Volume 6, No. 3, Art. 22 – September 2005

Fight for Recognition. The Portrait of the German Physician Paula TOBIAS (1886 – 1970). A Reconstructive Biographical Analysis

Wiebke Lohfeld

Abstract: In this article I intend to focus on one very crucial aspect of biography: the resources used to sustain identity under interfering—even depressing—historical and societal circumstances and how this identity is reconstructed from an autobiography. As an example, I reconstruct the biography of a German-Jewish physician, Paula TOBIAS, who fled Germany in 1935 as a result of the National Socialist’s politics of persecuting Jews. The reconstruction follows her autobiography and integrates further data that was collected, including interviews with persons who had been acquainted with Paula TOBIAS, civil registrations, reparation files and documents filed by those universities where Paula TOBIAS had studied. The analysis of the autobiography and the additional resources build the portrait of one of the first Jewish female physicians of the last century in Germany. Throughout her life she learned to fight for herself which is explicitly expressed in her autobiographical writing. When the NS regime refused to recognize her as German, it was her ability to fight that helped her to sustain her German identity. By unfolding the whole biography I sketch her way of fighting as founded in the deep persuasions she developed as a young woman fighting for her education, as a young doctor fighting for recognition from other doctors and later as a German fighting for her rights under the NS-Regime.

Key words: biographical case study, reconstructive analysis, autobiography, recognition, misrecognition, German-Jewish emigration

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 Autobiography and methodological implications

1.2 Autobiographical issue: German and the denial of being one

2. The Portrait of Paula TOBIAS

2.1 The reconstruction: an analytical view

3. Misrecognition: The Denial of Being German and Fight for Recognition

3.1 Misrecognition—recognition

3.2 Paula TOBIAS: The German

4. Conclusion: Single Case but More Than Just Exceptional






1. Introduction

Presenting the results of qualitative research analysis has been a demanding enterprise since the outset of qualitative research, and it still is1). It is even more challenging to do so in a short article where space is limited. In order to meet this challenge, I divided my presentation into four parts that lead the reader through methodological aspects of the case of Paula TOBIAS and the content aspects of her autobiographical writing. I outline major points of biographical research with a particular focus on autobiography and objective data. Therefore I will begin with an overview of four approaches that influenced my analyses, followed by the related methods that were part of the wider case analysis. Then I present my case study, a detailed portrait of Paula TOBIAS’ life, including an analysis of how she sustained her German identity throughout the Nazi-regime. Finally I will conclude by arguing that the single case study on Paula TOBIAS gives us insight, on the one hand, into the subversive functioning of the National Socialistic System, and on the other hand, into the impact of misrecognition on human beings. [1]

1.1 Autobiography and methodological implications

Paula TOBIAS’ autobiography (TOBIAS 1941) was written in 1940 as an entry to a writing prize competition organized by three Harvard researchers: psychologist Gordon Willard ALLPORT, historian Sidney BRADSHAW FAY and sociologist Edward Yarnall HARTSHORNE. They invited German emigrants to write about their "life in Germany before and after January 1933" (the date Hitler seized power). In order to get a useful number of life-stories, they advertised the competition in several newspapers and also handed out flyers2). An award of $1,000 was announced. The Harvard collection of autobiographies accounts for about 270 manuscripts ranging from 12 to 300 pages in length3). The scholars endeavored to record the societal changes caused by the dictatorship in Germany and individual perceptions of those changes. The results were a surprise to the American scholars since they had not anticipated such a lasting impact of National Socialism on the individual and on society as a whole. The collections of autobiographies impart a view of National Socialism before the Holocaust set in and yet simultaneously outline the looming genocide. But these manuscripts are not only interesting from a historical perspective but are of great interest in the social sciences in general. They were almost forgotten in the Harvard Archive until a German educator and professor4) discovered the manuscripts in 1994. He initiated different research projects from a biographical perspective to grasp who the people were that responded to the prize competition, how they became emigrants and how they kept or lost their identity. Since then, some studies have appeared as books and articles, and some of the manuscripts have been published5). The studies focus on different theoretical issues, depending on which questions emerged from the manuscripts themselves. [2]

Although in all studies different approaches are applied to the analysis they have one crucial aspect in common: they all explore the way in which the manuscripts unfold the different life-stories. "Life-story" is here meant as the construct of a person’s identity—mainly the concept of biography6). So any reconstruction of an autobiography has the following objective:

"In written autobiographies, the interaction is two-fold: first, the interaction of the writer with the idealized reader that he takes as his point of reference; second, the constitution of the meaning in the interaction of the real reader with the text" (KOHLI 1981, pp.61-76). [3]

What seems to be so obvious—that every narration is a construction and therefore something new—forces the research to proceed at a highly analytical level; including the following aspects7):

  • the process of the recalling of a life-story wherein the narration falls together with the recalled experienced incidents (thesis of homology by SCHUETZE 1989);

  • the process of self-interpretation in the narration which is dependent on the very single perspective of the recalling person each time he or she is talking about his or her own life ("biographization" by MAROTZKI 2000);

  • the process of meaning-making by the story-teller in contextualizing him or herself (tri-dimensional structures: 1) universal; 2) generation-typical and 3) biography-typical, [GARZ 2000]); and

  • the process of interpretation by the researcher, which is always connected to his or her own experiences and knowledge in different fields (e.g.: Social Science Portraiture by LAWRENCE-LIGHTFOOT 1997). [4]

In short: social constructivism "starts from the idea that realities are actively produced by the participants through the meanings ascribed to certain events and objects and that social research cannot escape these ascriptions of meanings if it wants to deal with social realities" (FLICK 1995, p.31). [5]

The aforementioned studies on the autobiographical manuscripts that entered the Harvard prize competition are all based on these fundamental dimensions in qualitative research—and so is this study on the biography of Paula TOBIAS. I integrated additional data to the analysis. The study on hand extends the analysis of the autobiography by confronting the autobiographical construction with the so called "objective data." Hence I consider this methodological key valuable for disclosing special features of her biography, to work out breaks in her actions and to record apparent contradictions. [6]

Consequently I attempt to achieve even a deeper insight into the following questions that are asked by MATTHES: "How do the social subjects themselves hold for real and how? And: under which conditions […] does this holding-for-real stand?" (MATTHES 1985, in FLICK 1995, p.31). [7]

The following portrait of Paula TOBIAS will give a picture of her that explicitly integrates both: her view of her life and the analytically achieved objective structure8). In sum, the central issue that I will explore in the biography of Paula TOBIAS: her resources for sustaining her identity under National Socialism. Particularly with regard to this point it seems to be essential to detect contradictions between the two construction-dimensions: self and context that interact with each other9) but are also meaningful individually. Three questions are to be asked at this point: "How did Paula TOBIAS describe the sustaining of her identity in her autobiography?" Second: "Did she objectively sustain her identity?" And third: "What are the significant categories for her identity?" These questions will be attempted in the portrait implicitly. [8]


