102 Year Old Doctorate

June 9th, 2015

Germany has a new record breaker in the form of Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport. The 102 year old became the oldest recipient of a coveted doctorate degree. When she began school she had aspirations to work with newborns and studied to become a pediatrician. However, the Nazi race laws prevented her from taking the final step to becoming a doctor.

Syllm-Rapoport did her oral exam and impressed everyone who listened. She discussed the topic of diphtheria in relation to the original thesis that was denied. The woman made herself known as the brilliant person she is and finally received her dues. “For me personally, the degree didn’t mean anything, but to support the great goal of coming to terms with history—I wanted to be part of that,” Syllm-Rapoport was quoted saying in light of her success.

After emigrating to the United States, she spent another chunk of her life attempting to reattain a degree from different american schools. Once she finished, she wound up working as a pediatrician in Philadelphia. Soon after, she and her husband returned to East Berlin when the threat was over. She eventually escalated to head of the neonatology department with Berlin’s Charite hospital.

Nothing can erase history, and the sting of injustice is still ever present. However, taking this turn towards healing those affected by the past can still leave a positive mark. Keith Mann agrees that with baby steps, more people will get the justice they deserve.

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