Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport, physician

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Neither age nor racial discrimination could stop this champion from reaching her goals!  Last month, at 102 years old, Ingeborg Sylim-Rapoport completed the final step to earn her doctoral thesis from the German university where she originally studied.  In 1938, having turned in her thesis on diptheria, she was denied earning the degree due to the Nazi race laws prohibiting Jewish people this recognition.

She was not dismayed by this injustice.  Instead, she emigrated to the U.S. and eventually received her PhD from a college in Philadelphia and became a pediatrician.  Later she moved to East Berlin, and continued her career as the head of neonatology at a Children’s Hospital.

She said it was not so much the degree that mattered, (especially considering her accomplishments and outstanding career), but the fact that it brought closure and recognition for anyone who was treated so poorly simply based on their heritage.  I am amazed at how undeterred she was, especially in an era when women simply didn’t challenge the status quo, and demonstrated for all of us how the human spirit can overcome any hardship with patience and perseverance.

–reference from Phy.Org 6/2015

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