ByKarl Holubar*, Vienna andStella Fatovic-Ferencic**, Zagreb

* Archivist of the Austrian Society of Dermatology and Venerology
** From an area which belonged to the Dual Monarchy (Regnum Hungariae) at the time of Kaposi
(affiliations of authors at the end of the text)

Reproduced with permission from Springer Vienna, Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 2001; 113:885-893.

Moriz Kaposi 1837-1902
Picture of a life-size bust presented to the Japanese Dermatological Association at their Centennial Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, in April 2001 (1)

Andra moi ennepe Mousa polutropon
(Hom. Od. I : 1)

A Short Biography

Much has been written over the last century about Kaposi; by his contemporaries (2, 3) and ever since (4). Similarly, the dermatological entities we associate with his name have been much commented upon e.g. lupus erythematosus, the Kaposi sarcoma, Xeroderma pigmentosum, and several others. It may seem superfluous to reiterate any such details. On the other hand, recent calls for meetings read, e.g. « The poetics of biography in science, technology and medicine » (MERSENNE@JISCMAIL.AC.UK), stating that « biography has returned, after decades on the margins, to the limelight of studies… » Kaposi’s biography most certainly reflects the interaction between author and subject, the mutual influence of personality and vocation, individuality and culture. Biographical details may well be justified again.

Kaposi was born Moriz Kohn on 23 October 1837 (24 Tishri 5598) into a Jewish family living in Kaposvár, Southern Hungary, son of Salomon Kohn and Rosa, née Krauss. He attended a Hungarian elementary school and received the first four years of secondary schooling in a Gymnasium in his native city. Then he moved to Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava) to complete the remaining four years of education in the German Gymnasium in that City. Thereafter, Kohn went to Vienna where he enrolled in the Medical School of Vienna University in 1856 and from which he graduated as a doctor of medicine on 13 December, 1861, as doctor of surgery on 14 April, 1862, and as master of obstetrics on 12 July, 1866. He first worked in several departments of the Vienna General (University) Hospital, became « dozent » out of the IInd chair (syphilology) Prof. Carl Ludwig Sigmund’s and eventually joined Hebra’s department (Ist chair). In February 1869 he married Hebra’s daughter Martha and thereby became a son-in-law of his master. Sometime before his marriage, Kohn must have changed his denomination from Judaism to Roman Catholicism because in the marriage certificate of February 6, 1869, he is listed as a Catholic.

In 1869, we find the first paper on lupus erythematosus still under the name of Kohn. In 1872, now as Kaposi, he published a much more detailed treatise on lupus erythematosus. In the same year, his first observations on « idiopathic multiple pigmented sarcoma of the skin »‘ (today eponymously Kaposi’s sarcoma) appeared in print. Papers on erythema multiforme,, rhinoscleroma, the mycoses, and other subjects were to follow. The textbook of Hebra’s first appeared in co-authored editions and finally just under the name of Kaposi. In 1875, he was appointed Professor of Dermatology.

In 1871, Kaposi formally and officially changed his name from Kohn to Kaposi, a fact he made public in footnotes both in medical journals and in the Hebra?Kaposi textbook of dermatology. Permission for the change of name was granted by dccree on November 8, 1871.

Ferdinand von Hebra died on August 5, 1880 and Kaposi took » over the department of his father-in-law. He competed successfully with other famous pupils of Hebra, namely, Hans von Hebra, his brother-in-law; Heinrich Auspitz; and Filipp Josef Pick, who was later to become head of the Department of dermatology in Prague and co-founder of the German Society of Dermatology (1889).

Karposi hosted the Second International Congress of Dermatology in Vienna in 1892 and served as its president. In Paris in 1889, at the first such meeting, he was one of the vice-presidents and in London in 1896 he was one of the foreign secretaries. Again in Paris in 1900 he served as one of the honorary presidents (together with Jonathan Hutchison). A specialfestschrift was edited on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his appointment as Professor of Dermatology, Thefestschrift appeared as a special supplementary volume (Ergänzungsband) of theArchiv für Dermatologie und Syphilis.

Successively, many honors were bestowed upon Kaposi. He became a member of the imperial Order of (Emperor) Leopold; he was appointed « Hofrath », officer of the Légion d’Honneur elected member of many other national and international scientific bodies.