How did I attempt to answer the above-mentioned questions? First of all, I recognize that there is no single tool that provides immediate answers to these questions. When I presented the four major aspects of qualitative research for my case study (a to d), I did so to point to the complexity that qualitative research always faces when it comes to qualitative data and analysis. Therefore, the choice of a method needs to fit the data and the content of the inquiry. For my case study on Paula TOBIAS I found it absolutely indispensable to triangulate methods because I was facing not only a written autobiography but also other data like letters, interviews, documents and pictures. My research questions point to the content of the biography as it is constructed (biographization) by Paula TOBIAS and to the contextualization in which she was both objectively and subjectively embedded. In order to grasp the content and self-construction of Paula TOBIAS’ writing, I applied the narrative-structure analysis as it is introduced by Fritz SCHUETZE (e.g., 1981). The formal text analysis and structural description10) turned out to be especially helpful in detecting her way of presenting herself, uncovering the structure of the narrative and extricating the "autobiographical issue" shown later on in my argumentation. Applying this method also acknowledges the fact that a narrative is a mirror of experienced life (point a: thesis of homology) and a condensed presentation of a process of biographization (point b). [9]

For analysis concerned with "objective structure" of the case, I relied on objective hermeneutic analysis (Ulrich OEVERMANN 2000). Objective hermeneutics is one of the most popular and extensively developed methods in the German-speaking social science community. The analysis explores all forms of human expression—architecture, written texts, letters, art and interviews. In the center of the analysis stands the reconstruction of the latent sense structures or objective meaning structures. In other words: "what the text producers thought, wished, hoped, believed in the creation of their text, that is, what subjective intentions they had, was—and is—unimportant for objective hermeneutics" (REICHERTZ 2004, p.290). But what is important is the detection of the objective structure that is achieved through sequential analysis; a step by step process that explores all potentialities of each sequence. Therefore objective hermeneutic analysis leads us both to "what is and to what normatively could be" (GARZ 2000, p.172)11). However, applying objective hermeneutics to my case study clearly refers to point c, the tri-dimensional structures, that is, universal, generation-typical and biography-typical. Coming back to the questions I introduced above, Paula TOBIAS’ ability to sustain her identity will be understood within tri-dimensional structures through objective hermeneutic analysis: reaching out from her individual biography into generation and even into universal patterns12). Methodologically, OEVERMANN explains the emergence of an individual type within the universal through his concept of investigation that falls in precisely with the generation of sense structures and objective meaning structures in human’s life-practice. As REICHERTZ states, "The goal of structural generalization is always the discovery and description of both general and single-case specific instances of rule-governedness, the so-called generative rules which […] have a status comparable to natural laws and natural facts" (2004, p.292). [10]

On the other hand LAWRENCE-LIGHTFOOT explains in a completely different way how the universal resides in the individual. For her it is a question of identifying with the case that is presented. The more one can identify, the more universal patterns are represented in the case-study. Relying on novelists, artists and the phenomenological paradigm (ethnography), her work also represents the effort to cross boundaries of scientific and aesthetical theory in order to "combine empirical and aesthetic description, in its focus on the convergence of narrative and analysis, in its goal of speaking to broader audiences" (LAWRENCE-LIGHTFOOT 1997, pp.13-14). Therefore, the self of the portraitist is the primary research instrument (point d). In my case-study of Paula TOBIAS, I wanted to recognize my position as a researcher within the process of analysis as well as in the process of writing, for which I found the approach of portraiture helpful. My intention was not to use portraiture as a method of investigation, but rather to emphasize the idea of portraiture which underlies my endeavor in this case-study. It also appears on the surface of my analytical description. I am committed to giving a person’s portrait in my terms as a way of presenting the essence of their biography. [11]

However, the triangulation of the methods I briefly described above was crucial to the reconstruction of Paula TOBIAS’ 1) life, 2) narrative and 3) contextualization as a whole life-practice as well as an individual one that contributed to sustaining her identity as a German. In the following section, I first present some arguments that lead to the "autobiographical issue" of her narrative which represents her particular view on her biography and then continue with the portrait that opens up the perspective on the biography as a whole (story). [12]

The storyteller as a self-creator: Paula TOBIAS’ special story

In regard to the question: "How did Paula TOBIAS describe the sustaining of her identity in her autobiography?" I shall highlight the subject of self-construction in narrations that also stresses my standpoint in the field of biographical research:

"I believe, that the person can be said to be a history—a subjectively composed and construed life story that integrates one’s past, present and future. The main thesis of [the] life story model of identity is that a person defines him- or herself by constructing an autobiographical story of the self, complete with setting, scene, character, plot and theme (McAdams 1985b, 1987). The story is the person’s identity (Erikson 1959). The story provides the person with a sense of unity and purpose in life—a sense that one is a whole being moving forward in a particular direction. From the standpoint of the personal identity, therefore, the person is both historian and history—a storyteller who creates the self in the telling (Cohler 1982; McAdams 1988b; Sartre 1964)." (McADAMS 1990, p.151) [13]

Only one aspect from the above cited comment should be picked out that leads directly to the next part of my elucidations: Paula TOBIAS is a storyteller who creates herself in the telling. Her manuscript gives us a deep insight into her from the outside. It is already a fascinating document of her self-construction as it is not only her own writing but also a collection of her correspondence, talks and other documents that further reflect her life. In an explanatory letter to the Harvard prize competition, she comments on her manuscript in the following way:

"After all, every item of this material is in strict connection with my life and I really did feel like putting this personal little life of mine on a more general and broader basis if I gave all that material as kind of a mirror reflecting my life rather than to enumerate just everything in a continuous straight line, which evidently would have better met your requirements" (PT/235/21). [14]

So the self-construction in this case lies not only in the story but additionally in the set of documents which indicates the complexity I faced with the manuscript and the additional data. Paula TOBIAS’ intention was to give a general and broader picture of her life. She also added in another part of her manuscript that she herself summarized "the seizable evidences for [her] confession of being German" (PT/235/32) which turned out to be the leitmotif for her autobiographical story-telling and the collection of the added material. [15]

In terms of theoretical speech I evaluated her self-view as being German in the first range as her "autobiographical issue" (comp. SCHUETZE 1989). And this therefore became problematic and such a big issue for her because of the National Socialist’s politics to nullify Jews as German. [16]

