Germany’s First Female Professor: Rahel Hirsch at Her Desk (1913)


The high number of Jewish Germans at universities made clear that they viewed education [Bildung] as critically important and central to German culture. Jewish women also attended universities in disproportionately high numbers. In 1910-11, Jewish women accounted for 8.6% of humanities students and 28% of medical students in Germany. Rahel Hirsch (1870–1953) the granddaughter of Orthodox rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, finished her medical studies in 1904. In 1913, on the strength of her research, she became the first woman in Germany to be given the title professor.


Source: Rahel Hirsch at her desk, photograph, 1913. bpk-Bildagentur, image number 10006848. For rights and reprint inquiries, please contact Art Resource at (for the US and Canada) or bpk-Bildagentur at (for all other countries).

© bpk-Bildagentur

Michael A. Meyer, ed., with the assistance of Michael Brenner, Deutsch-Jüdische Geschichte der Neuzeit, vol. III: Umstrittene Integration 1871–1918. Munich: Beck, 1997.

Germany’s First Female Professor: Rahel Hirsch at Her Desk (1913), published in: German History Intersections, <> [November 29, 2023].