Kaposi was a polyglot, being fluent in Hungarian, German, French, and English. At international congresses he was sought as a speaker, but he was also a sharp critic, feared for his caustic remarks. He was well integrated into the Viennese society of the time and was a friend of many artists, e.g., the famous painter Makart who also was his patient and who did a portrait of his wife, and the sculptor Kundmann who created the statue crowning the Kaposi tomb, for which Kaposi’s wife Martha served as model.

Kaposi and Martha Hebra had five children, three sons and two daughters. There is no name-carrying descendant in the direct line.

Let us listen to a contemporary and how he saw Kaposi and his personality :

William Dubreuilh (1857-1935), first professor and chairman of dermatology in Bordeaux, in hisSouvenirs dermatologiques at the Budapest World Congress in 1935, Budapest 1936, vol. IV, pp. 53-57, writes the following :

« J’ai fait en 1886 mon premier voyage à Vienne qui était un peu la capitale de la dermatologie… J’y ai trouvé Neumann et Kaposi et ce dernier me fit beaucoup d’impression. Il me reçut avec la plus grand bienveillance, grace à une lettre d’introduction d’Alfred Fournier, et à ma première visite, entrant dans l’amphitheâtre où j’avais pris place, il commença sa leçon en français ; après le premières phrases je lui dis que je comprenais l’allemand et la leçon continua de façon normale. C’était une coquetterie de polyglotte et je le vis bien six ans plus tard quand au Congrès de Vienne il souhaita la bienvenue aux membres du congrès à chacun dans sa langue. »

But, hélas, great personalities also meet malicious critique. Dubreuilh concludes on Kaposi : « On disait de Kaposi qu’il avait pris la fille de Hebra, sa maison, sa chaire et sa clientèle, laissant le reste à son beau-frère Hans Hebra. »

Voilà, these words speak for themselves.

The Dermatological Heritage

Only a few main points shall be made because too much has already been written and commented about his papers and no renewed attempt is made here. Attention is drawn only to the original reports. Current encyclopedic texts such as Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine offer ample information of how these entities of yesteryear are to be understood today.

Unforgettable dermatologic achievements, so to say, are:

Systemic lupus erythematosus 1869/1872 (see the poster at the end of this paper)

Kaposi sarcoma 1872

Xeroderma pigmentosum 1882

Kaposi’s varicelliform eruption (textbook; 3rd and later editions.)

Kaposi-Besnier-Doyon ed. of his textbook of dermatology. 2nd French ed. 1891, 2 vols

IInd International Congress of Dermatology in Vienna 1892

Kaposi was a very proud and self confident man. As evident from the above bibliography, he used to add « mihi » to newly described entities, e.g. Xeroderma pigmentosum so as to make absolutely certain that HE was the original author and not somebody else. If we look at the entity of lupus erythematosus which may serve as a master example on account of its long and tortuous history Kaposi’s foresight and clinical acumen was really remarkable. Systemic lupus erythematosus was re-discovered only many decades later in America. And the last page in the paper on his sarcoma, (interestingly published in the same year as the extensive lupus erythematosus study (1872)), prophetically reads « muss für dieses Uebel eine bereits von Anfang her vorhandene allgemeine Erkrankung (Dyskrasie) angenommen werden« . Yes, by today we know it, immunosuppression is the conditioning factor !

What the 2nd French edition of his textbook (1891) is concerned, it was called the most important text in the late 19th century. Why ? Ernest Besnier and André Doyon, the French translators and editors, added about 50% of text, presenting the view of the French school at the individual questions in the field (as opposed to the Vienna school).

This was the first syncretic text in dermatology, or, to put it differently, it is what Fitzpatrick’s is for us today.

The Literary Œuvre



der publicirten wissenschaftlichen Originalarbeiten des Dr. MORIZ KAPOSI,

o. ö. Professor an der Universität Wien, k. k. Hofrath. (2,3)

