David Adlersberg

born on 07/23/1897 in Rohatyn (today Western Ukraine)
died on 01/10/1960 in New York

DGIM Member 1927 – 1935

David Adlersberg spent almost his entire youth in Vienna1, where he studied medicine. He graduated in 1921, and became an assistant at the I. Medizinischen Klinik des Allgemeinen Krankenhauses Wien. He remained at this clinic for 15 years, first under Karl Frederik Wenckebach, then under Otto Porges, and finally under the wartime DGIM chairman, Hans Eppinger. He was strongly involved in gastroenterological and endocrinological topics. Together with Porges, he developed the concept of a low-fat diet for the therapy of diabetes mellitus.2 He also did research on bile acids, hyperventilation tetany, and on hydrogen exchange.3


Adlersberg had received an invitation to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York as early as 1931.4 Adlersberg did not forget this invitation, because he also suffered from the growing pro-National Socialist sentiment that his superior, Hans Eppinger, encouraged rather than curbed. He emigrated to the United States with his wife Gisela and daughter Margarete in June 1936. The family boarded the passenger ship "SS Champlain" in Le Havre and reached New York on May 5, 1936.5 Adlersberg immediately found employment at Mount Sinai Hospital.6 Due to his splendid reputation, he did not have to take the American exams; he even received the American residency in internal medicine in 1939 without the exam.

Adlersberg was appointed "Associate Attending Physician for Metabolic Diseases" and was able to continue his nutritional medical research as chief physician of the "Nutrition Clinic" and, also as head of his own laboratory, the "Nutrition Laboratory" from 1952. He conducted a large number of studies during this time. Adlersberg was also active as a clinical teacher at the same time, and was a member of the Columbia University Medical School as assistant clinical professor. He also served as a consultant gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Hospital and Seton Hospital.

Adlersberg's scientific focus during his New York years was on celiac disease and malabsorption syndrome, on which he edited a comprehensive review,7 and lipid metabolism. He elaborated on the role of hypercholesterolemia in atherosclerosis and diabetes and investigated the extent to which ethnic and dietary aspects affected the disease in field studies of Orthodox Jews and Hutterites.8

David Adlersberg died after a prolonged illness at the age of 62.


For Adlersberg's biography, see George B. Jerzy Glass, In Memoriam David Adlersberg, 1897-1960, in Proceedings of the Rudolf Virchow Medical Society in the City of New York, 19 (1961), pp. 22-27; H. Sobottka, In Memoriam: David Adlersberg, 1897-1960, in: Journal of The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, 27 (July-August 1960), pp. 379-381; H. David Popper. Adlersberg 1897-1960, in Gastroenterology, 39 (July 1960), pp. 111-112.See David Adlersberg/Otto Porges, Die Behandlung der Zuckerkrankheit mit fettarmer Kost, Berlin, 1929.On Adlersberg's early scientific-gastroenterological work, cf. Isidor Fischer, Geschichte der Gesellschaft der Ärzte in Wien 1837-1937, Vienna 1938, pp. 179-189.See Susanne von Blumesberger/Michael Doppelhofer/Gabriele Mauthe (eds.), Handbuch österreichischer Autorinnen und Autoren jüdischer Herkunft 18. bis 20. Jahrhundert. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (ed.), vol. I, Munich, 2002, p. 17.The National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944, Series: M1972, Roll: 1383, No. 407163.See Arthur H. Aufses/Barbara Niss, This House of Noble Deeds. The Mount Sinai Hospital, 1852-2002, New York/London 2002, where Adlersberg is admittedly not mentioned.David Adlersberg (ed.). The Malabsorption Syndrome, New York 1957.See

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