The hepatopathologist Hans Popper (1903-1988) : An early victim of National Socialism in Austria.Pathologe. 2020 Jun; 41(Suppl 1):30-38.P
In 1988, the "father of modern hepatology" Hans Popper died. His medical merits are numerous and outstanding and have already been praised many times. In particular, his research on liver diseases has gained widespread recognition. Much less well known is the fact that Popper was dismissed from the University of Vienna due to his Jewish ancestry after the "Anschluss" ("annexation") of Austria to the Third Reich and subsequently emigrated to the USA.Popper's biographers, who primarily belonged to his close circle of friends and colleagues, were unquestionably aware of this central caesura in Popper's life. However, the scientific analysis and presentation of this very event has been incomplete and, moreover, feeds heavily from the personal memories of the authors, which are inevitably subjective. For precisely this reason, the present contribution focuses on Popper's role as a politically persecuted Jew and the resulting implications.The study comes to the conclusion that Popper shows all the characteristics of a Nazi victim, namely a Jewish background, the dismissal from university, the threat of persecution by the Gestapo, and the subsequent forced emigration. Popper decided against remigration after 1945 and instead earned professional recognition in the USA and later worldwide. In the 1980s, Popper was criticized for his permissive attitude towards his former academic teacher, the doctor and Nazi criminal Hans Eppinger. Even if he did not completely succeed in making his behavior in the "Eppinger Case" understandable and comprehensible, the events gradually fell into oblivion, as evidenced by several recent posthumous statements of honor in German-speaking countries.