Master's Theses

Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Dr. Paul Nienkamp


Before World War II, Jewish individuals held prominent employment roles within society. It was not until Adolf Hitler and the German National Socialist Party (Nazi) party came to power in 1933 in Germany that this idea changed. Men and women quickly lost their jobs and status, even the doctors and lawyers. Three Jewish doctors, Lucie Adelsberger, Gisella Perl, and Olga Lengyel found ways to continue their professions once they went to Auschwitz. They became prison doctors, allowing them to help all of those women and children who needed medical treatment because of experiments and diseases in the camp.

Adelsberger, an immunologist in Germany before the war, continued her medical work in Auschwitz. She had to quickly learn gynecology to better serve the women and children in her care. Perl and Lengyel, both from modern day Romania studied gynecology in medical school, which helped them while working under Dr. Josef Mengele.

This thesis provides a unique narrative of these three women, their experiences during World War II, their survival of the Holocaust, and how they helped reinterpret what it meant to be a good physician during and after WWII.


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© 2020 Jacqueline Honings

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