Karl Harpuder

born on 05/11/1893 in Munich
died on 04/05/1974 in New York-Bronx

DGIM Member 1927 – 1934

Karl Joachim Harpuder grew up in a Jewish family in Munich.1 He studied medicine in his hometown and passed the state examination in 1917.2 He found his first position at the Munich Institute of Physiology. He worked as an assistant physician at the Medical Clinic of Kiel University Hospital under Alfred Schittenhelm (1874-1954) from 1921. He was appointed director of the Research Institute for Hydrology and Metabolism at Schützenhofstrasse 4 in Wiesbaden in 1925.3

Harpuder was dismissed in 1933. He then left Germany and attained the position of "resident fellow" at Guy's Hospital in London as a scientist.

He and his wife Auguste set sail for New York from Liverpool aboard a passenger ship on May 5, 1934.4 He had married Auguste Knösing, born in Berlin, shortly before, on 25 September 1933, in Strasbourg. 5She referred to herself as housewife in official documents.

Possibly the requirements imposed by the English authorities on obtaining a license to practice medicine were decisive for the move from England to the USA. The state of New York recognized the German appointment in 1934 without further ado.

Harpuder applied for U.S. citizenship in New York as early as October 1934.6 He worked at the Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center in the Bronx from 1935, rising to the position of director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He retired in 1961, but remained active as a "consultant" at the hospital. He was also a "senior consultant" at the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Bronx, as well as a consultant to the United States Public Health Service.

In addition to his clinical work, Harpuder was a dedicated university lecturer, teaching at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York Medical College, New York University, and Albert Einstein Medical College. He was also an associate editor of the American Journal of Physical Medicine and active in professional politics as president of the New York Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Eastern Section of the American Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. For his many contributions to the field of rehabilitation medicine, the American Congress awarded him the Gold Key Award in 1957.7

Karl Harpuder passed away in New York on April 5, 1974 at the age of 80. At the instigation of the DGIM, "Stolpersteine" (stumbling stones) were laid in front of the house at Schützenhofstrasse 4 in Wiesbaden on 27 October 2021 to commemorate Karl and Auguste Harpuder.


National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, ARC Title, Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906, NAI Number: 5700802, Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petition Number 343042.See Anonymous, Karl Harpuder. Physician dead, in New York Times, 7/4/1974, p. 53.See Nathan Kravetz, Displaced German Scholars: A Guide to Academics in Peril Nazi Germany During the 1930's, San Bernadino, p. 66.Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists. BT27. Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labor, Railways and Statistics Departments. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.United States of America, Declaration of Intention, July 10, 1934 ( - New York, USA, Einbürgerungsaufzeichnungen, 1882-1944).See Naturalization Petition: National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, Petition Number 343042.See (accessed Dec. 4, 2020). Cf. Karl Harpuder, Basic Medical Principles in the Treatment of the Chronically Ill Patient, in Journal of Chronic Diseases 4 (1956), pp. 170-176.

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