Julius Strasburger, 61 years old at the beginning of Nazi rule, was an experienced internist in the field of intestinal diseases. For the "Handbuch der normalen und pathologischen Physiologie" (1929), he collaborated with later National Socialists such as Alfred Schwenkenbecher as well as with later persecutees such as Abraham Adler and Leopold Lichtwitz.1
Founding Professor in Frankfurt
The son of Eduard Strasburger – a privy councilor and professor of botany – he graduated from a Bonn high school in 1890. He then studied medicine in Bonn, Berlin and Freiburg. After receiving his doctorate in 1894 and passing the state examination in Bonn in 1895, he was an assistant under Carl Gerhardt at the II. Medizinischen Klinik in Berlin. He returned to Bonn in 1896, where he worked as an assistant at the Medizinischen Klinik under Friedrich Schultze. He habilitated in 1899 and was appointed professor in 1907. He took over as director of the Medizinische Poliklinik and the Institut für physikalische Therapie in Frankfurt am Main in 1913. When the university there was founded in 1914, he was appointed full professor of internal medicine.
He married Marie-Edith Nothnagel in September 1902. The couple had four children: the zoologist Marie (married name de Liagre Böhl, 1905-1996), the zoologist Eduard (1907-1945) who died as a soldier just before the end of the war, the ancient historian Hermann Strasburger, and the attorney Gerhard (1912-1993).2Julius Strasburger first worked as a staff physician in field hospitals, and from 1917 as a consulting internist during World War I.3
Persecution and Death
National Socialism tore Strasburger from a well-ordered life. An informer pointed out that Strasburger would not be able to provide the "Ariernachweis" (Arian certificate): Julius Wertheim, Strasburger's grandfather who had converted to evangelical Christianity, was considered a Jew by the National Socialists.4 Strasburger then fell ill with severe depression and was admitted to a Königstein sanatorium in October 1934. He died here on October 28, 1934, sixteen days after his admission, as a result of a heart attack.5 He had been informed a month before that he would be retired at the end of the year – more than 21 years after his appointment as director of the Medical Polyclinic in Frankfurt am Main.6
After his death in 1934, the DGIM chairman Hugo Schottmüller, who was closely intertwined with National Socialism, still dared to pay tribute to Strasburger. He had been "a renowned clinician and researcher, a rare physician and human being": "Most recently he had lectured at the polyclinic in Frankfurt a. M. and, first and foremost, lectured on physical therapy. Many of his scientific works have become widely known."7