Margot Wilhelmine Kaufmann was born in Berlin as the daughter of Emil Georg Kaufmann and his wife Martha née Lehmann. She attended the Realgymnasium Augustaschule in Breslau, where she passed her school leaving exams (Abitur) in September 1920. She took up medical studies in Freiburg in April 1921. Stations in Heidelberg, Berlin and Bern followed. She passed the state examination on 7 December 1925. After completing her traineeship, she received her doctorate in 1927 in Freiburg under Paul Trendelenburg (1884-1931) with a thesis on the influence of the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland on the intestine.1 She then returned to Berlin, where she married the Jewish banker Erich Norbert Goldschmidt (1883-1931) on 15 May 1929. His first wife Charlotte Czapski had passed away in 1925. She found employment as an assistant doctor at the Westend hospital.2
Persecution and Emigration
After her husband's death in 1931, Margot Goldschmidt left her residence in Berlin-Grunewald and moved to Frankfurt am Main for two years, where she worked as an internist at the university's medical clinic. Returning to Berlin, she lived and practised at Bitterstrasse 7a in Dahlem. She was soon to be persecuted by the National Socialists on account of being Jewish. In addition to the professional obstacles, a family-owned property in Frankfurt, Kaiserstrasse 57, was expropriated. Margot Goldschmidt was quick to plan her emigration. She moved within Berlin again – to Cunostrasse 70 in Schmargendorf – in 1935.3 She fled to Scotland the same year. Together with her widowed mother and her son Peter Thomas, she moved into the house at 5 Dalhousie Terrace, Edinburgh.4
Own Practice in Edinburgh
Margot Goldschmidt registered for the British medical examination on 18 November 1935 and obtained a licentiate, which allowed her to practise medicine again.5 She was successful. By 1939 she had her own practice at 34 Plewlands Gardens, Edinburgh.6 She simultaneously worked as an anaesthetist at the Royal Infirmary (April-June 1941) and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (April 1943-September 1944) for several years. She published a paper in The Lancet, in which she presented two case histories of complications of anaesthesia with trichloroethylene during this time.7
Goldschmidt stayed in Edinburgh until her death in 1988.8 She had two brothers, Erich (Eric) Kaufmann (1895-1987), who emigrated to New York, and Werner Karl (1899-1909).
Margot Goldschmidt and her husband are the namesakes of the Margot and Erich Goldschmidt Peter Rene Jacobson Foundation, founded in 2011 and based in Basel. The foundation primarily supports young scientists at the University of Basel who are undertaking research in internal medicine.9