Dr Walter Freudenthal. 6th May 189327th March 1952

Download Dr Walter Freudenthal. 6th May 189327th March 1952

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    Dt 'OUlaIter freubentbal 6th May 189627th March 1952

    DR WALTER FREUDENTHBL, reader in dermatological histology in the University of London, died suddenly on 27th March 1952, aged 68.

    He began his medical studies in 1913 at Geneva, but these were interrupted by the War. Later he resumed them at Breslau, his home town, and quali6ed in 1920. From then until 1933, he was full-time assistant in the Breslau University Dermatological Clinic under Professor J. Jadassohn. He received his M.D. degree in 1922 and became F'rivat-dozent in 1929.

    In 1933, for political reasons, he left Germany for England, which he had long admired. He did not attempt to obtain an English quahication, as he was averse from competing with his English hosts and sought instead to contribute all he could from his own particular corner. He was enabled to pursue his specialty of the histopathology of the skin in the dermatological department of University College Hospital Medical School. This specialty within a specialty can be successfully cultivated only by one who has both a sound grasp of general pathological principles and mature experience of clinical dermatology. Both these Freudenthal brought with him from Germany. His influence was soon felt, especially at the meetings of the Dermatological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, where his assured technique in demonstrating sections on the screen, his knowledge of the literature and his well-considered opinions were indeed impressive.

    During the war he gave valuable assistance in the out-patient department of University College Hospital. In October 1945 he became the first holder of a readership in dermatological histology in the University of London, and the next few years were the height of his career, when established dermatologists from home and abroad came to learn from him, and when he held postgraduate classes for the many recruits to dermatology. But in 1947 his fatal illness began and his capacity for sustained work steadily contracted. He continued, however, to give all he could in spite of constant severe headache.

    Freudenthal gained a secure international reputation by his numerous scholarly papers, which advanced our knowledge at many points. Perhaps his chief contributions were his classic chapters in Jadassohn's " Handbuch der Haut- und Geschlechtskiankheiten " on pseudoxanthoma elasticum, and warts and condylomata, the latter with Rudolph Spitzer, and his papers on circumscribed myxoedema,

    J. PATE. BACT.-VOL. LXVIU (1954) 640


    verruca senilis and keratoma senile, glomus tumour, much in granuloma annulare, aniyloid in the skin, and derniatomyositis and scleroderma. He also wrote a useful chapter on the skin biopsy in Recent advances in clinical pathology . On whatever derniato-histological topic one consulted him, he would produce, with uncanny rapidity, relevant reprints and slides from his own collectlion for comparison.

    He was intellect,ually modest, revered the great men of the past, especially his much loved teacher, Jadassohn, arid seemed always conscious of his duty to uphold a great t,radition. Those who knew him well have lost a kind, understanding and loyal friend, and to his widow, who helped him so unfailingly, we offer our deep sympathy in her bereavement.


    $reberick 1Robert 5iGLbie 27th March 1904-22nd February 1954


    FROM an early stage of his too-short life, Fred Selbie showed all the qualities and habits of a mind and personality wholly suited to an academic career. Indeed, in writing about his life there is a danger even in naming his many academic honours and distinctions that these may thus attain such a proportion as to obscure the warmer side of the man. When he died, many who had known and liked him well found that, they had dificult,y in recalling the kind of personal incident which would redress the balance. This was not because Selbie was difficult to know but simply tIhatJ he did not reveal himself unasked. When the conditions were right he could talk as freely and gaily as anyone in a company, and none was more expert at detecting pomposity or exposing the weakness of false claims.

    He went to school a t Robert Gordons College in Aberdeen, where, amidst the keen competition for which this school is known, he was one of the brilliant pupils. One celebrated teacher of mathematics was fond of helping his classes along with stories which stretched the credulity even of schoolboys. As their studies became more advanced and the stories more remarkable, senior boys made it a point of honour to seek to deflate these anecdotes and their teller. Fortunately this was not easily done, but Selbie came nearer to success than most others. I s that one true, sir ? he asked after one particularly remarkable story. From a mediocre pupil such an inquiry could have been treated as mere folly or even insolence, but when a brilliant boy like Selbie put it with what seemed like naive simplicity, the question had a disconcerting effect. A t all events Selbies classmates thought that he had done well.