A. Major publications and monographies

1.  Syphilis der Schleimhaut der Mund-, Rachen-, Nasen- uud Kehlkopfhöhle (Habilitations-Monographie). 8°. 161 Seiten. Erlangen 1866, Ferd. Enke.
2.  Lehrbuch der Hautkrankheiten. Von FERD. HEBRA und M. KAPOSI,- 2 Bd. und 1 Bd., 2. Auflage. Erlangen und Stuttgart 1870-1872-1876, Ferd. Enke.
3.  Die Syphilis der Haut und der angrenzenden Schleimhäute- 4° mit 76 chromolithographischen Tafeln. Wien 1872, W. Braumüller.
4.  Pathologie und Therapie der Syphilis. 1. H. 1881, 2. H. 1891. Stuttgart. Ferd. Enke.
5.  Pathologie und Therapie der Hautkrankheiten und Vorlesungen. 1. Auflage 1880, 5. Auflage 1899. Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg. (Ins Französische, Englische und Russische übersetzt.)
6.  Atlas der Hautkrankheiten. 1.Th. (A-H) 1898, 2. Th. (I – M) 1899. Mit 242 chromolithographischen Tafeln. 3. Th. (N-Z) unter der Presse. Wien, W. Braumüller.

B. Journal publications

7.  Vorträge u. A. (Chronologisch.) Ueber den gegenwärtigen Stand der Dermatologie in England. Med.-Halle. Wien 1867.
8.  Ueber das gleichzeitige Auftreten zweier acuter Exantheme « Wr. med.Wochenschrift », 1867, Nr.41-43.
9.  Ueber Lichen scrophulosum. Mit 1 Tafel. Sitztungsber. der Kais. Akad. d. Wissensch., LVIII. Bd., 2. Abth., October-Heft, 1868.
10.  Zum Wesen und zur Therapie des Lupus erythematosus. Arch. f. Derm. u. Syph, pag. 18 -41. 1869.
11.  Ueber die sogenannte Framboesia und mehrere andere Arten von papillären Neubildungen der Haut. Mit 1 Tafel. Ibid , pag. 382-423 H. , 1869.
12.  Ueber den innerlichen Gebrauch der Carbolsäure gegen Hautkrankheiten und Syphilis. Ibid., pag. 220-236, 1869.
13.  Ueber eine bei den Negern vorkommende Geschwulst (Keloid). « Wr. med. Wochenschrift », 1869, Nr.l.
14.  Ueber ein eigenthümliches Neugebilde an der Nase – Rhinosclerom, nebst histologischem Befunde.Von FERD. HEBRA und M. KAPOSI. « Wr. med. Wochenschrift », 1870.
15.  Die klinischen und histologischen Charaktere, der Syphilide. « Wochenschrift », 1870, Nr. 55, 56, 57.
16.  Ueber Impetigo faciei contagiosa und einen bei derselben vorgefundenen Pilz. Vortrag in der Gesellschaft der Aerzte. Wr. Med. Presse », 1871.
17.  Zur-Aetiologie des Erythema multiforme und Herpes Iris, sowie zur Frage über die Identität der die Mykosen bedingenden Pilze. Vortrag in der k. k. Gesellschaft der Aerzte. Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph., 1871, 382-396.
18.  Ueber das Keloid. Klinisch-histol. Arbeit. Wr. med. Wochenschrift », 1871, Nr. 24, 25, 26,
19.  Xanthoma (Vitiligoidea). Vortrag, gehalten in der k. k. Gesellschaft der Aerzte. Wr. med. Wochenschrift », 1872, Nr. 8 u.9.
20.  Der Tätowirte von Birmah. Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1872, Nr. 2.
21.  Neue Beiträge zur Kenntnis des Lupus erythematosus. Klin.-histol. Studie mit 1 Tafel. Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph-, 1872, pag. 36-78.
22.  Idiopathisches multiples Pigmentsarkom der Haut. Arch.f.Dermat. u. Syph., 1872, pag. 266-273.
23.  Ueber Variola haemorrhagica und Hämorrhagien bei Variola. « Wr. allg. med. Zeitung » , 1872, Nr. 49.
24.  Ueber die Variola-Varicella-Frage (Vortrag im ärztl. Verein). Arch. f. Derm. u. Syph., 1873, pag. 256 -278.
25.  Referat Rede in der Impfdebatte des III. Internat . med. Congresses, Tagbl. des Congresses Nr. 6, Wien 1872.
26.  Referat über BILLROTH’S Coccobacteria septica. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1873, Nr. 16, 17, 18.
27.  Ueber den gegenwärtigen Stand der Lehre von der ätiologischen Beziehung kleinster Organismen (Micrococcus) zu den im Allgemeinen sogenannten Infectionskrankheiten (Vortrag, gehalten im ärztlichen Vereine 22. April 1874). Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph., 1874, 1. Heft.
28.  Eine eigenthümliche Form von Zoster. « Wr. med. Wschr. »1874 Nr. 25 u. 26.
29.  Zoster recidivus. 1 Bild, ibidem, 1874, Nr. 38.
30.  Zoster recidivus (3. Ausbruch), ibid., 1875, Nr. 27; (4. Ausbruch) ibid., 1875, Nr. 33.
31.  Zoster recidivus (5. Ausbruch). Vortr. in der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte 5. November 1875 ) « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1876, Nr. 1 u. 2.
