focus on allergies and also held a research position at the Robert Koch Institute. She published at least 15 scientific papers between 1924 and 1933. Her life changed drastically following the rise of the Nazi regime: she was dismissed from the Koch Institute and subjected to persecution. In 1938, she worked briefly at Harvard Medical School but chose to return to Germany to care for her ailing mother. In 1943, she was deported to Auschwitz, where she struggled to help sick prisoners. As the Red Army approached in January 1945, the inmates of the camp were forced to march west in freezing conditions. She survived this ordeal and was sent to Ravensbrück, where she was liberated at the end of the war. She wrote a report on diseases in the camp that was published in the Lancet in 1946. After the war, she never published again on allergy. She emigrated to the USA and worked as an immunologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. In 1995, her memoir, Auschwitz: A Doctor's Story, was published posthumously.
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