1.2 Autobiographical issue: German and the denial of being one

In current works in biographical research surrounding biographies from the Holocaust can be found an increasing interest on resources and structures people built up to survive denial, disregard and violation under the NS-Regime (BLOEMER 2004, GARZ 2003, BARTMANN 2005). The officially outspoken nullification of citizenship for Jews e.g. created a tremendous insecurity for those who considered themselves as Germans and whose intrinsic values were of German culture. According to ZIMMERMANN the German Jew would save Judaism but be completely loyal to Germany. "Loyalty was an index for German Jews in their own estimation" (ZIMMERMANN 1997, p.83). This Loyalty considered the state, the society and the culture. There were for example as many German Jews who fought in World War I as other Germans, and they felt as enthusiastic as every other German when the war started. Paula TOBIAS’ husband was one of them. He went as a reserve officer into the war right in the beginning and came only out when the war was over. [17]

In the late 1890s Jews tended to become more culturally German-centered than the average German, as KAPLAN points out in her work about Jewish women (1991, p.34). The problematic situation of Jews, who very late had the opportunity to become legal citizens in Germany13), consisted in their integration within the German society, mostly discussed around the question whether there was a Jewish-German symbiosis or not14). One way of integration for Jews lay in them overtaking German culture and rejecting their Jewish one. Another can be seen in considering themselves only as Germans and not even thinking of themselves as Jews. Moreover there are cases known that built up a culturally German oriented life while simultaneously obtaining their Jewishness, e.g., education and Jewish community life (comp. KAPLAN 1991, GARZ 2004, LOHFELD 2003). [18]

To explore the impact that the denial of German citizenship had on a Jew’s biography, it seems to be crucial to sketch the way in which this person defined him- or herself. Only the self-consideration of Jews can open the window to the influence that an outside definition like "Non-Arian" under the NS-Regime had on life, biography and identity-formation. Therefore I would like to emphasize that Paula TOBIAS saw herself mainly as a German and even under the Nazis she overtook the Nazi-speech and called herself "Non-Arian" in her autobiography rather than speaking about herself as a Jew. As I said before: to be German was her main issue not only for her self-re-consideration in her autobiography but also for her life in general. The following part of her autobiography may illustrate this point and the extraordinary emphasis she put on her German roots. From there I present her portrait leading into her fight for recognition. [19]

The portrait of her may make understandable not only her way of "being German" but also of her "being non-Jewish." [20]

2. The Portrait of Paula TOBIAS

Illustration 1: Portrait of Paula TOBIAS in front of her last residence in Bevern, Germany, private collection, photo copyright © 2003 by Leske und Budrich publishers, with friendly permission. [21]

2.1 The reconstruction: an analytical view


"Born in 1886 in Hamburg" (PT/235/11).

Paula TOBIAS chose these opening words for her autobiography. The date: 1886 in Hamburg creates a picture into which Paula TOBIAS is incorporated: Hamburg towards the end of the nineteenth century, a time of increasing Jewish emancipation and of aspiring bourgeoisie, a large city of cosmopolitan character—a Hanseatic city whose hallmark was trade. The reader is not informed about her status, her family or her religious faith at this point. Only later did she reveal her background when she wrote, "daughter of well-to-do, open minded citizens" (PT/235/12). And the reader also learns that her father had been a merchant and her mother a travel writer. [22]

Among other reasons, Paula TOBIAS had decided to compose her autobiography to show "the way how dramatic revolution of our time effects the actions and reactions of the average people" (PT/235/2) and mentioned the attribute that was ascribed to her under National Socialism: "Non-Aryan" (PT/235/1). As a daughter of Jewish merchant resident in Hamburg, she was associated with Jewish haute bourgeoisie circles. Her parents Siegfried SUSSMANN and Anna-Eva SUSSMANN, nee BERNHEIM in Braunschweig, were well-established citizens at the time of her birth on January 15, 1886. Paula TOBIAS' grandfather, Joseph SUSSMANN, had acquired civil rights by purchase in 1856. He also married a BERNHEIM. This fact suggests a traditional marriage practice within the family15). Paula TOBIAS was the first of her kind to break this tradition, and that documents her independence from family obligations and role patterns within the SUSSMANN family system. In Paula TOBIAS' family the dissolution of traditional life (meaning Jewish and bourgeoisie life) seems to have commenced. However, in some passages the manuscript suggests that her father insisted on traditional role patterns and attached great importance to class affiliation. Compared to her father her mother had a more modern view of gender issues and encouraged Paula TOBIAS to break the predefined pattern. As a travel writer her mother experienced considerable private areas in her life and an independence that was not compatible with the typical image of an haute-bourgeoisie woman16). Raised between these two poles tradition and modernity and facing the fact that her younger brother had all educational opportunities Paula TOBIAS decided to study medicine. [23]

Paula TOBIAS developed an enormous sense of separation in her early youth. Compared to her brother she was refused a higher education as a female within the "societal" norm. That means, to decide to study medicine and to become a physician forced her to fight for it rather than to stay in the pre-constructed identity of high-bourgeoisies daughters that presumed marriage and family. [24]

So the general feeling of "not being equal" first came to the surface when she faced the fact that her brother had the right to a university education whereas she was only able to study by taking a roundabout way. And this feeling accompanied her throughout her life—first during studies, later as a practicing physician and also as a wife. [25]

I find it interesting that she realized as a girl and later woman that she faced inequality in societal circumstances and therefore consciously had to act to sustain her identity—for instance to work for the goal to study medicine which was not in the traditional line of Jewish-German life in the bourgeoisie class. Conclusively she resisted inequality by fighting "for her way," finding options to follow her own path in a society that didn’t expect women to even have an "own" path17). [26]

After graduating from a secondary school for girls in Hamburg where she received a comprehensive education in languages and literature from 1893 to 1901, she made the rather difficult choice to reach her personal goal by participating in access courses (Realgymnasialkurse) that had been established especially for women. She passed her final examination with ten other students (out of 34 at the outset) in 1906 and was granted university entrance18). [27]

The German universities did not open up to women simultaneously. The year in which Paula TOBIAS passed her university entrance examination, was also the year in which Saxons' universities accepted women. Baden had granted women access to university in 1900 whereas Prussia followed as late as 1908. This context explains why Paula TOBIAS was enrolled in Berlin for a later period of studies and no registrations can be found on her first semesters at that university19).