32.  Zur Aetio1ogie des Zoster (Vortrag, geh. in der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte, 15. Oct. 1875). « Jahrb. », 1876, 1. Heft mit 1 Tafel.
33.  Ueber den gegenwärtigen Stand der Lehre von den pflanzlichen Parasiten der menschlichen Haut (Vortrag, geh. in d. k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte, 7. April 1876). « Wr. med. Jahrb. », 1876, IV. Heft, pag. I-XXVI.
34.  Ueber Hautgeschwüre. « Wr Klinik « , 1876.
35.  Neurosen der Haut. « Arch.f.Dermat. u. Syph.) »,1876, 3. Heft.
36.  Zoster recidivus (7., 8. u. 9. Eruption) mit Epikrise. Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1877, Nr. 25 u. 26.
37.  Ueber das sogenannte Molluscum contagiosum. Arch.f.Dermat.u.Syph. 1877, 3.Heft.
38.  Zur Pathologie und Therapie einzelner Hautkrankheiten: I. Lichen ruber acuminatus und Lichen ruber planus (Vortrag in der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte vom 7. October 1876). « Wochenschr. », Nr. 35, 1877. II. Symptome und Behandlung der Psoriasis universalis. « Wr. med. Wochenschr., 1877, Nr. 44 und 45. III. Ueber den sogenannten Lupus syphiliticus (Vortrag in der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte vom 14. Decernber 1877). »Wr. med, Wocherschr. », 1877, Nr. 50 u. 51.
39.  Vaselin und Ung,Vaselini plumbicum. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1878, Nr. 17.
40.  Ueber Erythema vesiculosum et bullosum, Herpes iris et circinatus. Offenes Sendschreiben an Herrn Hofr. Prof. GERHARDT in Würzburg. « Wr. med.Wochenschr. », 1878, Nr. 40.
41.  Goa – Pu1ver, Chrysophansäure, recte Chrysarobin, Pyrogallussäure. Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1878, Nr. 44 u. 45.
42.  Lupus Carcinom. Arch. f. Derm. u. Syph. », 1879, 1.H. mit 1.T.
43.  Ueber 3 Fälle von Zoster gangraenosus et recidivdus ( Vortr. in d. k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte 21. Februar 1879). « Wr. med.Wochenschr. « , 1879, Nr. 9.
44.  Reizung und Syphilis. « Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph.’, 1879, pag. 279 -283.
45.  Ueber ein neues Hei1mittel und Naphtol gegen Hautkrankheiten. « Wochenschr. »,1880, Nr. 22, 23, 24.
46.  Rede zum Gedächtnis an FERD. HEBRA anlässlich derVorlesungseröffnung am 19. October 1881. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. »,1881, Nr. 43.
47.  Indicationen und Methoden zur Behandlung der Hautkrankheiten mittelst Naphtol. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. »,1882, Nr. 30 u. 31.
48.  Ueber Xeroderma pigmentosum mihi. »Wr. med. Jahrb. », 1882, pag. 619-633, mit 5Tafeln.
49.  Ueber Elephantiasis Arabum und Lymphorrhoea scroti (l. Vortrag in der k. k. Gesellsch. der Aerzte 18. Mai 1883). « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1883, Nr. 21.
50.  Ueber besondere Formen von Hauterkrankungen bei Diabetikern, Dermatosis diabetica. Jahrbücher », 1884, pag. 1, mit Tafel 1-4.
51.  Ueber Striae atrophicae cutis. Anzeiger d. k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte- vom 14. November 1884.
52.  Ueber Bouton d’Alepp, ibid. 1885,
53.  Ueber eine neue Form von Hautkrankheit, Lymphodermia perniciosa. « Wr. med. Jahrbücher », 1885,1. Heft, Tafel XI, XII, XIII
54.  Naevus verrucosus universalis (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte am 29. Mai 1885). Wr, med. Wochenschr., »1885, Nr. 24 u 25.
55.  Ueber perniciöse Dermatosen. Anzeiger der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte vom 29. Mai 1885-
56.  Variolisatio fortuita. Anzeiger der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte vom 5. Juni 1885.
57.  Xeroderma pigmentosum (Vortrag in der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte, 23. October 1885). « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1885, Nr. 44.
58.  Ueber idiopathisches, multiples Pigmentsarkom, ibid, 1885.
59.  Glossodynia exfoliativa. « Wr. med. Presse », 1885.
60.  Ueber Lepra (Vortrag in der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte, 20. November 1885). « Wr. med. Wochenschr., 1885, Nr. 47, 48, 49.
