Thursday, November 20, 2008

German University Awards Ph.D. to 88-Year-Old Who Was Denied the Degree in 1943

by Aisha Labi

from The Chronicle of Higher Education:

An 88-year-old man who was not allowed to take the oral examination for his doctoral degree during the Nazi era because of his Jewish ancestry successfully defended his dissertation this month and was finally awarded his Ph.D., according to the Deutsche Welle news agency (for other reports, in German, see Die Zeit and

The venerable student, Dimitri Stein, submitted his thesis in electrical engineering in 1943, but officials at the Technical University of Berlin refused to permit him to take the oral exam needed to earn a doctorate.

Mr. Stein hid from the Nazis with the help of one of his professors and eventually immigrated to the United States. He initially pursued a career as an academic before becoming in a businessman. During the 1950s he approached the Technical University of Berlin about taking the oral examination but “received a rude rejection,” Deutsche Welle reported. Mr. Stein raised the issued again in 2006, and this time his request was honored.

On November 12, Mr. Stein defended his dissertation “with the examiners assessing his work in the context of state-of-the-art engineering knowledge from the 1940s,” the news agency said. The president of the university, Kurt Kutzler, awarded Mr. Stein his degree in person.

Doktor nach 65 Jahren
Dimitri Stein

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