Illustration 2: Paula TOBIAS registration-form for the University of Heidelberg, photo copyright © 2003 by Leske and Budrich publishers, with friendly permission. [28]

At the beginning of the century it was not possible to participate in all university courses without the consent of respective professors. But as stated by Paula TOBIAS she was able to overcome all difficulties she encountered as a woman20) in higher education and enjoyed her student days. She herself called them "those completely happy university years" (PT 235/5). Paula TOBIAS took up her studies in the winter semester of 1906 and completed them in 1911 when the degree of a doctor was conferred on her. She studied in Heidelberg, Berlin and Munich, was awarded the degree Bachelor of Sciences in Berlin and completed her studies in Heidelberg where she met Fritz TOBIAS21), who later became her husband. After one year of practical training at the pediatric clinic in Goettingen and at St. George's clinic in Hamburg, Eppendorf, Paula TOBIAS was registered as medical doctor on June 10, 1912. That same summer, she got married to Fritz TOBIAS, who was a physician as well. [29]

By the end of her studies Paula TOBIAS was 26 years old, had enjoyed a time of extensive freedom and there were no indications of severe difficulties in the quoted years. Owing to her work at the pediatric clinic in Goettingen during her professional training, she decided to specialize in pediatrics. As a well-educated physician she wished to accompany her husband to Southwest Africa and to work at a clinic there. Since she had already traveled a lot with her mother as a school girl and had learned to adapt to new situations in new and unfamiliar places as a student as well, it is not surprising to read about her plans in her autobiographical manuscript. But in the end, because three of her husband’s brothers were already living in America, the couple remained in Germany to stay near his family. Both Fritz TOBIAS and Paula TOBIAS, who were cosmopolitan types and largely used to city life, did not go to places such as Hamburg, Berlin or Munich. Paula TOBIAS'

"path—with a husband who walked the same one—two years before the war broke, was hopefully to lead to a joint country practice on soil they wished to acquire by their own hands' work and to an own family" (PT/235/30). [30]

The newly wed couple moved to Kreiensen in the Harz and opened a rural general practice that soon flourished. With this step Paula TOBIAS seems to have finally departed from her bourgeoisie background. In her autobiographical manuscript she repeatedly notes that at her husband's side, she had started the life of a country doctor, desired to have a family of her own and attempted to make a good life in the country. But on observing her further life, Paula TOBIAS' turn away from her metropolitan background occurs only on the surface. After the couple had set up their practice and the grave years of war were over, they were always able to afford a lifestyle that was comparable to other bourgeoisie families. Yet after completing her education, Paula TOBIAS was at the beginning of a new life as a physician and wife, and she articulated romantic visions of a family life in the country—a typical romantic vision of city dwellers of the time who hoped to escape from the machinery of urban life22). But her later life shows that she never really gave up her bourgeoisie German ways. And this is the dominating contradiction in her life, which she never indicated. On the contrary: she lived with the over-shading illusion of being a real country doctor. [31]

Practice in Kreiensen and Delligsen

Once she had taken up work as the first female physician in the federal state of Braunschweig, she started to strengthen the practice together with her husband. As a reservist Fritz TOBIAS left Kreiensen for the front immediately after the outbreak of the World War I in 1914. In the subsequent years of war Paula TOBIAS ran the practice on her own as well as a military hospital that was set up at the Kreiensen railway station.

Illustration 3: Paula TOBIAS working at the military hospital at the railway station, photo copyright © 2003 by Leske and Budrich publishers, with friendly permission. [32]

She was later awarded the Iron Cross, second degree, for this work. Working as a physician during war required commitment and devotion, qualities Paula TOBIAS developed on the grounds of her faith in her fatherland. In her autobiography she attributed her extreme dedication to her "being German." She felt she deserved recognition of her country and was, in fact, granted considerable appreciation. [33]

To underline the crucial fact that she felt German, I introduce a sentence that she wrote in a letter to Dr. CONTI23), who joined the SS (Nazi special police force = Schutzstaffel), was under-secretary of state and in charge of public health services later in 1939. In early 1933 Paula TOBIAS wrote to him: "That we have never ever been anything else than Germans with all our might and have been expelled and degraded by our own people—that is our tragedy" (PT/235/31-32). [34]

The war was a serious break at the beginning of her new life as a doctor and wife. Her desire to start a family had to be postponed; her married life no longer existed since Fritz TOBIAS remained in war for four years and was only permitted two weeks' home-leave per year. The period from 1914 to 1918 was crammed with effort, responsibility and an abundance of work and left traces in her life. That particularly intensified when she decided to leave Kreiensen in 1917 and to take over a practice near Delligsen, an industrial area without medical care. In 1918 she had to handle an influenza epidemic24) that kept her working 20 hours a day. So she states that "when the war was over, [she] looked parched like an old Indian woman" (PT 235/8) as a result of these hard working times. When her husband returned from war and took over the practice again, Paula TOBIAS receded into the background and gradually withdrew from practice work. Though she had to stand professionally aside in relation to her husband she then saw her chance to fulfill her dream of a family life in the country. After long years of hard work she allowed herself time to rest and to re-organize her life. [35]

After all, she was already 32 years of age and still had not started her family. In 1920 their son Johannes was born and their second son Gerd followed in 1923. Life in Delligsen seemed to unfold unspectacularly, at least, in terms of everyday life. Paula TOBIAS' autobiography does not provide respective details on her private or professional life. The only event that indicates she had not completely withdrawn from professional life was when she set up infant-welfare services in Delligsen. Witnesses reported that the TOBIAS' family had employed two household helpers so Paula TOBIAS was able to devote some of her time to practice work. Besides that, she had a special liking for English landscape gardening and cultivated her garden. Paula TOBIAS mentioned her garden several times in her autobiography and attached great importance to its value in her life. Subsequently, her appreciation for garden architecture constituted an essential component of her life in the country and needs to be addressed. Paula TOBIAS' style when she described the early years of the 1920s conveys harmony—a climate that certainly reflects her private life. She did not involve herself as much in social life as some others but seems completely absorbed by motherhood and happiness and her dream of a family come true. Even though there were revolutionary worker revolts25) in and around Delligsen and inflation had reached its height, there are no indications in the manuscript that would reveal difficulties or survival problems. On the contrary, Paula TOBIAS reported that her work was paid in groceries and that they had enough to eat and to entertain and serve meals to guests. [36]

The idyllic setting in Kreiensen was ended by war and the idyllic life in Delligsen by a tragic break. The first born son Johannes injured his leg and later died from blood-poisoning, a manifestation that was not curable at the time. Deeply shaken by their son's death, the couple decided to leave Delligsen and to take over a brother-in-law's practice in Bevern26). In the summer of 1928, they left Delligsen and moved to Bevern, a place 30 miles from Delligsen and at the time a parish-township of 1700 inhabitants. Basically, their life in Bevern was similar to their life in Delligsen. Thus it can be sketched as an idyllic German life. Paula TOBIAS dedicated herself to gardening, collecting German dolls and German porcelains. [37]

Practice in Bevern

Illustration 4: The house of Paula TOBIAS, photo copyright © 2003 by Leske and Budrich publishers, with friendly permission.

The family lived in a stately house and its location on the periphery of a village symbolized their special status as physicians, bourgeoisie citizens and also as Jews. There, and together with her husband, Paula TOBIAS took up practice work again. In her autobiography the death of her child is not mentioned again. And Beveran witnesses reported that they had not known that a brother of Gerd TOBIAS had existed. I conclude that Johannes' death became a taboo subject within the TOBIAS family and that Paula TOBIAS literally worked herself through the problem: changing to a new place opened up the chance to concentrate on new tasks. But it seems obvious that the loss of her son cast its "shadow" over her life. [38]

Illustration 5: Paula TOBIAS with her son Gerd, photo copyright © 2003 by Leske and Budrich publishers, with friendly permission.