61.  Zur Bekämpfung der Blattern. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1884, 1885.
62.  Xeroderma pigmentosum mihi. ,Anzeiger d. k.k. Ges. d. Aerzte » vom 26. Februar 1886.
63.  Referat über Therapie der Syphilis auf dem V. intern. med. Congrss in Wiesbaden am 16. April 1886. Verh. d. Congr., Bergmann, Wiesbaden.
64.  Ueber Urticaria pigmentosa (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 4. Juni 1886). ,Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1886, Nr. 25.
65.  Korallenschnurartiger Lichen ruber- Lichen ruber moniliformis. Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph., 1886, mit 4 Taf.
66.  Discussionen in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte von 1886 über Pemphigus foliaceus vegetans pag. 13, Xeroderma pigmentosam pag. 57, Lupus und Tuberculose pag. 82, Geschwüre nach Circumcision pag. 124.
67.  Drei Fälle von L e p r a. « Anzeiger der k. k. Gesellsch. d. Aerzte » vom 25. Februar 1887.
68.  Ueber Mycosis fungoides und deren Beziehung zu anderen ähnlichen Erkrankungsformen (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 1. April 1887). « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1887, Nr. 19, 20, 21, 22.
69.  Impetigo herpetiformis. « Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph. », 1887, pag. 273-296, Taf.VI,VII,Vlll,IX,X.
70.  Ueber Erysipel, Referat für das allgemeine Krankenhaus. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1887, Nr. 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35.
71.  Erythroph1aeïn, das neue Anästheticum. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1888, Nr. 9. –
72.  Ueber Mycosis fungoides. « Wr. wed. Wochenschr. », 1888, Nr. 19.
73.  Ueber Xeroderma pigmentosum.  » Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1888, Nr. 5 u. 6.
74.  Ueber acute Entwickelung von Lepra bei gleichzeitig bestehender Lues.
75.  Ueber atypischen Zoster gangraenosus – Zoster gangraenosus hystericus (Vortr. in d. k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 15. Februar 1889). « Wr. klin.Wochenschr. »,1889, Nr.10.
76. Bemerkungen über die jüngste Zosterepidemie und zur Aetiologie des Zoster. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1889, Nr. 25 u. 26 u. Vortrag auf d. I. Congress der deutschen dermatologischen Gesellschaft in Prag, 9. Juni 1889
77.  Ueber die Frage des Lichen. Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph., 1889, pag. 743, u. I. Internat. Congress f. Dermat. u. Syph., 1889, 5. August; Congressbericht Paris 1889/90, Franz., Masson, Paris, u. Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph., deutsch.
78.  Zur Frage des Pemphigus. V. Congress für interne Medicin, Wien 1890 (Congressbericht).
79.  Ueber Aetzung der breiten Condylome mittelst Solutio P1enckii. « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1890, Nr. 19.
80.  Ueber Sk1erodermie (Sitzungsber. d. Gesellscb. d. Aerzte vom 25. April 1890). « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », Nr. 19.
81.  Pemphigus neuriticus hystericus, ibid. 1890, Nr. 22.
82.  Gesundheitliche und sittliche Gefahren der Prostitution für die Bevölkerung. (Refer. in d. hygien. Sect. d. X. Intern. med. Congresses in Berlin 1890.) « Wr. med. Blätter », 1891. Nr. 16 u. Congressbericht.
83.  Ueber Pathogenese der Pigmentirungen und Entfärbungen der Haut (Ref. auf d. X. Intern. med. Congress in Berlin 1900). Arch . f. Derm. u. Syph., 1891 u. Congressbericht.
84.  Ueber Behand1ung von Lupus, Lepra und anderen Hautkrankheiten mittelst Koch’scher Lymphe. Wien 1891, Hölder.
85.  Gedenkrede anf FERD. HEBRA anlässlich der Enthüllung seiner Denkbüste in den Arkaden der Universität, 14. Juni 1891. « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1891, Nr. 25.
86.  Ueber dreierlei Typen von Sarcomatosis cutis (Vortrag in d. k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 3. Februar 1893). Klin. Wochenschr. », 1893, Nr. 6.
87.  Ueber’ einige ungewöhnliche Formen von Acne (folliculitis). « Arch. f, Derm. -u. Syph. », 1894, pag. 87, 26. Bd., Tafel VII-X.
88.  Ueber die Beziehung von Hautkrankheiten und Erkrankungen innerer Organe und Systeme (Vortrag im Wr. med. Club 21. Februar 1894). « Wiener med. Blätter », 1894, Nr. 9.
