AbstractVarious papers pertaining to Dr. William Nussbaum, including research notes; clippings; personal notes; genealogical information; personal letters.
Michael Nussbaum, 1998
Various papers pertaining to Dr. William Nussbaum, including research notes; clippings; personal notes; genealogical information; personal letters.
Wilhelm Nussbaum was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1896. His parents were Bonum and Veilchen Nussbaum (nee Kaufmann). He studied medicine in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. During World War I he worked as a military physician and received the Iron Cross. He finished his studies in 1921, but continued to attend anthropology lectures by Eugen Fischer on race issues. He practiced as a gynocologist in Berlin. In 1929, he married Lotte Frankfurther. The couple had two children.
In 1933 he founded the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft für juedische Erbforschung und Eugenik", which was later called"Die Arbeitsgmeinschaft fuer juedische Erbforschung und Erbpflege." As part of this project, Nussbaum argued against Nazi racial theory, arguing that the Jews should be considered part of the larger European population, and not a "foreign race." Though the organization at first had the approval of government authorities, it was closed down in 1935 by the Gestapo. Following the closing of the organization, Nussbaum immigrated to the United States. For a period of time he worked as an assistant to Franz Boas at Columbia University. Following this period, he opened a private medical practice in Kew Gardens, Queens.
In 1948, Nussbaum presented his studies at a conference in Brussels under the title "Anthropological Studies On German Jews (1933-1934)." Citing his physical examinations of over 1100 Jews in Germany between 1933-1935, he concluded by arguing that Jews should be considered a European peoples, and that much of what were believed to be Jewish physical characteristicswere really anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Nussbaum's home on Long Island was frequented by other Jewish emigres from Germany, who were interested in literature. In 1952, Nussbaum and his wife organized a lecture series by Julius Bab. In the following years, lectures were held by Paul Tillich, Paul Zucker, Fritz von Unruh and others.
William Nussbaum was also active as a poet and painter. In 1953, he published a collection of poems called "Ueberfahrt". Some his paintings were shown in 1976 at the Metropolitan Museum as part of an exhibition on artwork by physicians. He died in 1985.
William Nussbaum's collection of poetry "Ueberfahrt" is available in the LBI library (PT 2627 U8 U4)
An article about Nussbaum is available online at http://www.idgr.de/texte/geschichte/begriffe/nussbaum-rasse.php.