Famous German Physicians

Physicians are God-send angels for they are directly involved with saving and treating people from sickness and medical ailments. They are the healers from infirmity and the face of good health and well-being. With the advancement of science and technology, the field of medicine has also rapidly augmented. Today, physicians or doctors, as they are popularly referred to as, are categorized under various specialities, such as audiologists, allergists, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, gynaecologists, internal medicine specialists, neurologists, physiologists, radiologists and so on. Apart from this, physicians also practice traditional methods such as Ayurveda, homeopathy and so on. Every country in the world has its own list of physicians who have greatly contributed to the field of medicine through their research, finding and medical practice. In Germany too, there have been numerous physicians who have been responsible for some of the major advancement in the field of science. Some of them include: Samuel Hahnemann who created alternative medicine in the form of homeopathy, Karl Brandt a surgeon who served as Hitler’s escort physician, and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland who became the most eminent German physician of his time. Go through this write-up to find out more about the life and works of famous German physician.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Robert Koch

Robert Koch
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 11, 1843
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
Died: May 27, 1910

Robert Koch was a German microbiologist and physician. One of the prominent co-founders of modern bacteriology, Koch is credited with creating and improving laboratory techniques and technologies in the field of microbiology. He is also credited with making important discoveries in public health. In 1905, Robert Koch won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on tuberculosis.

 2 Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen
Famous As: President of the European Commission (since Dec 2019)
Birthdate: October 8, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ixelles, Belgium
Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen is currently serving as the first president of the European Commission. Named to Time 100 in 2020, she has previously been the first female defense minister of Germany, and has held positions such as the deputy leader of the CDU and the minister of labor.

 3 Ignaz Semmelweis

Ignaz Semmelweis
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: July 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tabán, Budapest, Hungary
Died: August 13, 1865

Almost 2 decades before germ theory was laid down, Ignaz Semmelweis became the first physician to suggest that hand-washing could prevent the spread of puerperal fever and related deaths. Ironically, after being ridiculed for his theory, he died in a mental asylum, due to an infection from a wound.

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 4 Josef Mengele

Josef Mengele
Famous As: War Criminal
Birthdate: March 16, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bavaria, Germany
Died: February 7, 1979

Known as Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele was the chief doctor of Auschwitz concentration camp and was responsible for killing thousands of Jews as well as torturing the prisoners mercilessly and conducting inhuman experiments on them. These included injecting them with chemicals and stitching twin children together. Despite his horrible crimes, the infamous Nazi doctor could never be captured.

 5 Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer
Famous As: Theologian, Polymath
Birthdate: January 14, 1875
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kaysersberg-Vignoble, France
Died: September 4, 1965

Albert Schweitzer was an Alsatian polymath who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophical work, Reverence for Life. He is credited with founding the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which was a direct result of his philosophical expression. Schweitzer is also credited with influencing the Organ reform movement, which began in the mid-20th-century.

 6 Paul Ehrlich

Paul Ehrlich
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: March 14, 1854
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Strzelin, Poland
Died: August 20, 1915

German scientist Paul Ehrlich is remembered for his contribution to immunology, which also won him a Nobel Prize. Known as the pioneer of chemotherapy, he also discovered the first-known treatment of syphilis. Born into a business family, he was introduced to the method of studying cells by his pathologist uncle.

 7 Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: March 23, 1900
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 18, 1980

Erich Fromm was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and socialist. A German Jew, he fled the Nazi regime and settled in the United States. He was a co-founder of  The William Alanson White Institute and was associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. He is best remembered for authoring the book Escape from Freedom.

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 8 Rudolf Virchow

Rudolf Virchow
Famous As: Anthropologist, Pathologist
Birthdate: October 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Swidwin, Poland
Died: September 5, 1902

Rudolf Virchow was a German physician, pathologist, anthropologist, biologist, prehistorian, editor, writer, and politician. Nicknamed the Pope of medicine by his colleagues, Virchow is credited with founding the field of social medicine. He is also widely regarded as the father of modern pathology.  Rudolf Virchow was the first person to name diseases, such as thrombosis, leukemia, ochronosis, embolism, and chordoma.