89.  Ueber die modernen Systematisirungsversuche in der Dermatologie Vortrag, gehalten auf dem V. Congress der deutschen dermatologischen Gesellschaft, Breslau 1894).
90.  Noch einmal Lichen ruber acuminatus und Lichen ruber planus. « Arch. f. Dermat. u. Syph. », 1895, Bd. XXXI, Taf. 1-IV, Vortrag in der 66.Versammlung der deutschen Naturforscher und Aerzte in Wien 1894.
91.  Ueber den gegenwärtigen Stand der Lehre vom Pemphigus (Vortrag, gehalten auf dem deutschen Dermatologen-Congress zu Graz, 23. September 1895). Congressber. 1895.
92.  Mycosis fungoides und Sarcomatosis cutis, aus Pemphigus sich entwickelnd (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 22. November 1895). « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1895, Nr. 48.
93.  Molluscum contagiosum giganteum (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 8. Mai 1896). « Wr. klin.Wochenschr. »,1896, Nr. 26.
94.  Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte in Wien, 16. October 1896: 1 Fall von Lepra tuberosa et maculosa. 2 Fälle von Rhinosklerom. 1 Fall von Oedema elephantiasis faciei. « Wr. klin.Wochenschr. », 22. October 1896.
95.  Ueber einen ungewöhnlichen Fall von Verbrennung (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 1896).
96.  Xeroderma pigmentosum. Twentieth Century Practise of Medicine,V. Bd., W. Wood & Co., 1896.
97.  Ueber Roentgen-Strahlenwirkung. Theoretische Erörterung in der Sitzung d. k. k. Ges.d. Aerzte vom 5. Januar 1897.  » Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 21. Januar 1897.
98.  Ueber einen Fall von Lepra tuberosa maculosa acuta (Vortr. in der k. k. Ges.d. Aerzte vom 5. März 1897). « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1897.
99.  Ueber einen Fall von Xeroderma pigmentosum mit auf den Knochen dringendem Carcinom (Sitzung der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 29.October 1897).,Wr. klin. Wochensehr. », 4. November 1897.
100.  Ein Fal1 von Lepra tuberosa et anaesthetiea mit begonnener Serotherapie. Cerrasquilla, ibid. 4. November 1897.
101.  Zur Frage der Contagiosität und Prophylaxis der Lepra (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 5. November 1897). « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1897, Nr. 45.
102.  Vorstellung eines Falles von Tumores leukaemici gigantei des Gesichtes (Ges. d. Aerzte, 17. De-cember 1897). « Wr. klin. Wschr. », 23. December 1897.
103.  Hyponomoderma KAPOSI. (Creeping eruption) des Autors (Vorstellung in der k. k.Ges. d. Aerzte, 15. April 1898). « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1898, Nr. 16
104.  Ueber Jodexanthem (vegetans, febrilis). Sitzung der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte, 22. April1898.  » Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1898, Nr. 17.
105.  Ueber Miliartuberculose der Haut und der angrenzenden Schleimhäute – Tuberculosis miliaris s. propria cutis et mucosae. Taf. XIX-XXIII.Arch. f. Derm. u. Syph., 1899, Bd. 43.
106.  Ueber Hyperidrosis spinalis superior (Vortrag in der k. k. Ges. d Aerzte, 3. März 1899). »Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1899, Nr. 10; als ausführlicher Artikel mit 2 Taf. »Arch. f. Derm. u. Syph. », 1899.
107.  Referat f. d. intern. Conferenz über die Prostitutionsfrage. Brüssel, 4.-8. September 1899, Congressbericht, VI. Frage.
108.  Pathologie und Therapie der Hautkrankheiten in Vorlesungen. Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg. V. Aufl., 1898 bis1899.
109.  Atlas der Hautkrankheiten. 1. Abtheilung A-H,Taf. 1-114, 2. Abtheilung J-M, Taf. 115-242, Wien 1899, Braumüller.
110.  Demonstration zweier Fälle von Xeroderma pigmentosum excessivster Intensität (Vortrag, geh. in der Sitzung der k. k. Ges. d. Aerzte am 27. October 1899). « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1899,Nr. 44.
111.  Vortrag und Demonstration eines Falles von Roentgenisirungs-Ulceration, 27. October 1899. « Wr. klin. Wochenschr. », 1899 , Nr. 44.
112.  Epicarin », ein neues Heilmittel. « Wr. med. Wochenschr. », 1900, Nr. 6.

