"With a Smile Through Tears”: The Uprooted Career of the Man Behind Gerstmann Syndrome.
Zeidman, L. A
Ziller, M. G.
PublisherTaylor & Francis
MetadataShow full item record
Austrian neuroscientist Josef Gerstmann, well known for describing Gerstmann syndrome and for pioneering works on tactile agnosia, also co-described the familial prion disorder later known as Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease. In 1938, Nazi Germany annexed Austria (the “Anschluss”) and the three-time decorated war veteran Gerstmann was dismissed from his professorship in Vienna because of his “race.” In 1942, he unknowingly had his doctorate stripped, only to have it returned in 1955. The Gerstmann properties were seized in Vienna, resulting in a bitter postwar reclamation battle. Gerstmann immigrated to the United States quickly after the annexation and had some success in exile but never again directed a hospital. He maintained a private practice throughout his exile and, in the 1940s, had some research and consulting positions in New York. More than 75 years after the Anschluss, many questions remain unanswered about Gerstmann’s forced exile and the impact of becoming a refugee on his life and career.