 9 Karen Horney

Karen Horney
Famous As: Psychoanalyst
Birthdate: September 16, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Blankenese, Hamburg, Germany
Died: December 4, 1952

Remembered for her pioneering work on feminist psychology, Karen Horney studied medicine at a time when women weren’t allowed in universities. Going against Sigmund Freud’s concept of penis envy, she suggested the idea of womb envy. She believed psychological differences weren’t rooted in gender but rather depended on the socio-cultural influences.

 10 Hermann von Helmholtz

Hermann von Helmholtz
Famous As: Physicist and Physician
Birthdate: August 31, 1821
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Potsdam
Died: September 8, 1894

A descendant of Pennsylvania founder William Penn through his mother, Hermann von Helmholtz studied medicine, pushed by his father, in spite of being interested in the natural sciences. Best known for his law of conservation of energy, he coalesced the fields of medicine, physiology, math, and physics in his studies.

 11 Alois Alzheimer

Alois Alzheimer
Famous As: Psychiatrist, Neuropathologist
Birthdate: June 14, 1864
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marktbreit
Died: December 19, 1915

German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer is noted for identifying the first published case of presenile dementia, which his colleague and German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin later identified as Alzheimer's disease.  Alois publicly discussed his findings on brain pathology and symptoms of presenile dementia in late-1906 and penned a larger paper giving details of the disease and his findings in 1907.

 12 Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann
Famous As: Founder of Homeopathy
Birthdate: April 10, 1755
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Meissen
Died: July 2, 1843

The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann was a qualified physician but disapproved of medical practices such as bloodletting that were used back then. He thus formed his system of alternative medicine. The apathy of his fellow physicians in Leipzig forced him to move first to Köthen and then to Paris.

 13 Theodor Morell

Theodor Morell
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: July 22, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Trais
Died: May 26, 1948

Popular with German elite for his unconventional treatment, Theodor Gilbert Morell came in contact with Adolf Hitler through Heinrich Hoffmann. Soon appointed the Chancellor’s personal physician, Morell remained with him for the last nine years of his life, helping him in his every day routine, receiving lucrative business contracts in return. Although arrested after the war, he was never convicted.  

 14 Emil Kraepelin

Emil Kraepelin
Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: February 15, 1856
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Neustrelitz, Germany
Died: October 7, 1926

The son of a musician, Emil Kraepelin, remembered as the founder of psychiatry, was the first to differentiate between dementia praecox, now known as schizophrenia, and manic-depressive psychosis. His classification of mental illnesses influenced much of the research on the subject in the 20th century.

 15 Özlem Türeci

Özlem Türeci
Famous As: Physician, Scientist
Birthdate: March 6, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lastrup, West Germany

 16 Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: September 14, 1486
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: February 18, 1535

Sixteenth-century German scholar Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa was known for his expertise in philosophy and the occult. He also taught at the universities of Pavia and Dôle. His De occulta philosophia suggested magic as a way to reach God. He was eventually branded a heretic and imprisoned.

 17 Franz Mesmer

Franz Mesmer
Famous As: Doctor
Birthdate: May 23, 1734
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Swabia, Germany
Died: March 5, 1815

Though a doctor, Franz Mesmer studied the influence of astronomical bodies on the human body and on an invisible fluid inside it. He was a pioneer of animal magnetism, or mesmerism, which paved the path for modern-day hypnotism. Critics slammed his ideas and called him a fraud, too.

 18 Helmut Kentler

Helmut Kentler
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: July 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: July 9, 2008

Though Helmut Kentler initially wished to study theology, he was pushed into studying electrical engineering by his father. A homosexual himself, he later mastered psychology and became a pioneering sexual scientist. He was later criticized for placing homeless children under the care of pedophilic men as part of an experiment.

