Congrès IAHD 2000

110 Years Carolinum Foundation
100 Years FDI (1900-2000)
The History of the Frankfurt Dental Clinic and its Relationship to the FDI

Dr. Michaël LAIER
Senckenbergisches Institut d'Histoire de la Médecine
Francfort sur le Main, Allemagne

The nineteenth century is, in the history of dentistry, the year of its institutionalization as an academic discipline. You see here some of the dates which show this process of institutionalization during the nineteenth century.

In the United States, the first academic training sites for dentists were founded in the year 1839 in Baltimore by Chapin Aaron Harris (1806 – 1860) and Horace H. Hayden (1769 – 1844) who assumed their teaching duties in 1840. In the same year, the first nationally-based dental organization, the "American Society of Dental Surgeons," was established. Already one year after its founding, the "Baltimore College of Dentistry" conferred the title of "Doctor of Dental Surgery" (D.D.S.) for the first time in its history.

The evolution in academic dentistry begun twenty years earlier in the United States resumed its progress in Germany in 1855. In that year, the physician Eduard Albrecht established the first independent German academic training site for dentists in Berlin, the "Public Clinic for Diseases of the Mouth." Four years later, in 1859, the "Central Association of German Dentists" was founded in Berlin and still exists today under the designation "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zahn-, Mund- und Kieferheilkunde (DGZMK)".

As of the mid-nineteenth century in the United States and in Germany – but also in other countries, especially in France and England – dental associations were founded, and the professionalization, establishment, and transformation of dentistry into an academic profession commenced.

At this point, I would like to illustrate this evolutionary process in greater detail by using the history of the Frankfurt Dental Clinic and the founding of the Fédération Dentaire Internationale (FDI) as examples.

Before I begin with the history of the Frankfurt Dental Clinic, I would like to provide you with some information regarding the situation of the Jewish community in Frankfurt during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries because the foundress of this institution belonged to one of the most renowned Jewish families of her day.

You see Hannah Louise von Rothschild (1850-1892) portrayed.

Although you are all familiar with the philanthropist family ROTHSCHILD, nonetheless, I want to supply you with a brief sketch of the first generations in Frankfurt of this world-famous family. You can read in the next table the names of the founders of the Rothschild dynasty, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, together with his wife Gutle Schnapper, who raised five daughters and an equal number of renowned sons: Amschel Mayer, Salomon Mayer, Nathan Mayer, Carl (Karlmann) Mayer, and Jacob (James) Mayer von Rothschild.

The sons laid the foundation in the major European cities of their day – Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, London, Naples, and Paris – for their family’s future financial network. The Rothschilds financed the ruling dynasties of Europe.

By way of example, Nathan Mayer Rothschild funded in London the war led by Arthur Wellesley Wellington against Napoleon, thereby playing a decisive role in the victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In the nineteenth century, the idiom was coined that war in Europe was impossible against the wishes of the Rothschild House, and the following quote is attributed to Rothschild’s widow in the year 1847: "Do not worry! There won’t be a war. My sons aren’t going to provide the money for one."

In the same manner, the Rothschild family achieved exceptional feats in the civil sphere. The Rothschilds contributed substantially to the funding of the first railroads, especially in France. In Paris, Jacob Mayer Rothschild exerted his influence and financed the construction of the Gare du Nord, Gare Saint-Lazare et Gare de Lyon.

I come back to my theme of the origins of the Rothschild family in the city of Frankfurt. The founding father Mayer Amschel, who was born just five years earlier than another famous citizen of Frankfurt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, grew up in underprivileged conditions in Frankfurt’s Jewish ghetto, the so-called "Judengasse." You are viewing in the next figure the Jewish ghetto in Frankfurt which was separated by a high wall and gates from the remaining "Christian" city beyond.

These gates were manned by guards and were locked on Sundays as well as on all church holidays. On this single street, the largest Jewish community in Germany lived against its wishes in virtual isolation. In the mid-nineteenth century, this Jewish community amounted to about three thousand souls within a total population of thirty-two thousand city dwellers.

