A 102-year-old woman has received her doctorate from a German university, nearly 80 years after the Nazis prevented her from sitting the final exam to officially obtain it. Paediatric expert Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport was presented with her PhD title by Hamburg's UKE University Medical Centre on Tuesday despite having completed her thesis on diphtheria in 1938.
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. 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 was Jewish.
"It was about the principle, not about me," Ms 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.