Wednesday September 23, 2015

Inge Rapoport earns doctorate at age 102, after Nazis denied degree

Retired German neonatologist Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport, aged 102, poses with her doctoral certificate at the UKE hospital in Hamburg, June 9, 2015. From 1937 until 1938 Syllm-Rapoport studied medicine in Hamburg, but the admission to her oral exam was denied by the Nazi authorities due to her Jewish origin. Some 77 years later Syllm-Rapoport took her oral exam and passed it successfully on May 20, 2015.

Retired German neonatologist Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport, aged 102, poses with her doctoral certificate at the UKE hospital in Hamburg, June 9, 2015. From 1937 until 1938 Syllm-Rapoport studied medicine in Hamburg, but the admission to her oral exam was denied by the Nazi authorities due to her Jewish origin. Some 77 years later Syllm-Rapoport took her oral exam and passed it successfully on May 20, 2015. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)

Listen 17:37
Inge Rapoport

Ingeborg Syllm, later Rapoport, shortly after she left Nazi Germany for the U.S. in 1938. (Dr. Susan Richter)

 Today is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar... Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

The high holiday will have special meaning this year for one German physician --- Dr. Inge Rapoport.

She made history this past summer. At the age of 102, she became the oldest person in Europe ever to be granted a medical degree. It came 77 years after the Nazis denied it to her. 

"They googled for me," says Inge Rapoport as describes study methods for her medical degree.

It's a remarkable story -- this atonement of sorts, so many years in the making.

And it holds a special significance for journalist Irris Makler, based in Jerusalem. She explains, in her documentary, "The 102 year old woman who crammed for her doctorate."

Ingeborg Rapport Quote Board


 
​The Current's documentary editor is Joan Webber. 
 

Our colleagues at As It Happens spoke to Ingeborg Rapoport about the difficulties of studying in Nazi Germany and why the University of Hamburg medical school helped her finish her degree.

Here is that conversation with host Carol Off: