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Wurzbg Medizinhist Mitt. 2004;23:393-411.

[Bernhard Schapiro (1888-1966): Talmudic scholar - andrologist - pioneer of hormonal treatment for cryptorchidism].

[Article in German]


Bernhard Schapiro was the first to recommend anterior pituitary lobe hormone for the treatment of cryptorchidism. He was born in 1888 into an orthodox family in Dvinsk (Daugavplis/Latvia), in the Pale of Settlements for Jewish Russian subjects. In simple schools he learned Hewbrew and basics of Torah and Talmud. Then he turned to the Talmudic Academy "Slobodka" in Kovno (Kaunas/Lithuania) for advanced studies. Here he internalized the "Musar" teachings, a doctrine of high-standard ethical behavior towards fellow beings, until he was eighteen. He abandoned a rabbincal carrer and studied medicine in Switzerland. After exams in 1919, he received a training in dermatology with JADASSOHN in Breslau. From 1922 until 1933 he worked at HIRSCHFELD's Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Here he pioneered in andrology working on the problems of impotency and premature ejaculation and developing new drug combinations. In males with underdeveloped genitalia he proved the cryptorch testicles may descend under treatment with anterior pituitary lobe. After Nazi students had looted the Institute in May, 1933 he left Germany with wife and four children and established a practice in Zurich. He chaired the Swiss branch of Mizrakhi, which aimed at influencing Zionism with orthodox spirituality. In 1940 he turned to New York where even rabbis recommended his treatment as in accordance with talmudic laws. From 1951 until his death in 1966 he lived and worked on the same issues in Jerusalem. His entire life was guided by Musar.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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