Czech doctors apologize to Jews for persecution

A doctors organization apologizes for a 1938 memorandum that prevented Jews from practicing medicine

Topics: History,

A Czech doctors organization has apologized to Jewish doctors for the persecution they endured in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia before the Nazis invaded, an official said Thursday.

Before the war broke out, organizations of Czechoslovak doctors, lawyers and others issued a memorandum Oct 14, 1938 urging the government of Czechoslovakia “to take energetic measures” to prevent the Jews from practicing those professions.

Among those supporting the document were the Doctors Chamber in Prague and the Central Association of Czechoslovak Doctors.

“It was a discriminatory and anti-Semitic document,” said Ales Herman of the Czech Medical Chamber, who drafted the apology.

“We apologize for what our predecessors did to you,” the document says. It was adopted unanimously by the leadership of the chamber Thursday.

Many Jewish doctors lost their jobs when the government banned them from working in state institutions as a result of the memorandum. At least 1,000 others lost their medical licenses.

Worse persecution came after the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939.

Nearly 120,000 Jews lived in the country before the war; 80,000 perished in the Holocaust.

“Better late than never,” Dagmar Lieblova, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor, said of the apology. Lieblova heads an organization of survivors of the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

“I doubt that anybody of those who were persecuted is still alive,” Lieblova said. “My father was one of them.”

Her father, Julius Fantl, a doctor, was killed by the Nazis in the Auschwitz death camp.

The apology was issued because “we wanted to clear the of name of the medical chamber,” Herman said. “That it happened so late is our mistake.”

The chamber was banned after the communists took power in 1948 and was re-establish in 1991 after the collapse of communist rule.

The Czech bar association issued a similar apology a year ago.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>