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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dimitri Stein (88) receives his doctorate degree from TU Berlin, Germany

88-year-old gets doctorate 65 years after passing exams

By David Wroe, The Telegraph [1]

An 88-year-old German man has finally been awarded his university doctorate – 65 years after the Nazis blocked him from receiving it because of his Jewish ancestry.

Dimitri Stein was denied his degree in electrical engineering from the Technische Universität Berlin in 1943 and forced to go into hiding after a pro-Nazi academic discovered he was of Jewish descent. He had previously been arrested by the Gestapo for anti-Nazi activities.

Dr Stein said he had accepted his doctorate "with a tear in one eye and a smile in the other".
"The best feeling was that these people understood all the criminality that happened and they are ready to speak up if this ever happened again," he said. "That is the most important thing for me."

After the war, Mr Stein, whose father was murdered by the Nazis, emigrated to the United States where he became an academic and businessman.

In the 1950s he approached the university but was rebuffed, being told the university had enough to worry about.

A German friend urged him to try again two years ago. The university was shocked to learn of the case, said Horst Bamberg, head of administration for the faculty of electrical engineering, and arranged for Mr Stein's dissertation to be examined.

"We couldn't undo the injustice against Mr Stein, but we did what we could to restore Mr Stein's honour," Mr Bamberg said.

The dissertation had been lost but its key findings were published in a journal. The university had its head of engineering assess Mr Stein according to knowledge of electrical engineering in 1943.

He passed.

1 comment:

Magdeburger Joe said...

As the Jewish son of a proud Berliner, I was deeply moved by this news. I would love to see a movie based on this story. Yors is an interesting site. Ich interessiere mich sehr fur Nachrichten von Juden in Deutschland. Obwohl ich nicht Atheist bin ist ihre Website sehr interessant