Held at: Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center [Contact Us]2900 West Queen Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19129
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Gertrud "Gedda" Clara Reyersbach, M.D., (1907-1999) grew up in an affluent Jewish family in Oldenburg, Germany. Dr. Reyersbach was a pediatrician specializing in endocrinology and rheumatic diseases. She received her doctorate from the University of Göttingen, Germany, in 1935; that same year, Nazi racial policy effectively defined Jews not by their religion but by ancestral lineage. As a result of these anti-Semitic laws, the Nazis began revoking German citizenship and forbade Jewish doctors from treating non-Jewish patients. Between 1935 and 1937, Dr. Reyersbach worked at the Pharmacological Institute of Göttingen and the Hospital of the Jewish Community in Frankfurt, Germany.
In September of 1936, her uncle Franz Reyersbach (1880-1936) was imprisoned by the Schutzstaffel (the SS) and beaten to death on December 14, 1936, at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Dr. Reyersbach had a close relationship with her uncle, and following the news of his death, she began her escape to the United States. She would not return to Germany until 1985 when Oldenburg city officials organized a reconciliatory event between the city and expelled Jewish citizens. On May 10, 1985, Dr. Reyersbach attended the unveiling of Franz-Reyersbach-Straße, honoring her uncle, the first German Jew from Oldenburg killed by the Nazis.
Dr. Reyersbach arrived in New York on June 1, 1937, but her journey was far from over. It took three years to be recertified as a pediatrician while attaining United States citizenship and persuading immigration officials that she was not a threat to the nation. In 1942, Dr. Reyersbach began her tenure teaching at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, becoming one of the hospital's first female residents. She thrived as a well-respected pediatrician in Boston, retiring at 80.
The collection documents Dr. Reyersbach's life in Germany, the Reyerbach family history, a return visit to her home country in 1985, and her life and practice in the United States, from 1867-1991, with the bulk of the dates between 1933-1991. Materials include several photo albums, 1927-1936, capturing Reyersbach with family and friends in Germany and her initial medical training there; German school papers (such as report cards) and certificates; Reyersbach's passport (issued in 1935); US and German certificates; US diplomas; medical papers published by Reyersbach; dissertation by Reyersbach; notes about the history of the Reyersbach family; maps and books about Oldenburg; notes and pictures from former patients; and videos of Reyersbach's trip to Germany and a farewell message from former patients
The Gertrud Clara Reyersbach, M.D. papers are arranged in five series, the content of each series has been arranged chronologically.
The series arrangement of the records is as follows:
Series I:Credentials and Certifications, 1907-1968 Arranged chronologically
Series II:Publications, 1939-2004 Arranged chronologically
Series III:Reyersbach Family History, 1817-1992 Arranged chronologically
Series IV:Photographs, 1913-1992 Arranged chronologically
Series V:Patient Appreciation, 1943-1999 Arranged chronologically
This collection was donated in 2005 by Prudence L. Steiner, close friend of Gertrud Clara Reyersbach, M.D.
- Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Theana Noelle Kastens
- Finding Aid Date
- 2022 September
- Access Restrictions
Note about restricted material: Users will note that a number of folders in the Collection Inventory indicated restrictions due to HIPAA or other privacy concerns. We strongly encourage users to contact Legacy Center staff to discuss access to these materials, as we have used "restricted" to indicate that at least one item in the folder is restricted, but it is likely that other material in the folder may be freely accessible. It is also possible that users will be able to access to restricted material after working with us and gaining institutional review board (IRB) approval, or through a process of staff redaction of private information.