Mayer Amschel’s forebearers in the Jewish ghetto inhabited a house named "Zum roten Schild" ("to the red sign"). The family name "Rothschild" was derived from this house’s name.

Next, I turn to the third and fourth generations of the Rothschilds in Frankfurt, namely, Mayer Carl and Hannah Louise Rothschild. Here, you are looking at Mayer Carl von Rothschild.

After the death of his uncle Amschel Mayer, Mayer Carl von Rothschild assumed the directorship of the Frankfurt "Rothschild and Company, Bankers." Together with his wife Louise, he had seven daughters, among them Hannah Louise, who lived and remained unmarried in Frankfurt while devoting herself to helping the poor. After her father’s death in 1886, Hannah Louise established the foundation "Heilanstalt Carolinum" in the year 1890. Heilanstalt is an old-fashioned term for hospital. The Latin name "Carolinum" was intended in memoriam of her father Carl and, even today, the citizens of Frankfurt call the Dental Clinic "Carolinum" for short. In the following figure, you see the newly erected foundation edifice on Bürgerstraße near Frankfurt’s Main Train Station.

Modeled on a clinic in Paris, the "Heilanstalt Carolinum," originally a hospital and dental clinic, consisted of a medical ambulatorium complete with adjacent hospital ward and a dental clinic whose design was inspired by an American dentist. By way of example, you can see here what an enormous influence American and French medical facilities had, above all in dentistry, in Germany. It is perhaps not accidental that the building of the "Heilanstalt Carolinum" resembles that of the "College of Dental Surgery" founded fifty years earlier in Baltimore.

The foundress Hannah Louise von Rothschild died some years later, in 1892, at the age of forty-two. The next slide provides several important dates in the history of the Carolinum. Following Hannah Louise’s decease, her mother, Louise von Rothschild, decided to endow the foundation permanently, and, in 1893, the Carolinum as foundation came into existence in the juridical sense of the term.

In 1906 a contract was made between the Carolinum Foundation and the City of Frankfurt to regulate the construction of a Dental Clinic on the property of the Frankfurt City Hospital. The medical side of the Dental Clinic was eliminated under the conditions of this contract. A new priority within the purview of the Dental Clinic consisted of the examination and treatment of grammar school children and the poor free of charge. In 1910 the Dental Clinic in its new home opened its doors to the public. This buildiing housed the very first Frankfurt Dental Clinic for school children. The impressive wealth of the Rothschild’s Carolinum Foundation, a sum of one million German Mark, made this new building possible.

These years, especially the time-span from 1909 to 1919, were extremely important for dentistry’s being accorded equal status as an academic discipline in Germany.

With the introduction of the new examination regulations in 1909, dental students could matriculate for the study of "dentistry" for the first time in Germany’s history. Prior to that date, they only were permitted to enroll at university in the faculty of philosophy. The Reich Health Insurance Decree of 1914 defined the role of the dentist as "teeth therapist" for National Health patients. In the same year, the University of Frankfurt was founded, and the Frankfurt Dental Clinic became a university institute devoted to dentistry. With the introduction of the general law in the year 1919 which allowed dentists to receive their doctoral degree, dentists attained equality of academic status with physicians.

It is within this context of the transformation of dentistry into an academic discipline that the opening of the new Frankfurt Dental Clinic in 1910 has to be viewed. In the following figure, you see the new Dental Clinic Carolinum.

The clinic was housed in the basement and ground-floor levels, whereas the Eye Clinic and Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic were located on the remaining levels. The Eye Clinic and Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic are still in this building.

In accordance with the example set by other university institutes, the Carolinum was divided into three divisions: surgery, restoration, and prosthetics. Beginning in 1920, a division of orthodontics was added. The following tables inform the reader about the number and kind of therapeutic services available in the aforementioned three divisions.

The surgical division was directed by Prof. Dr. Otto Loos. You can see here for the years 1910 to 1918 the number of patients, how often they received treatment, and the number of extractions that took place under the different types of available anesthesia.

