Dr. Hugo Falkenheim – Noted Physician and Professor of Pediatrics

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By Kristine Klein

Doctor of Medicine in 1881, he continued his studies in Austria.  Dr. Falkenheim returned to Königsberg (today Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1882 and began work at the University of Königsberg.  In 1896, Falkenheim was appointed Professor Extraordinary  of Pediatrics and founded the University Children’s Clinic. He was appointed to the Director of Pediatrics of the university in 1921 during the Weimar Republic. According to a family newsletter, because Falkenheim was Jewish, he was “probably” only reluctantly promoted to the position. He retired from that position in 1926. In addition, he served as the Director of Pediatrics at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Konigsberg from 1885 until his retirement in 1935. 

Dr. Hugo Falkenheim - Noted Physician and Professor of Pediatrics

During World War I, Dr. Falkenheim served as a physician and was promoted to Generaloberazt (Res) (Physician – General of the Reserve). After the war, Dr. Falkenheim returned to the University. 

Dr. Falkenheim married Margarethe Caro on June 5, 1890. They had five children: Albert, Curt, Maria, Susanne, and Käthe, all of whom survived the Holocaust.

Dr. Falkenheim was an active member in his community. He was well known for his advocacy for the Jewish population of Königsberg. In 1908, Dr. Falkenheim was one of the founders of the local section of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith. Dr. Falkenheim became the chair of the Jewish Congregation of Königsberg in 1928. At age 80, he organized and managed the emigration of many of Königsberg’s Jewish residents. 

In October of 1941, 85-year-old Dr. Falkenheim and his wife, Margarethe, were loaded onto a locked truck to be transported out of Königsberg where they had lived most of their lives. Scholz and Schroeder  described the Falkenheims’ emigration in their book, Ärzte in Ost-und Westpreussen: Leben und Leistung siet dem 18. Jarhundert: “He had to leave behind all his possessions” and “was transported in a sealed truck to Barcelona and from there by small cargo boat to Havana, whence after a stay of eleven months he went to join his second son…in Rochester, NY.”

Dr. Falkenheim died in Rochester, NY in 1945 at the age of 89. He is buried along with his wife, Margarethe (née Caro), his son Albert and his wives Ruth (née Gerson), and Eva Sophia (née Eichelbaum-Gellin) and his son Curt and his wife Ella (née Brust-Landsberger).

Notes  

  • Note: Some sources note that Dr. Falkenheim was smuggled out Königsberg and did not emigrate. 
  • Note: “About half of the Jewish population emigrated between the Nazi seizure of power (January 1933) and the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939. More than 1,000 Jews from Königsberg were deported, either directly or indirectly, to death camps in 1942–1943.” The Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. (Retrieved November 16, 2021)
  • Note: One source, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kinder-und Jugendmedzin, notes that Dr. Falkenheim was imprisoned for a brief period by the Gestapo after the November pogrom in 1938. (Retrieved November 16, 2021)

Sources