(Taken from the original publications in 1902 and slightly modified as to the spelling from Stefan Weidenfeld (2) and Eduard Spiegler (3). The list is intended to give an impression of the topics rather than the page numbers in all places. Page numbers are widely left out, also volume numbers. This, because the latter were not customary at the time, do not appear on the volumes and would have to be allotted retrospectively, i.,e. are of no use. Page numbers alternate with numbered columns; as much as Arabic and Roman numerals are given. Various reports are not indexed in the journals or periodicals and appear under society headings. Often, a fruitful localization is only possible by looking to the respective number of the issue of the jorunal in question and then browsing through).

The Family and Kaposi’s Jewish Identity

The author had cordial relations with some of the members of the grandson/granddaughter generation, especially Mrs. Hildegard Kaposi. They all have died meanwhile. Further generations, both in Austria and descendants of his brother in Budapest, were not very interested in continued personal contact (understandably because of the long time elapsed) (4)

Criticism in regard of how much Kaposi felt « Jewish » was uttered some time ago (5). We have argued against this critique recently because we feel sure that he did not dishonor to his ancestral traditions(6). Changing the name is a personal matter and not a moral cause.

Kaposi’s rationalization for his change of name was as follows: « Kohn »‘ is a name carried by hundreds of people of various classes and of different professions; mistakes are constantly and increasingly made about persons carrying the same name. At Vienna university alone there were five doctors with a similar surname; one even with the same given name Moriz, and one other, Moriz Gohn. Still another, Emanuel Kohn worked in the same department where he had started (Prof. Sigmund’s). He was concerned about the possibility that his scientific work would mistakenly be credited to colleagues bearing the same surname. He explicitly stated that it was for these reasons alone that he wished to change his name.

Depicts Kaposi’s application to change the family name and take « Kohn » for « Kaposi »: « Der ergebenst gefertigte stellt das unterthänige Ansuchen, dass ihm für sich und seine Familie gestattet werde, seinem bisherigen Familiennamen « Kohn » gegen « Kaposi » vertauschen zu dürfen… » (1870).(undated but evident from the stamps)

Old Austria-Hungary was THE catholic state. Kaposi was ambitious, he was gifted, he was determined. There were very many Jews, and Cohanim at that, around in dermatology in Vienna at the time. Kaposi wanted to have a singular name and – this is documented in his personal application for change of name, -moreover he wanted to relate to his beloved native place of Kaposvár, Hungary, therefore he chose KAPOSI instead of KOHEN.

The fact that there were many Jewish doctors around with the same or a similar name has already been alluded to. The following illustration (Fig.3) exemplifies the situation in the very department of Prof. C L Sigmund (syphilology) where two doctors by this name were competing with each other. Dr. Emanuel Kohn, and Dr. Moriz Kohn, both apply for becoming dozent at the same time and their professor had to review their c.v. and to forward this application to the college of professors. The document may serve as a visible proof of the density of Cohanim in medicine in the Vienna faculty at the time. At the time we should recall, first names were never spelled out, frequently even initials were not given in publications. We should not be too critical with such a stance which speaks for his great professional ambition.