The prosthetics division was led by Prof. Dr. Carl Fritsch. You likewise see for the same time period from 1910 to 1918 the number and type of prosthetic measures that were performed. In the first line, for instance, you see the number of caoutchouc prosthetics made, in line four the number of teeth needed for them, and, in the second and third last lines the number of bridges and crowns fitted.

The restoration division was under the directorship of Prof. Fritz Schäffer-Stuckert. There, you find a listing of the fillings performed. Amalgam was the most common material used for fillings. Also noteworthy is the large number of root canals performed.

As typical of the many outstanding personalities in the dental history of the Carolinum, I now would like to present you with a brief biography of the first director of the Frankfurt Dental Clinic:

Prof. Schäffer-Stuckert was born in 1868 in Frankfurt. He studied in Berlin and received his dental degree in the year 1889. His decision to become a dentist was determined by his love of a dentist’s daughter whose father only wanted her to marry a dentist. After setting up his dental practice in his home city of Frankfurt in 1891, he went to New York City for two years to obtain his doctorate. (This was, by the way, typical for many German dentists of his day.) In 1895 he passed the examination as "Doctor of Dental Surgery." The doctorate in dentistry first became a reality in Germany in 1919. After his return from America, he felt obligated to improve the status and training of his German colleagues. In the years that followed, he became very actively involved in this area. He was active in dental associations and he held papers at sessions devoted to continuing education for dentists both in the fields of dental radiology and modern methods in anesthesiology. Finally, after having been named assistant secretary in 1904 during the Fourth International Dental Congress in St. Louis, Dr. Schäffer-Stuckert was appointed to the rank of secretary general of the FDI at the FDI’s Congress in Berlin in the year 1909.

In what follows, I would like to show you in greater detail Schäffer-Stuckerts commitment within the framework of the FDI and, prior to that, a brief summary of the FDI’s early history.

The founding of the Fédération Dentaire Internationale must be understood as the terminal point of the process of institutionalization undergone by the field of dentistry in the nineteenth century. The preeminent personality in this evolutionary process was none other than the Dean of the Ecole Dentaire de Paris, Dr. Charles Gordon. He had organized the First International Dental Congresses and was in overall charge at the founding of the FDI on the fifteenth of August 1900 on the site of the Ecole Dentaire in Paris. The members of this first Executive Council of the FDI were pledged to achieve the following goals:

  • They would represent the dental profession without bias based on nationality
  • They would decide on the date and place of the next International Congress
  • The costs should be equally divided among members
  • They would choose seventeen of their colleagues to become the first International Commission on Dental Education

The last point pertaining to the training of dentists was assigned particular significance since the national differences in this area were impressive.

The next general meetings of the FDI took place in 1901 in Cambridge (England), in 1902 in Stockholm, and in 1903 in Madrid. With the Fourth International Dental Congress in St. Louis, where Willoughby Dayton Miller succeeded Charles Gordon as President, the foundational phase of the FDI was concluded.

As previously mentioned, Schäffer-Stuckert – and now I want to close the circle begun with the Frankfurt Dental Clinic – was appointed to assistant secretary in 1904 in St. Louis. Thereby began his exceptional career as leader of the German contingent of dentists in the FDI, which reached its peak in Schäffer-Stuckert’s appointment to the rank of Secretary General of the FDI in 1909 at the Fifth International Dental Congress in Berlin.

Schäffer-Stuckert, who was an honorary member of the Société odontotechnique de Paris, the Association générale des Dentistes de France, and the British Dental Association, was made Director of the Frankfurt Dental Clinic in 1909. In 1914 he received a special teaching post at the newly founded University of Frankfurt. Schäffer-Stuckert died in 1938, having ended his active professional career already in 1917.

The years following the departure of Schäffer-Stuckert in 1917 constituted an endurance test for the Carolinum Foundation owing to the difficult economic conditions after the First World War.

The Foundation was at the verge of financial collapse. The savior of the hour was the Rothschild family. The sisters of Hannah Louise von Rothschild donated 70,000 Mark in 1920 and 400,000 Mark in 1921. The survival of this Jewish foundation was, for the time being, guaranteed until the National Socialists seized power in the year 1933. The activities of the Frankfurt Dental Clinic could even be expanded.

