The Schmooze

Paul Ehrlich, a 'Markedly Jewish' Humanitarian

Fans of golden age Hollywood biopics will recall the 1940 classic “Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet,” available from Warner Brothers DVDs, a collaboration between the Jewish director William Dieterle, screenwriter Norman Burnstine, and star Edward G. Robinson, (born Emanuel Goldenberg of Romanian-Jewish origin). Ehrlich’s widow Hedwig Pinkus, by then a near-destitute refugee, was a paid consultant.

Homage to Ehrlich, co-winner of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1908 for immunological advances, including a treatment for syphilis and coining the term chemotherapy, was timely. By 1940, the Frankfurt street in which Ehrlich’s Institute had been located, previously Paul Ehrlichstrasse, had been renamed by the Nazis because Ehrlich was Jewish. Though, after the war, Ehrlich’s birthplace of Strehlen, Upper Silesia, would be apportioned to Polish authorities who renamed it Ehrlichstadt in his honor.

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Paul Ehrlich, a 'Markedly Jewish' Humanitarian

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