102 Years Old Woman gets Doctorate after 77 years from a German University

102 Years Old Woman gets Doctorate after 77 years from a German University102 Years Old Woman gets Doctorate after 77 years from a German University

HAMBURG: A 102 year-old woman received her doctorate from a German university on Tuesday -- nearly 80 years after the Nazis prevented her sitting the final exam to officially obtain it.
Paediatric expert Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport was presented with her Ph.D. title by Hamburg’s UKE University Medical Centre despite having completed her thesis on diphtheria by 1938.

102 Years Old Woman gets Doctorate after 77 years from a German University

She had studied medicine in the northern port city and worked at its Israelite Hospital from 1937 to 1938 when she wrote her doctoral dissertation, the UKE said.

102 Years Old Woman gets Doctorate after 77 years from a German University
By then Hitler’s regime had imposed racially motivated legal restrictions which barred her from being allowed to sit her oral exam and obtain her title because of her Jewish descent. Her mother, Maria Syllm, a pianist, was Jewish.

“It was about the principle, not about me,” Syllm-Rapoport said in an interview published online with Germany’s Tagesspiegel daily last month. The Berlin resident said the university had shown “great patience” for which she was grateful.
102 Years Old Woman gets Doctorate after 77 years from a German University
To prepare for the belated exam, friends googled developments in diphtheria over the last eight decades for her, she added.
Her professor in 1938 had issued a certificate stating he would have passed her thesis at the time if it had been legally possible to do so, she said.
Syllm-Rapoport finally successfully sat her oral test in May, the Hamburg university said in a statement, adding she was probably the oldest person in the world to receive a doctorate.
Syllm-Rapoport emigrated to the United States in 1938 where she met her husband and continued her career in paediatrics, the UKE said. Without her official Ph.D, she faced a further two years of studying in Philadelphia.
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