 19 Gunther von Hagens

Gunther von Hagens
Famous As: Anatomist who invented the technique for preserving biological tissue specimens called plastination
Birthdate: January 10, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alt-Skalden, Reichsgau Wartheland, Germany

 20 Johann Friedrich Blumenbach

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 11, 1752
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gotha, Germany
Died: January 22, 1840

A pioneer of physical anthropology, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach laid down one of the first racial classification systems for humans after studying human skulls, dividing mankind into five racial groups. Born into a family of academics, he was a prodigy. He was against scientific racism, though his theory promoted the degenerative hypothesis.

 21 Werner Forssmann

Werner Forssmann
Famous As: Military physician, Surgeon, Urologist, Cardiologist
Birthdate: August 29, 1904
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: June 1, 1979

German physician Werner Forssmann is best-known for developing a method that allowed cardiac catheterization. This led him to jointly receive the 1956 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Forssmann started clinical application of cardiac catheterization in 1929, when he inserted a catheter into a vein of his forearm and safely passed it into his heart and took an X-ray picture of it.

 22 Magnus Hirschfeld

Magnus Hirschfeld
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 14, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolobrzeg, Poland
Died: May 14, 1935

Born in Prussia, Magnus Hirschfeld had initially studied languages and had then earned a medical degree. He grew up to be a prominent sexologist and gay rights activist who referred to the LGBT community as the “third sex.” His one-of-a-kind sexology institute was later destroyed by the Nazis.

 23 Ludwig Guttmann

Ludwig Guttmann
Famous As: Neurologist
Birthdate: July 3, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toszek
Died: March 18, 1980

Born in Germany, neurosurgeon Ludwig Guttmann fled the country during the Nazi regime and later settled in the UK. What started as his effort to rehabilitate injured soldiers, materialized into the launch of the Paralympic Games to encourage sports among the disabled. He also worked extensively on paraplegia.

 24 Paul Schäfer

Paul Schäfer
Famous As: Medic
Birthdate: December 4, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Troisdorf, Germany
Died: April 24, 2010

Paul Schäfer Schneide was a Nazi era German colonel, who at the end of WWII founded an orphanage in West Germany. Charged with child molestation, he fled to Chile, where he established an isolated colony. But charged with child abuse, he had to flee once more before being arrested and convicted on twenty-five counts. He died while serving his term.

 25 Max Gerson

Max Gerson
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 18, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wągrowiec
Died: March 8, 1959

German-American physician Max Gerson was the proponent of the Gerson Therapy, which began as a diet-based treatment for migraine but ended up being used by him as a treatment for tuberculosis and cancer. Though Gerson died of pneumonia, there was an alternate theory that stated he had been murdered.

 26 Ernst-Günther Schenck

Ernst-Günther Schenck
Famous As: Surgeon, University teacher
Birthdate: October 3, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Marburg
Died: December 21, 1998

While serving at the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, doctor Ernst-Günther Schenck created a protein sausage for Nazi troops, which was tested on the camp inmates, leading to many deaths. His experiences were later penned by him in his memoir, which inspired films such as Downfall.

 27 Hans Münch

Hans Münch
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 14, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Died: 2001 AD

 28 Fritz Perls

Fritz Perls
Famous As: Psychologist, Psychiatrist
Birthdate: July 8, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: March 14, 1970

Fritz Perls initially fought in World War I, following which he treated brain injuries of soldiers. He was later drawn to Freudian psychoanalysis. During World War II, he was the psychiatrist for the South African military. His Gestalt therapy, which he co-created with his wife, Laura, redefined psychology.

 29 Johann Friedrich Struensee

Johann Friedrich Struensee
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: August 5, 1737
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Halle, Germany
Died: April 28, 1772

Eighteenth-century German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee was the official physician of King Christian VII of Denmark, who was mentally unstable. He later started dominating the court and also began an affair with Queen Caroline Matilda. In spite of introducing several reforms, he was eventually beheaded, following a coup.

 30 Hans Adolf Krebs

Hans Adolf Krebs
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: August 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hildesheim, Germany
Died: November 22, 1981

Born to an ENT surgeon in Germany, Hans Adolf Krebs followed in his father’s footsteps and studied medicine. After fleeing Nazi Germany, he went to England, where he joined the University of Cambridge as a researcher. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist is remembered for his groundbreaking discovery of cellular respiration.

