Ingeborg Rapoport – The Oldest Woman To Receive A Doctorate Degree

Ingeborg Rapoport was born in 1912 in Cameroon. Soon after her birth, her parents moved to Hamburg, Germany. She spent her early age there and started her education in the same place. 


Image Credits: Wall Street Journal Website

Her parents were Christians but her mother had a history of being of Jewish ancestry. Both her parents were divorced in 1928. Ingeborg studied medicine and she passed her examination as a state physician from the University of Hamburg in the year 1937. Later on, she worked on her thesis based on the topic of Diphtheria that was quite an issue in Germany back then. 

But as she was a mix of Jewish and Aryan ancestry, she was not allowed to defend her thesis and she was even denied her degree too.


Image Credits: The Vintage News Website

Ingeborg immigrated to America and completed her education in medicine. After some years she had to flee from America as well due to the ongoing investigations of them being non-Americans. She stayed in Vienna for some time with her husband but they could not find a decent job there, so they moved back to East Germany.

Ingeborg was awarded many times for her services as a pediatrician in Germany and she was the only person who reduced the infant mortality rate in East Germany with her skills and effective strategies.

Image Credits: BBC News Website

Later on, years passed by, and then in 2015, there finally came the day when Ingeborg got justice that was delayed for her for at least eight decades. The prevailing injustice of the Nazi Regime was corrected by the faculty of medicine at the University of Hamburg. She got her chance to defend her thesis by considering all the recent most studies that had already worked on the given topic. 

Though it was difficult for her to prepare at this age. She did it with the help of her colleagues who helped her in researching the advancement in the required area. Ingeborg said that she did it for those people whose justice was delayed.

Image Credits: DW News Website

The expressions on her face explain her happiness quite well. By getting this degree after 77 years of wait and at the age of 102, she became the oldest woman to have been awarded a doctorate degree. 

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