The Viennese Julius Bauer, chief physician (Primar) at the Vienna Polyclinic, was considered an expert in genetics. Born in Bohemia, he came to Vienna in 1905. He studied both in Vienna and in Paris. He received his doctorate in Vienna in 1910 and moved to Innsbruck for four years. Upon his return, he wrote his post-doctoral thesis, "Konstitutionelle Disposition zu Inneren Krankheiten". He was appointed private lecturer in 1910, associate professor in 1926, and chief physician in 1928.1
Scientific Criticism of Nazi "Racial Hygiene"
Bauer often represented the Vienna Medical Faculty internationally at the request of its dean, for example at the Italian Internists' Congress in 1934.2 His research was considered in the relevant Nazi manual "Zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses".3 Soon he was persecuted as a Jew and had to flee in 1938.4 Previously, he had aggressively opposed the National Socialist interpretation of genetic research. Bauer was particularly outspoken in the Schweizer Medizinische Wochenschrift, where he opposed the misuse of scientific terms as "political buzzwords," ultimately rejecting the entire Nazi racial hygiene – as he had done in an article in the Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift a year earlier.5 Errors and inconsistencies of representatives of Nazi "racial hygiene" such as Hans Günther and Otmar von Verschuer were exposed. Bauer's political positioning was equally unambiguous: "If the recognized legal expert Ebermayer was still able to write the following in 1913: 'Forced sterilization may, however, for the time being remain remote from the German penal law, for this measure, in my opinion, German sentiment – I would like to say: fortunately – is not yet ripe,' the situation in Germany today shows how much German sentiment – I would like to say: unfortunately – has changed."6 Bauer "urgently" warned "against [...] mixing science and politics, against letting the intellectual search for pure truth be influenced by political moments of feeling."7
Science, and thus truth, can never be national, it can only ever be international bound to humanity and can therefore only ever be apolitical."7
Targeted Campaign Against Bauer
The article was not without consequences. An appeal by "Reichsärzteführer" (Reich medical leader) Gerhard Wagner appeared in German medical journals, in which not only Bauer, but also Alfred Gigon, the editor in chief of the Schweizer Medizinische Wochenschrift, were fiercely attacked. Since Bauer had been invited to speak at the "Internationale Medizinische Woche in der Schweiz" to be held in Montreux in 1935, Wagner at the same time called for a boycott of this event. It was "of course impossible for any German physician who is aware of the dignity of his country to take part in the Montreux Week." Wagner noted with relish that "even Swiss scholars" had "raised objections and declared their participation in the Montreux Week to be completely out of the question after the organizer, Professor Gigon, editor in chief of the 'Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift,' had included a very mean political inflammatory article against Germany penned by the Viennese Jew as editorial."8
It is worth noting that eight years later Alfred Gigon was admitted to the Leopoldina at the suggestion of Alfred Schittenhelm.9
Expulsion by the DGIM
Bauer was disinvited by Swiss officials following Wagner's attack. However, his lecture was printed under the incorrect note "Herr Prof. Bauer war verhindert, den Vortrag zu halten" (Prof. Bauer was prevented from giving the lecture) in the Schweizer Medizinische Wochenschrift 1936. The correct annotation would have been that Bauer "was" prevented, as he himself noted in his autobiography published in 1964.10 The DGIM followed National Socialist propaganda unquestioningly. It excluded Bauer from its ranks. He had last been, as it were, the Austrian representative on their committee. The exclusion document bears Alfred Schwenkenbecher's signature. At the opening of the committee meeting on April 12, 1936, Schwenkenbecher justified his colleague's ejection by saying that "he had published an article in the Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift, to which the German medical profession took exception."11
Escape to the United States
After Austria was incorporated into the German Reich in 1938, Bauer, now dismissed from the University of Vienna, fled to the United States via France. He was able to assume professorships at Louisiana State University (New Orleans), California's Loma Linda University and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He died in Beverly Hills in 1979 at the age of 91.12 Julius Bauer had done what could have been an honour to the DGIM. At the right time, he had found the appropriate words to expose the inhumanity along with the inadequate scientific foundation of Nazi legislation on forced sterilization. The DGIM, however, did not stand up for its clear and free-thinking member, but followed Reichsärzteführer Wagner and the propaganda machinery of the dictatorship.