 31 Fritz Pfeffer

Fritz Pfeffer
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 30, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gießen
Died: December 20, 1944

Known as Albert Dussel in Anne Frank’s diary, Fritz Pfeffer was a successful Jewish dentist who had hid along with Anne Frank and her family in the Secret Annex during the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands. Initially deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, he later died at the Neuengamme concentration camp.

 32 Karl Jaspers

Karl Jaspers
Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: February 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oldenburg, Germany
Died: February 26, 1969

Twentieth-century Existentialist Karl Jaspers had initially followed in his father’s footsteps to study law, but had then switched to medicine. One of the pioneers of clinical psychiatry, he applied phenomenology to study mental illnesses and also developed psychopathological research. He was highly influenced by Immanuel Kant’s ideas.

 33 Eduard Wirths

Eduard Wirths
Famous As: Military physician, Torturer
Birthdate: September 4, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Geroldshausen
Died: September 20, 1945

Eduard Wirths, the chief doctor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, was in charge of all the medical operations conducted at the camp. Wirths conducted several experiments, primarily related to cervical cancer, on the women inmates of the camp. Following his capture, he killed himself by hanging.

 34 Richard von Krafft-Ebing

Richard von Krafft-Ebing
Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: August 14, 1840
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mannheim, Germany
Died: December 22, 1902

Known for his ground-breaking research on sexual psychopathology, German psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing worked on varied subjects such as sexual aberration and hypnosis. His Psychopathia Sexualis was one of the first written works that discussed LGBT sex and also spoke about taboo topics such as sadism, necrophilia, and masochism.

 35 Werner Haase

Werner Haase
Famous As: Physician, University teacher
Birthdate: August 2, 1900
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Köthen
Died: November 30, 1950

Originally professor of medicine, Werner Haase served as the deputy personal physician of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler from 1933 until the latter’s death in 1945, remaining with him in the Führerbunker to the very end. After Hitler committed suicide, he continued serving wounded soldiers and civilians until he was made a prisoner of war and died while serving his term.

 36 Herta Oberheuser

Herta Oberheuser
Famous As: Former Physician known for performing medical atrocities on prisoners at the Ravensbrück concentration camp
Birthdate: May 15, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: January 24, 1978

Initially a dermatologist, German doctor Herta Oberheuser later became Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler's personal physician. She was later part of gruesome and torturous medical experiments on Polish inmates at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She was the only female doctor accused in the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial. Her license was revoked eventually.

 37 Irmfried Eberl

Irmfried Eberl
Famous As: Physician, Psychiatrist
Birthdate: September 8, 1910
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bregenz
Died: February 16, 1948

Best known for leading the mass killing of Jews at the Treblinka extermination camp, psychiatrist Irmfried Eberl was eventually dismissed from his post because of his inefficiency in disposing of the bodies and thus causing a cremation backlog. Following the war, he hanged himself before being tried for his crimes.

 38 Kurt Schneider

Kurt Schneider
Famous As: Military physician, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, University teacher
Birthdate: January 7, 1887
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Crailsheim
Died: October 27, 1967

Chiefly known for his works on the diagnosis and understanding of schizophrenia, German psychiatrist Kurt Schneider published many papers on the subject, creating a list of the psychotic symptoms, today known as Schneiderian First-Rank Symptoms, to differentiate it from other forms of mental disorder. He also made significant contributions to personality disorders, coining term like endogenous depression and reactive depression.

 39 Alissa Jung

Alissa Jung
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Münster, Germany

Alissa Jung began her career as a child actor and dubbing artist. The German actor later became a TV sensation and starred in films such as Des Kaisers neue Kleider and Tatort. She is also a qualified physician. She has shot documentaries, too, and heads the charity Pen Paper Peace.

 40 Ludwig Stumpfegger

Ludwig Stumpfegger
Famous As: Military physician, Physician, Surgeon, Torturer
Birthdate: July 11, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Munich
Died: May 2, 1945

Nazi doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger was better known as Adolf Hitler's personal surgeon. He not only conducted gruesome experiments on female inmates of the concentration camps, but also helped kill Hitler’s dog and Magda Goebbels’s children in Hitler’s bunker, before he escaped and eventually committed suicide by consuming cyanide.

