Sue Young Histories

Martin Gumpert 1897 - 1955

December 25, 2008

Martin Gumpert 1897 - 1955 German Jewish physician at the Rudolf Virchow Hospital in Berlin who was involved in homeopathic research.

Martin Gumpert fled from Nazi Germany in 1936 to take refuge in America. He worked as a medical consultant to the Times magazine, and taught as a professor at the New York Homeopathic Medical college.

Martin Gumpert provided the German author Thomas Mann with information about the course of the disease of syphilis. Thomas Mann used this information in writing his Faust novel, Doktor Faustus : das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde.

Martin Gumpert wrote Hahnemann: The Adventurous Career of a Medical RebelHeil Hunger! Health Under Hitler, in which he explains the evil mental pathology behind the Nazi regime, Trail Blazers of Science, You are Younger than you think, The Anatomy of Happiness, You and Your Doctor, and many other books. He also wrote First Papers, _wherein Gumpert described life under Hitler, his escape, and his new life in New York. It is a very moving account, dealing with many philosophical issues, but with no mention of homeopathy. Gumpert also wrote _Hahnemann; die abenteuerliche Schicksale eines ärtztlichen Rebellen und seine Lehreder Homöopathie, Hahnemann: The Adventurous Career of a Medical Rebel, (1934 Berlin,  1945,L.B. Fischer, 1945 New York).

Between 1936 and 1939 drug provings were carried out on behalf of the Reich health authorities in various homeopathic hospitals.

Their “main purpose was to research the reliability of former provings and the validity of the drug pictures that were based on them”.

The research team consisted of homeopath Professor Hanns Rabe, internist Professor Werner Siebert and the professors of pharmacology Gustav Kuschinsky and Richard Bonsmann (life dates not known). Fritz Donner, who practised at the time in the homeopathy department of the Rudolf Virchow Hospital in Berlin, was also involved in the programme.

Martin Gumpert originated from a large civil liberal Jewish family; its father was already a physician. Already during its school time the young Gumpert wrote expressionistische poems, which were published in magazines like the action and the white sheets.

After being stationed in Turkey during the First World War as a medic, he began the study of the medicine at the University of Berlin. In this first phase of its study, he engaged himself as a free student with the left wing of a socialist youth movement. He became a member, on the advice of the mental workers of  Berlin and became a pacifist.

1919 he continued the study of medicine in Heidelberg qualifying in

  1. There he specialized in Dermatology and in medicinal and historical studies, completing his thesis in 1923, which raised controversy over the origin of the Syphilis.

In the same year he married Charlotte Blaschko, the daughter of the collegial physician friend and prominent social democratic social public health specialist Alfred Blaschko. Under its influence the initial revolutionary enthusiasm sobered up to sociopolitical commitment for concrete projects and groups of people.

In the following years Gumpert was active as Assistenzarzt at the citizen of Berlin Rudolf Virchow Hospital. Starting from 1927 he was an established specialist, leading the urban Ambulatorium for sex diseases.  His attitude aligned to social rehablitation of his patients, and Gumpert became, together with his professional colleagues, the first person to introduce the first consulting and treatment center of this kind in Germany.

He was Berlin’s pioneer, creating a German national institution, and treating patients who were often without means to pay for such treatment.

Apart from numerous publications in his field of activity, Gumpert wrote further literature.

1933 it was forced immediately after the Nazi seizure of power to lay down his offices. He withdrew himself into the private life and worked again on his literary works, including the biographies of famous researchers and physicians.

After he had been obligatorily excluded from practice as a Jew, Gumpert saw no more future for himself in Germany and selected 1936 the emigration.

Gumpert moved into the United States. He opened a dermatology practice in New York in the autumn 1936. He often came together with other exiles who met in the Bedford hotel on 40th Street…

Our friend Martin Gumpert, physician, poet, biographer, storyteller, was a very calm man with a round Buddha expression, small mouth and dark, strong eyes. His passion betrayed itself, from which the stoical front showed nothing else.

Evenly therefore the peace works so suggestively, its controlled temper, disciplined fire, not apathy or cold weather. His book on Dunant and the Red Cross was very successful, was published at the same time in German and in English in, and became translated into five further languages. Thomas Mann wrote the preface of the English expenditure…

Gumpert also wrote for American magazines, which stirred interest in the new area of diseases He is considered as one of the founding fathers of this new medical field of activity.

Over years, he published several (popular) scientific books. He worked as a medical consultant to the Times magazine, and taught as a professor at the New York Homeopathic Medical college.

In 1952, Gumpert, who had been an American citizen since 1942, returned for a short visit to Europe. On his return, he became a directorat the geriatric hospital of the Jewish Memorial hospital in New York.

Of interest:

B Barton Gumpert is listed in the The Homeopathic Medical Directory of Great Britain and Ireland in 1871.

W J Gumpert is listed in Transactions of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania in 1883..


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