A portrait of her with her son Gerd makes these shadows visible. An analysis of the portrait—that is taken around 1933-34—with objective hermeneutics27) gave a deep insight into a) her relationship to her son Gerd but b) also into her personality as I will explore in a few sentences. [39]

Assuming that this picture was taken to hold mother and son in memory for those who would receive the picture, it had to be a composition. In virtue of the date (1933-34) they would have gone to a photographer to have the picture taken. They both wear casual clothing what is an indication of a more private than official reason for the picture. Both faces appear with a completely different expression: Gerd is open, friendly, smiling and very powerful in contrast to his mother who looks serious, unconcerned and absent, not even looking at the camera. Although they are close together, there seems to be no connection other than: the mother standing behind and the young boy being in the foreground. And even in this very usual positioning, the boy gets all the attention of the observer because he is the "little one." Gerd’s position implies a movement towards Paula TOBIAS as his body is lightly turned in her direction. Contrary Paula TOBIAS is rigid. [40]

I don’t want to go too far into the interpretation, but what we know so far—the loss of her first son, her experiences in World War I and the rising National Socialism at the time the picture was taken, gives us further insight into her. And this also—analytically—can be of importance for an understanding of her biography. Her expression reflects her grief that rises from the before mentioned experiences and likewise from her knowledge about the uncertain and frightening future for herself and her son. Especially the last point makes clear how this picture represents the impact that Gerd’s position within the family had on their emigration: He literally stood in the foreground, not only in the picture shown above but mainly in Paula TOBIAS’ autobiographical writing and her arguments and reasoning for the emigration as will be sketched below. [41]

In her autobiography, Paula TOBIAS described Bevern in considerable detail. In allusion to the events to come she stated: "So it was Bevern, this lovely historical place right in the heart of Germany where we experienced the march of National Socialism" (PT/235/10). The special circumstances in Bevern when National Socialism set in were a reason for the TOBIAS family’s early decision to emigrate in 193528): The old castle in the center of Bevern was used as a college of physical education for storm troopers (SA Maenner) in late 1933 or early 193429). The presence of this small "national socialist army" resulted in violent attacks on village inhabitants who were Jews (there were two other Jewish families), social democrats or communists. Though the TOBIAS family was not physically attacked, storm troops regularly marched past their house singing anti-Semitic slogans. The entire village was under control of the storm troopers' division. Beyond that, several "stiff" teachers took advantage of their influence and tormented their pupils. [42]

One special attack that made Paula TOBIAS aware of the serious danger of the "new time" happened on April 1, 1933, the official day of boycott of Jewish institutions, stores, law-offices and physicians’ practices. To underline the historical circumstances that not only had an influence on her identity in the way of falling back on resources as I will show in the last part of this article but even influenced her everyday life and brought up the consciousness of real endangerment, I would like to present what Paula TOBIAS wrote about that special day:

"We did not know it was coming, and, after as usual at 6:30 am I had opened the gate and helped our boy to come out with his bicycle. From across the road there came two young fellows in full array and told me in the most embarrassed manner that they were supposed to stand in front of our property and not leave any patient in. When I replied that, after all, command was command and that there probably was nothing we or they could do about it, they were greatly relieved and moved towards their place in front of the gate. It did not work that way everywhere. In Holzminden [the next town] for example there had been bloody riots with plenty of arrests and shattered windows" (PT/235/178-179). [43]

This example elucidates that Paula TOBIAS realized what was going on in her country and that there was a real danger for her family from just "young fellows" as she says it here—not really taking them personally seriously—but the movement at all was seen more than ideologically dangerous. Concerning her personal German ideology, she had to realize that every single German could be the one who would patrol in front of her house, even the one who previously had been a friend or a nice neighbor. She wrote in a letter: "Now I have to comprehend something that had no relevance for us so far, but unfortunately is decisive these days for many people and things: we are non-Arian" (PT/235/89). [44]

Once she realized that the German society was split up and she belonged to the part that was unwanted, she started to fight for her recognition again (as she had done earlier to obtain higher education). She kept her everyday life as normal as possible. Especially for her son, Paula TOBIAS wanted to pretend a "normal" life. His friends were allowed to continue to come in to play and his parents tolerated his participation in activities organized by the HJ (Hitler Jugend/Hitler Youth). When he was excluded from the Hitler Youth through an anonymous charge against him, the idea of emigration evolved. Repeated attacks on Jewish pupils at the school Gerd attended climaxed in an abundance of posters attached all over the Gymnasium in Holzminden to keep out Jewish children30). Facing the hopeless situation of their son, Paula and Fritz TOBIAS decided to leave the country at a very early point in spring 193531). [45]

First they sent Gerd to a private school in the Netherlands—the Quaker school in Ommen whose founder they had known for years. In her autobiography Paula TOBIAS says that this school "became a heaven to those children who were lucky enough to get there" (PT/235/13832)). They themselves immediately organized their emigration, sold their house and settled all financial matters. They finally left Germany for good as early as November 19, 1935. Their destination was San Francisco. [46]

But not only the situation of her son made her thinking of leaving the country: she increasingly realized that she never could live in her fatherland as she had before the Nazi-Regime and its anti-Semitic politics settled in. People in whom she had believed turned away from her, as the following quote might highlight:

"It’s even more painful when people like you stand alongside to those who built up our pyre. I cannot think of any reason other than the good for Germany that moves you. When and where did we ever give our fatherland a substantiated cause to treat us like that?" (PT/235/174). [47]

Her fight for recognition in this sense will be explored in the following part. [48]

3. Misrecognition: The Denial of Being German and Fight for Recognition

3.1 Misrecognition—recognition

In order to explore Paula Tobias’ autobiographical focus more closely I would like to elucidate briefly the tension between both; the self-consideration of Paula TOBIAS as a German (recognition) and the "misrecognition" from the Nazis and other Germans that hit her as being "Non-Arian." I use the term "misrecognition" therefore to fall back on HONNETH’s ideas about "Struggle for recognition" in the HEGEL-tradition (HONNETH 1995). His approach in social-philosophy emphasizes the importance of a three-fold recognition scheme for any human being. Thus the scheme of the struggle for recognition includes the following:

  • the demand for love (confirming the reliability of one’s basic senses and needs and creating the basis for self-confidence—e.g. family);

  • the demand for rights (recognition for others as independent human beings with rights like oneself—creates the basis for self-respecte.g. civic society); and

  • the demand for solidarity: recognition as a unique person (what builds the basis for self-esteem—e.g. the state) (HONNETH 1995). [49]