 41 Ernst-Robert Grawitz

Ernst-Robert Grawitz
Famous As: Military physician, Internist, Torturer
Birthdate: June 8, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Charlottenburg
Died: April 24, 1945

Ernst-Robert Grawitz was a Nazi era physician, notorious for his enthusiastic experiments on inmates of concentration camps and his zeal for eradicating homosexuality. Also known for performing involuntary euthanasia on mentally ill and physically handicapped people, he was also in charge of processing researchers’ requests for performing experiments on the inmates. He committed suicide at the end of the war.

 42 Carl Wernicke

Carl Wernicke
Famous As: Anatomist, Physician, Neuroscientist, Psychiatrist, University teacher, Neurologist
Birthdate: May 15, 1848
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tarnowskie Góry
Died: June 15, 1905

German neurologist, pathologist, and anatomist Carl Wernicke is best remembered for his extensive work on the various types of aphasia, or disorders that hinder the ability to speak or write. He also distinguished between motor aphasia and sensory aphasia, or what is now known as Wernicke's aphasia.

 43 Sabine Bergmann-Pohl

Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Eisenach, Germany

A qualified doctor and a lung diseases specialist, Sabine Bergmann-Pohl had been the head of state of East Germany before the German reunification. She has also led the Volkskammer as its president and was the Federal Minister for Special Affairs under Helmut Kohl. The mother of two is a Protestant.

 44 Sigmund Rascher

Sigmund Rascher
Famous As: Physician, Torturer
Birthdate: February 12, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Munich
Died: April 26, 1945

Known for his gruesome high-altitude/low-pressure, blood clotting, and freezing experiments on the inmates of the Dachau concentration camp, Nazi doctor Sigmund Rascher was a favorite of Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler. He was later accused of kidnapping children to prove his wife’s fertility at almost age 50.

 45 Franz Joseph Gall

Franz Joseph Gall
Famous As: Physician, Neuroscientist
Birthdate: March 9, 1758
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tiefenbronn
Died: August 22, 1828

German neuroanatomist and physiologist Franz Joseph Gall was the founding father of cranioscopy, or the determination of intelligence and personality traits from the shape of a person’s skull, now known as phrenology. He was also the first to separate the gray matter of the brain from the white matter.

 46 Philipp Rosler

Philipp Rosler
Famous As: Politician, Physician
Birthdate: February 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Soc Trang, Vietnam

 47 Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer

Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer
Famous As: Human biologist
Birthdate: July 16, 1896
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wildeck, Germany
Died: August 8, 1969

German biologist and eugenicist Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer was an advocate of racial hygiene and the mandatory sterilization of the physically and mentally disabled. He also led the Nazi experiments on twins based on body parts made available to him from the inmates of various concentration camps.

 48 Esther Vilar

Esther Vilar
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 16, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Born to German-Jewish immigrants in Argentina, Esther Vilar studied medicine before she moved to Germany to study psychology and sociology. After taking up scores of odd jobs, she soared to international fame with her bestselling book The Manipulated Man, which argues that women aren’t oppressed but control men in relationships.

 49 Emin Pasha

Emin Pasha
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 28, 1840
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Opole, Poland
Died: October 23, 1892

Eduard Schnitzer, or Emin Pasha, was born into a German Jewish family in modern-day Poland. A qualified physician, he moved to Constantinople after being disqualified in Germany. He not only served the Ottoman rulers but also surveyed and explored Africa extensively. He was eventually killed by Arab slave raiders.

 50 Max Nordau

Max Nordau
Famous As: Co-founder of World Zionist Organization
Birthdate: July 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pest, Budapest, Hungary
Died: January 23, 1923

Hungarian physician and author Max Nordau was the son of a rabbi. After practicing medicine in Budapest for a while, he went to Paris and began writing for Neue Freie Presse. A major figure behind the Zionist Organization, he penned The Conventional Lies of Our Civilization, which was banned in several countries.