Paul Holzer was the son of the Jewish merchant Max Holzer and his wife Helena. He grew up in Waldenburg (Silesia), where he attended the local high school. After graduating from high school in 1912, he studied medicine in Freiburg and Breslau. He continued his studies in Breslau after an interruption due to military service in World War I: He was a war volunteer with the Grenadier Regiment 11 in Breslau in the field hospital and in the fortress hospital department Yorckschule under the direction of Walter Schaeffer (1883-1968), and a battalion physician in the 2nd Infantry Cycling Brigade from February 1917. He received his license to practice medicine in Breslau in 1918 and received his doctorate the following year under Hermann Küttner (1870-1932) with a general surgical case study on "Hernia en W."1
Holzer took up a position as a volunteer physician at the University Hospital in Breslau. He moved to the City Hospital in Küchwald in Chemnitz in 1921, where he worked both as a physician, and a scientist.2 His specialties were internal medicine and sports medicine. He took over the practice of his colleague Dr. Kurt Moesta in Chemnitz (Kronenstraße 1) in July 1923, from which point he worked independently. In addition, he was involved as a unit physician for the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund ("Worker's Samaritan Federation").3
Commitment and Zionist Conviction
Holzer was a Zionist and as such was active in various Jewish associations. He was chairman of the Chemnitz Zionist local group and a member of the state executive committee of the umbrella organization "Zionist Association for Germany." He was also a member of the state commission of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael), which supported land acquisition for Jewish settlers in Palestine, and in the Jewish gymnastics and sports club Maccabi. He also chaired the Chemnitz Jewish Gymnastics and Sports Club Bar Kochba, co-founded the Jewish Youth and Sports Home auf dem Keilberg, and published brochures on physical training (including "Sportmassage" with Karl Bühren in 1926).
Flight, Arrest, and Life in Exile
When the National Socialists came to power, Holzer also found himself increasingly exposed to anti-Semitic hostility. He decided to emigrate in 1933. However, during a first attempt to leave the country on March 31, he was arrested at Chemnitz Central Station. After his release from "protective custody", Holzer handed over his practice to an "Aryan" colleague, sold the apartment building and emigrated to Palestine with his wife Hildegard (Rivka), née Brinitzer, and their three daughters Hanna, Miriam and Ruth. The family was naturalized in June 1936 and lived in Rishon-le-Zion hencefort.