In correlation with the HONNETH-scheme the process of losing official affiliation to the third category (state) and to the second category (civic-society) is considered to be reversal (GARZ 2003). That means: the life-long received recognition as part of Paula TOBIAS’ identity-formation in these categories was rejected by the Nazis and—as I already mentioned above—it is of crucial denotation how Paula TOBIAS herself valued the distinguished recognition-categories (comp. also LOHFELD 2004). [50]

Hence I outline her position as nationalistic German that grasps her subjective self-construction and elucidates her focus on the third HONNETH-category (state) but also gives us an insight into the Nazis’ political mode of action in general. Their propaganda and politics made it possible to annihilate the basic recognition for Jews as unique persons, which built up the inhumanity that history faced during the Nazi-Era. In terms of recognition STRAUB states:

"Recognition in a narrow sense is nothing other but the recognition of the existence of a human being. Recognition in a wider sense is connected to the confirmation of the value of this existence. Who refuses recognition in the first sense, denies the existence of the second—he acts as the other wouldn’t be there and devaluates him radically" (STRAUB 1999, p.77). [51]

This radical sense of misrecognition can be seen as the foundation of Paula TOBIAS autobiographical writing in which she intends to strengthen her identity for the reader by sketching her fight for her rights, her recognition and beyond that, her identity. [52]

So after all I found that Paula TOBIAS’ lost recognition from the state first, from the civic society second but resisted within the family-system—on the other hand she gained a new platform of solidarity: the mental solidarity with the victims of the National Socialistic Regimes. This is demonstrated in several sentences of her manuscript when she defends Jews as Germans and uses the collective expression "we." Therefore she could fight for her recognition even if she knew intellectually she would lose and never gain recognition from the "new order" (how she calls it) back again. But for her as a woman who felt deeply attached to her fatherland, its culture and its people, the denial of her citizenship and recognition as a German mattered even more than her Jewish identity—what never appears to be an issue in her autobiography. So as McADAMS points out: "A person defines him- or herself by constructing an autobiographical story of the self, complete with setting, scene, character, plot and theme" (McADAMS, as quoted before). Paula TOBIAS constructed herself as the German woman, physician and mother she always had been—in her view with complete absence of any Jewish identity. Understanding this basic issue—her being German but not Jewish—it is apparent that the approach of HONNETH can help to explore the impact of misrecognition on a person’s identity33). We can understand on which level the biographer puts the most value to be recognized, how this is founded within the biography and the individual development. From there we can determine what matters most for the person: misrecognition from the state (solidarity), the society (rights) or the family (love). [53]

Or how do people react to misrecognition? In the case of Paula TOBIAS, she fought for her recognition but without really taking a risk as people in the resistance movement did. Her process can be seen as an intellectual one as will be sketched below. [54]

3.2 Paula TOBIAS: The German

Paula TOBIAS had become disillusioned through her two-year struggle that started when Hitler "seized power" and lasted until her emigration. Within these years Paula TOBIAS corresponded with various authors, priests, officials etc. on the crucial issue of race. These were based on her deeply incorporated persuasion that she was German without any doubts and that any Jew who lived in the country and considered him-or herself as German should be recognized as one. [55]

After the Nazis settled in she lost her permission to do mother-counseling in Bevern for the community because of her being "non-Arian." Her immediate response pointed to her loyalty to her work and to the destiny she saw in her work as a country doctor: "I never did this work to reach financial advantages. As a testimony to that, I allege that even in the years of the inflation when no one paid any pecuniary reparation or allowance, I continued the mother-counseling without disruption" (PT/235/80). [56]

Other correspondence followed, but as early as April 1933 Paula TOBIAS faced the fact that she was not eligible for this work anymore. In a letter from the office in charge she got the following answer (summarization): "[…] I acknowledge your merits […]. But also after reconsidering I cannot depart from my former resolution. […] This kind of work does not allow the accomplishment by Non-Arians or their wife at all" (PT/235/81). [57]

This example gives an insight in the way Paula TOBIAS tried to defend herself: with the argument of always having been a faithful citizen and therefore a good German. On the other hand one can learn how strict the system in its early years rejected Jews from positions34). [58]

Another very intense correspondence that should be mentioned here demonstrates Paula TOBIAS intellectual way of fighting for her recognition. She wrote letters with a National Socialistic Philosopher, Dr. Gertrud BAUMGART, who published her propagandistic work on women issues in well-known journals35). Paula TOBIAS discussed with her the new Nazi-Law that expelled "Non-Arians" from different societal participations. Even the issue of the term "Non-Arian" was part of their controversy. The only response Paula TOBIAS would get was that she was seen as a special case but there would be no exception in terms of her being "Non-Arian." The new order had to be taken into account for everyone who fell under the term "Non-Arian." Dr. BAUMGART wrote:

"I see you as a person with high education and unusual character and spirit who put herself out in the years of war and also the following years more than some other German women. I completely understand that the depreciation you suffer today, hit you undeserved and that you feel it as a special hardship that you are unable to grasp. I am very sorry for these hardships that hit single people so undeserved. […] Our women commission lies now on a unique ideological basis, and I think that the abscission was necessary although it has been painful—a sacrifice that was offered innocently" (PT/235/64-65). [59]

At the end Paula TOBIAS had to admit that Jews "were seen as varmints and delinquents without distinction" (PT/235/73). [60]

The expressions she uses to characterize how she felt being treated namely as a varmint and a delinquent, emphasize that she lost her recognition as a unique person in the HONNETH-sense. After she exposed herself intellectually to people like Dr. BAUMGART, there was nothing else left than to admit that she lost her fight. Other than in the first mentioned dispute with the health administration, her intellectual combat hit her deep in her self-conception. [61]

On the basis of these correspondences I distinguish two levels of misrecognition which both led to different reactions: First: the misrecognition of her rights (in the HONNETH-sense b) that lead to a fight for her rights in an almost sportive manner. Second: the misrecognition of her person as a German (in the HONNETH-sense c) that lead to her disillusion and finally her emigration. [62]

In addition to her correspondences with National Socialists—what I consider her intellectual fight—she had to face another level of quarrel: the everyday-life in Bevern, with friends, family and institutions. Within that she had experienced solidarity of and attachment to the village people and friends who detested political directives that determined her destiny. So she had struggled in an area of conflict, either in feelings of affinity and reliance or of deportation and suspicion. Her reality was divided into two halves and she was not able to close her eyes to either alternative. Excluded as a "non-Aryan" and deprived of essential personality-shaping basics she identified with other persecuted people. But she did not give herself up and stayed the German citizen she had always been: a physician who had devoted her work to those in war, who loved her country and felt attached to German culture. [63]

