Berta Ottenstein

Aleksandra Petrovic

Berta Ottenstein: the career of a German-Jewish dermatologist after 1933

Berta Ottenstein, a German-Jewish dermatologist held PhDs in chemistry (1913) and in medicine (1919) from the University of Nuremberg as well as a Habilitation in dermatology (1931) from the University of Freiburg. She was the first woman in Freiburg and the first woman in dermatology to earn this highest academic qualification, which is required in many continental European universities to conduct self-contained university teaching, and to obtain a professorship. After her dismissal from the University of Freiburg, she first migrated to Hungary, later to Turkey, and finally to the US. As a dermatologist, she was very well respected and a ground-breaking researcher, but as a woman she had to overcome many obstacles; as a Jew she was expelled and discriminated against in her own country. Without her professional network, which was based on her scientific excellence as well as on her ability to build friendships in all the many places she lived, she would have not been able to continue her career in exile.

Bildquelle: Universitätsarchiv Freiburg D001301393


First Data Publication

Aleksandra Petrovic

Expulsion, migration, and changing Networks. Mathematics during the NS-Period in Germany and Switzerland

Based on our dataset we will digitally trace in some detail the direct results of the declaration of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service on the mathematicians at Göttingen University and focus on the changing academic reputation of the Göttingen Institute for mathematics. In the second part, focusing on Switzerland and based on two examples, we will show how digital approaches can be used to illustrate the interdependencies of Swiss universities and/or professors working at Swiss universities within the transnational network of science to clarify to what extent these digital approaches can also stimulate questions about Swiss appointment policy(s).

The biographical perspective on the impact of the forced migration in the 1930s and 1940s on individual careers is one of three main objectives of our research project.  We are equally interested in the way the transnational academic network and the academic landscape as such changed due to the expulsion of academics. [....]


Geographic Movement of Göttingen Mathematics

CORE Admin

The visualization displays the career steps of the Göttingen mathematics between 1925 and 1950. Hence it shows their worldwide movements in terms of career but also illustrates how the academic standing of the mathematical institute in Göttingen changes over time. The dots indicate career positions, which mean places of graduation or scientific appointments. The larger a dot the more career steps of mathematicians are located at this place or institution.

Click here for the fullscreen view.