Referee’s (Professor C L Sigmund von Ilanors) expertise addressed to the college of professors. « Löbliches Professoren Collegium der k.k.medizinischen Fakultät der Wiener Universität… » dated 26th and 24th March 1866. Relating to the two candidates for « dozentur » Dr. Moriz Kohn, Secundararzt II. Classse im k.k. allgemeinen Krankenhause…und Dr. Emanuel Kohn, Secundararzt I. Classe im k.k. allgemeinen Krankenhause…


A Centennial Retrospect

With Kaposi’s demise a hundred years ago, the great epoch of Vienna dermatology came to an end. The crimes of the decades of the first half of the 20th century require a sober atonement by us, the fellow Austrians. The Jewish core of Austrian dermatology was annihilated during this period (7) and it took the better part of the saeculum to begin anew and to build a school in the discipline. Suffice it to say that this was possible only by internationalization of the discipline, by going to America where many of the talents had fled. Reconsidering the time of peak fame at the beginning of the 21st century, illustrates how political changes exert their profound influence on the development of science, of medicine in general.

Together with the Kaposi sarcoma, the description of lupus erythematosus may be seen as Kaposi’s main merit, therefore a perspective on the iconographic presentation of lupus erythematosus in dermatologic periodicals, books and atlases, is added :

The poster (overleaf) on the development of the clinical entitiy of cutaneous lupus erythematosus during the 19th century, was displayed at the Centennial of the Japanese Dermatological Association in Tokyo, April 2001 and thereafter, at the Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists in Cardiff, in July 2001 where a call for historical posters was made. Kaposi popularized the latinized version lupus erythematosus in international dermatology, in place of the original French term Lupus érythémateux of Cazenave. Furthermore he wrote the first extensive treatise on this entity and he first described systemic manifestations. In the original early papers where the condition was calle érythème centrifuge or seborrhoea congestiva, only cutaneous manifestations were described, in part also depicted. It took the better part of the 19th century, from the time of Alibert’s pupil Laurent-Théodore (Gaudenz) Biett (1781-1840) to the epoch of Keizo Dohi (1866-1931). For a perspective on this fascinating story see (8).

The iconographic development is re-enacted in the following pages, including a masterly moulage of Jules Baretta (1834-1923). It is worth being mentioned, that hree of the most famous painters worked for Hebra and Kaposi from the sixties of the 19th century well into the 20th century (Drs. AntonElfinger and Carl and Julius Heitzmann).

The memory of the master is lively in our minds.


Professor Georg Stingl MD, Vienna
Mrs. Hildegard Kaposi, Vienna, deceased
Österreichisches Staatsarchiv (Austrian Federal Archives) Vienna, Austria

(1)  Holubar K: A Splendid Occasion: The 100th Birthday of the Japanese Dermatological Association. Nerval’s Diary, Dermatology 2001; (in press)
(2)  Weidenfeld (no initial): Moriz Kaposi. Ein Nachruf. Wien. Med. Presse 1902; #11, 1-12
(3)  Spiegler E: Moriz Kaposi. Arch. f. Dermatol. u. Syph 1902; 60:I-X
(4)  Holubar K Frankl J: Moriz (Kohn) Kaposi. Am J Dermatopathol 1981; 3:349-354
(5)  Ingber A: Why Kaposi and not Kohn? Am J Dermatopathol 1983; 5:103 (one page)
(6)  Holubar K Fatovic-Ferencic S: 1902-2002 Hundred Years after Kaposi: A Post-Holocaust Coup d’œil of Vienna’s Jewish Heritage in Dermatology. Invest Dermatol 2001; (submitted)
(7)  Angetter DC: Die Geschichte der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Dermatologie und Venerologie mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Zeit zwischen 1933-1945. Mabuse, Frankfurt (in press)
(8)  Holubar K: Terminology and iconography of lupus erythematosus. Am J Dermatopathol 1980; 2:239-242


Address of authors

Karl Holubar MD FRCP
Institute for the History of Medicine
University of Vienna
Währinger Strasse 25
A-1090 Vienna Austria
FAX +43-1-42-77-96-34

Stella Fatovic-Ferencic MD PhD
Department for the History of Medicine
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Demetrova 18
H-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Moriz Kaposi 1837-1902