4. Conclusion: Single Case but More Than Just Exceptional

As, in any case study, the tragic impact of National Socialism on any individual can merely be outlined by given extracts. But what calls our attention here is that Paula TOBIAS did not focus on the analysis of National Socialism when she formulated her biography but unfolded her entire life before the reader and with that uncovered the massive impact of National Socialism in a much more powerful manner. To convey an idea of her tragic life I shall quote an extract of an article that was published in the German medical journal "Deutsche Aerzteblatt" in 1933 to which Paula TOBIAS responded to express her personal dismay. The author of the article entitled "State, People and Race" ("Staat, Volk und Rasse") was the above mentioned Dr. CONTI36). His anti-Semitic position mirrors the National Socialistic politic that thrust Paula TOBIAS into her fight for recognition of her German identity This information allows an estimation of the consequences for Paula TOBIAS: what restricted her crucially was the outside definition that turned her into a "non-Aryan" (misrecognition) and led to exclusion once she was no longer allowed to be a German citizen. The extract to follow detects that she was suddenly looked upon as "inferior" by the German people. And the impact of these circumstances on Paula TOBIAS becomes intelligible when one recalls that in her manuscript she never saw herself as anyone other than a "German citizen." CONTI wrote:

"A people is comparable to a coin. A coin consists of various metals—like a people of races—at a specific alloying ratio. This alloy at precisely this ratio imbues the coin with the physical and chemical properties as the character of our people results from the Russian diversity of people. Just as the stamp, the state mintage then confers the practical value on the coin’s metal, the purchasing power, and just so the state confers political power on the people. A loss of coin value is comparable to racist infiltration. The character of a people gradually changes unnoticed until finally the distinct national emblem no longer corresponds to the real nature [of its people]." (CONTI in Deutsches Aerzteblatt 1933, Heft 1, pp.21-22)37) [64]

What had driven Paula TOBIAS out of the country was her sudden exclusion from those to whom she had belonged, whom she had believed in and who had like herself wanted Germany's "best." Even people like the introduced Dr. BAUMGART never really responded to her and acknowledged her arguments: her writing was sent against a wall of ideology and fear. She felt the separation from "her people" especially when she saw herself included in the mass of all Jews as varmints and delinquents. But the writing helped her to sustain her German identity and to not give it up as the following quote may highlight: "Let us not give up our faith in the destiny of the German, perhaps we will make it then after all—despite all that" (PT/235/164). [65]

The wall of ideology and fear that Paula TOBIAS hit with her continuing questioning is the same that can be seen as the incapacity of the National Socialist ideologists to respond in the way Kelly OLIVER (2001) describes it in her book on "Witnessing beyond recognition." Therefore any response-ability causes subjectivity and humanity: "That is to say, subjectivity and humanity are the result of "response-ability." That which precludes a response destroys subjectivity and thereby humanity" (OLIVER 2001, p.90). That’s exactly what happened to Paula TOBIAS: she tried so hard to get a response that would give her any recognition back, but she did not realize that National Socialists were not able to see her as a person they could respond to. In their eyes she already had lost her human nature. As LAUB points out: "The absence of an addressable other, an other who can hear the anguish of one’s memories and thus affirm and recognize their realness, annihilates the story" (LAUB quoted in OLIVER 2001, p.90). [66]

So in a way her own story tended to become unreal for Paula TOBIAS. By calling Jews "Non-Arian" and declassifying them, the Nazis intended to question the possible existence of any human value, any human reality of German Jews. Paula TOBIAS fought against any questioning of her value, her past, her future. In terms of the importance for any human being to be recognized as shown by HONNETH (1995), STRAUB (1999) and others (TAYLOR 1996, TODOROV 1993), the case study of Paula TOBIAS gives an insight into the tragedy that followed the misrecognition through the Nazis for Jews—and that not even in the sense of the later initiated genocide. But already in the first years of the national socialistic political establishment, tragedy derived from the single fact of the denial of recognition as grasped in the case study of Paula TOBIAS. Her strength let her fight intellectually and hold up her belief in herself. [67]

The following quote from a letter that Paula TOBIAS wrote to Dr. CONTI in early 1933 summarizes the fact that is mentioned before; that she refused to reinterpret her life in terms of the outside definition "Non-Arian." Hence it shows additionally that Paula TOBIAS integrated herself in the mass of German Jews and thus created the idealized mental solidarity in which she felt herself recognized as before (shift from the "I" to the "we"). Obviously this group existed and was real—encompassing response-ability (OLIVER 2001) and therefore the "other" that sustain subjectivity and humanity—recognition.

"I employed the apparently sophisticated narrative style 'I' and self-reflection because a person can only take an issue to its limits if he presents his very own concerns. What I am and what I do is nothing special, others did the same under changing conditions. Basically, it was all a matter of course and isn't and never has been worth talking about […]. Yet if uncritical masses, young people and children, are induced to condemn us by arousing means then there is nothing left to us but to say 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do'. [...] They just let my name and everything attached to it sink into oblivion. I do not want to be more than the unknown soldier in my country's colors [...]. Our tragedy does not live on self-deception […] A life like ours [she means the life of Jews] with all its conclusions and implications is not built on self-deception" (PT/235/31-32). [68]


1) DENZIN and LINCOLN e.g. formulated the crisis of representation in their model of five (in 1998) and later seven "moments" (in 2000) of qualitative research. Although they maintain that it is overcome, I still think qualitative research has its difficulties in representing results. <back>

2) New York Times, Pariser Tageblatt, Gelbe Post Shanghai. <back>

3) These manuscripts are in the Houghton Archive at Harvard University in Cambridge, Ma, USA, the Carl. v. Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany and in the private collection of Prof. Dr. Detlef GARZ in Mainz, Germany. <back>

4) Professor Dr. Detlef GARZ who is now Professor of Education at the University of Mainz in Germany. <back>

5) Published studies: LOHFELD 1998, 2003; BLOEMER 2004; GARZ & Knuth 2004; BARTMANN 2005. Published manuscripts: Hilde WEISS, Friedrich Gustav Adolf REUSS, Arthur SAMUEL, Eva WYSBAR, Kaethe VORDTRIEDE. <back>

6) I refer mainly to the concept that is brought up by Winfried MAROTZKI who states: "The concept of Biographization characterizes that form of meaning-ordering, sense-creating behavior of the subject in conscious awareness of his or her own past life" (2004, p.103). <back>

7) These aspects point to the difference of single-case-analysis and single-case-description as it is distinctively differentiated by OEVERMANN (2000, pp.58-156). <back>

8) As KRAIMER summarized very briefly in his article about Single-Case-Studies a case just unfolds its structure in the contradiction of self-view and the objective (outside) view. The researcher is the one who deepens the case by discovering the new and the unknown that unfolds the structure of the case or: the objective structure (KRAIMER 2000, pp.23-57). <back>

9) This position refers to the ideas of MEAD and BLUMER of symbolic mediated Interaction (MEAD 1980/1934). <back>