In 1920 the division of orthodontics was added to the Dental Clinic. Dr. Peter Paul Kranz received the first special teaching post for Orthodontics in Germany.

In 1929 and 1930 the clinic building had to be enlarged because of the increasing lack of space. Although the Frankfurt Dental Clinic had originally been planned for twenty students, there were already ninety-six students enrolled in 1928. Nearly one-hundred patients were being treated on a daily basis.

In 1933 there were 200 dental students distributed among the four divisions of the Dental Clinic. They received instruction from 4 professors and 16 assistants.

I come, now, to my final point: the survival of a Jewish foundation under the National Socialists.

Following the Nazi rise to power in January 1933, Jewish colleagues were discriminated against and persecuted. The successor of Fritz Schäffer-Stuckert as Director of the conservation division was Prof. Dr. Erich Feiler. On account of his Jewish roots, Feiler was forced to flee Germany and to emigrate to London in 1934. Erich Feiler shared this same fate with approximately one-third of his fellow-teachers at the University of Frankfurt. The Frankfurt University was an institution based upon private foundations, mostly sponsored by Frankfurt Jews. Accordingly, it was one of the most modern and most liberal universities in the German Reich. For the National Socialists, however, it was a so-called "Jewish-Liberal Nest".

In the years that followed, the Jewish Carolinum Foundation experienced increasing discrimination. In 1936, for example, a Rothschild portrait had to be removed from view. Then, in 1939, all Jewish foundations were forcibly combined into a single entity, the "Reichs Association of the Jews." In the year 1943, this so-called "association" was compelled to surrender its property to the Nazi dictatorship. In Frankfurt, this act of confiscation involved more than fifty non-profit organizations with a capital in excess of eight million Mark. These organizations included most of the Rothschild family’s other large foundations but not the Carolinum Foundation.

In 1939 the surname of the Jewish philanthropic family Rothschild was deleted from the foundation’s statutes, but the name "Carolinum" was permitted to remain following long discussions. Nevertheless, not only the name "Carolinum" outlived the Nazi insanity but also the foundation’s wealth. After difficult negotiations, the Carolinum Foundation kept its status both as sponsor of the Frankfurt University’s dental institute and as owner of the foundation’s building. Most probably, it was the skilful negotiating tactics of the Carolinum’s directorium that prevented this Jewish foundation from being dissolved.

In 1946 teaching resumed at the Carolinum. Today, Frankfurt‘s Carolinum is a modern and spacious dental clinic like that seen in many other large cities.

All of this began with the founder of a large family, whose tombstone you see here. Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s grave was found hidden beneath the ruins of the Jewish Cemetery in Frankfurt following the Second World War.

Bald-Duch, Elke (1977)

Das Zahnärztliche Universitätsinstitut (der Freiherr Carl von Rothschild'schen Stiftung) CAROLINUM in Frankfurt a. M. von den Anfängen bis zum Tode von Otto LOOS (1936).
Diss. med. dent. Frankfurt am Main

Elon, Amos (1996) Der erste Rothschild. Biographie eines Frankfurter Juden.
Reinbek: Rowohlt 1998.
Heuberger, Georg (Hrsg.) (1994a) Die Rothschilds. Eine europäische Familie.
Bd. 1. Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke
Heuberger, Georg (Hrsg.) (1994b) Die Rothschilds. Beiträge zur Geschichte einer europäischen Familie.
Bd. 2. Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke
Roeloffs-Nuthmann, Arwed (1991)

Die Geschichte des Zahnärztlichen Universitätsinstitutes der Freiherr Carl von Rothschild'schen Stiftung Carolinum zu Frankfurt a. M. von 1936 bis 1981.
Diss. med. dent. Frankfurt am Main

Windecker, Dieter (1990)

100 Jahre Freiherr Carl von Rothschild'sche Stiftung Carolinum. Die Geschichte der Stiftung und die Entwicklung der Zahnklinik an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität zu Frankfurt am Main.
Berlin: Quintessenz Verlag




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