(Worldkings) A 102-year-old German woman has become the world's oldest person to be awarded a doctorate on Tuesday, almost 80 years after the Nazis prevented her from sitting her final exam.
Ms. Rapoport and her PhD. (bbc.com)
Ingeborg Rapoport (then Syllm) finished her medical studies in 1937 and wrote her doctoral thesis on diphtheria - a serious problem in Germany at the time.
But because of Nazi oppression she has had to wait almost eight decades before being awarded her PhD.
Her mother was a Jewish pianist.
So, under Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic race laws, Ingeborg was refused entry to the final oral exam. She had written confirmation from Hamburg University that she would have received her doctorate "if the applicable laws did not prohibit Ms Syllm's admission to the doctoral exam due to her ancestry".
Now the university has set right that wrong.
Three professors from Hamburg University's medical faculty travelled last month to Ingeborg's sitting room in east Berlin to test her on the work she carried out in pre-war Germany
They were impressed and a special ceremony took place at Hamburg University Medical Centre on Tuesday, in which she finally received the PhD that the Nazis stole from her.
"It was about the principle," she said. "I didn't want to defend my thesis for my own sake. After all, at the age of 102 all of this wasn't exactly easy for me. I did it for the victims [of the Nazis]."
To prepare for last month's exam, Ingeborg enlisted friends to help her research online what developments there had been in the field of diphtheria over the last 80 years.
"The university wanted to correct an injustice. They were very patient with me. And for that I'm grateful," she told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.
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