10) The formal text analysis divides the narrative into sections of themes. Each section will be given a headline that condenses the content. The structural description then will re-tell the text but it includes an analytical perspective that points to specific words, contradictions, repetitions and conspicuousness. The ensuing analytical abstraction then generates processes of acting, suffering and changing that are mostly of interest working with this method (SCHUETZE 1981;1982). <back>

11) Objective Hermeneutics is a quite complex theoretical, methodological and operational concept. I only refer to very major strings of this concept to clarify my approach for this case study on Paula TOBIAS. <back>

12) In addition I should mention that I analyzed pictures, documents and letters as well as (e.g.) the beginning of the manuscript using objective hermeneutics. One example will be explored in the portrait beneath when I present a short interpretation of a family portrait. <back>

13) The official equalization was made in 1871/72 (1871-72). After that Jews tended even more to push their life in the direction of German culture and German habits. <back>

14) Moshe ZIMMERMANN for instance integrates a section about the complex of German-Jewish symbiosis in his work on Jewish life in Germany between 1914 and 1945. The different positions do not point in one distinctive direction but open a whole range of possibilities from Hannah ARENDT to Martin BUBER (ZIMMERMANN 1997, pp.84-89). <back>

15) Arranged marriages were traditional among Jewish families (cf. KAPLAN 1991, pp.86ff). <back>

16) Cf. KAPLAN 1991. <back>

17) Of course she was not the only Jewish woman who studied medicine and built up a career as a physician. But although there were other women with a similar background they still were counted as the exceptions of the society of the late 19th century and the early 20th century (cf. KAPLAN 1991). <back>

18) The access courses (Realgymnasialkurse) were first introduced in Berlin by Helene LANGE in 1893. The courses that Paula TOBIAS attended in Hamburg were designed similarly. Helene LANGE is regarded as one of the leading figures of the German Women's Movement. In 1890 she founded the "Allgemeine Deutsche Lehrerinnen-Verein" (General Association for Female, German Teachers) and in 1892 she attained the inclusion of Prussian girls into upper secondary education (the first six women were awarded their University Entrance Certificate in 1896). <back>

19) Available data on Paula TOBIAS' studies: in the winter term 1906-07 she was enrolled in Heidelberg, in the summer term 1907 until March 7, 1909 in Berlin, from May 1st until October 10, 1909 enrolled in Heidelberg again, in the winter term 1909-10 she enrolled in Munich, and from April 30, 1910 until February 21st, 1911 in Heidelberg. <back>

20) Cf. PRAHM 1997; UNSCHULD 1994 and KAPLAN 1991. All in all, obstacles to female students at German universities, also after they opened up to women, are reported. Sexism and anti-Semitism against Jewish women were definitely problems they had to face. Paula TOBIAS' not mentioning difficulties substantiates (a) her healthy self-confidence and (b) a fading out and minimizing of her experience. <back>

21) Fritz TOBIAS was born on August 16, 1887 in Hofgeismar. Parents: Simon TOBIAS and Rosa, nee DANNENBAUM, both of Jewish faith. He took up his studies of medicine in Freiburg (3 semesters), continued in Kiel (3 semesters), Munich (1 semester), Berlin (1 semester) and Heidelberg (2 semesters). After his sixth semester Fritz TOBIAS joined the military for his compulsory service in the 85th infantry regiment in Kiel. He passed his physicians' examination in May 1910. The degree of a doctor was conferred on him on June 7, 1910 and he was registered as medical doctor on July 21, 1911. <back>

22) Cf. NIPPERDEY 1998. <back>

23) Dr. med. CONTI, Leonardo was born in 1900 in Lugano, Switzerland. Died in 1945 in Nuremberg through suicide. He was founder of the anti-Semitic association for German Culture. By 1923, he had already joined the SA. In 1939 he became Minister for Health in the German Reich. In this position he was responsible for all activities in the health system, e.g. the murders of people in mental-homes. <back>

24) The Spanish Influenza from which 20 million people died worldwide. <back>

25) All over Germany there were revolts against farmers because groceries were so expensive. The marches of the USPD (a left splinter group of the Social Democratic Party) that had grown around Rosa LUXEMBURG escalated in Braunschweig and had immediate effects on Delligsen as well. <back>

26) In the manuscript Dr. Max STAHL is referred to as a brother-in-law. But there is no evidence that Max STAHL was related to either the TOBIAS or SUSSMANN family. <back>

27) The analysis of the portrait was done sequence by sequence and unfolds the structure of the picture as an expression of the life-practice of the two persons photographed. That takes into account the composition of the picture, the situation that brings people to take a picture and from there, the meaning that is grasped (OEVERMANN 2000). <back>

28) The main emigration time for Jews from Germany in the National Socialistic period is dated on 1938-39. <back>

29) The date could not be clarified either by literature, documents or people’s memories. In the little history about the castle, for example, is only a short note about the period of the National Socialism, which only mentions a hosted sports academy but not that it was related to the SA (comp. SANDER 1990). <back>

30) The posters hold the following: "No Jews wanted", "We don’t want to see Jews here!" (KIEKBUSCH 1998, p.450) <back>

31) Finally they left Germany on November 19, 1935 on the "Seattle" to San Francisco. <back>

32) From another manuscript out of the prize-competition it is known that the author’s children were sent there as well (comp. SCHNEIDER 1940). <back>

33) The term "misrecognition" is already used in several works on HONNETH’s book "Struggle for Recognition" (1995). It grasps the meaning of processes that are indicated by the denial of former received recognition in the HONNETH-sense. <back>

34) After HITLER seized power no Jew could possibly stay in a government position except those who fought in World War I. The special law was called: "Gesetz zur Einfuehrung des Berufsbeamtentums." Although Paula TOBIAS was not employed by the state but did state-affiliated work she fell under this law (comp. Walk 1996). <back>

35) Dr. Gertrud BAUMGART was born on 24th of April 1880, died on February 17th 1962. Published in the women journal "Die Frau." <back>

36) Cf. Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopaedie Bd. VII, Munich 1998. <back>

37) I do not intend to outline the race debate of the 1930s since I assume it is already known. Above all, the extract of Dr. CONTI's article is quoted to demonstrate its relevance for Paula TOBIAS' biography. <back>


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Current position: Post-Doc Research Fellow at Bates College, USA, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Doing research in a study: Misrecognition as a category in socio-historical research: A project on Life-Strategies of German Jews who fled to Shanghai in 1939.

Major research areas: qualitative methods, biographical research, single case studies, misrecognition


Dr. Wiebke Lohfeld

Bates College
Canham House
146 Wood Street
Lewiston, Maine 04240

E-mail: wlohfeld@bates.edu


Lohfeld, Wiebke (2005). Fight for Recognition. The Portrait of the German Physician Paula TOBIAS (1886 – 1970). A Reconstructive Biographical Analysis [68 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(3), Art. 22, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0503224.

Copyright (c) 2005 Wiebke Lohfeld

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