Paul Wolf 1795 – 1857

Paul Wolf 1795 – 1857 MD was a was a German Jewish orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy.

Paul Wolf was a student of Samuel Hahnemann,and a colleague of Frantz Hartmann, Matthias Marenzeller and Friedrich Edmund Peithner Ritter von Lichtenfels, who practiced in Dresden.

Paul Wolf was a member of the Central Association of Homeopaths in Leipsig, alongside Albrecht, Baumann, Ernst von Brunnow, Pierre Dufresne, Anton Fischer, Carl Franz, Gaumann, Gustav Wilhelm Gross, Comte Sebastien Gaeten Salvador Maxime Des Guidi, Carl Georg Christian Hartlaub, Frantz Hartmann, Carl Haubold, Hofrath, Kretschmar, Kruger Hansen, Johan Joseph Wilhelm Lux, Moritz Wilhelm Mueller, Muhlenbein, Charles Gaspard Peschier, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Gottlieb Martin Wilhelm Ludwig Rau, Rohl, Mathias Roth, Ernst Ferdinand Rueckert, Rummel, John Ernst Stapf, Suffert, Karl Friedrich Gottfried Trinks, George Adolph Weber, Friedrich Wolf,

Paul Wolf found himself unable to make a living practicing orthodox medicine, eventually finding success with his conversion of homeopathy despite (or because of?) the usual vitriolic attacks from allopaths.

Such attacks, as always, resulted in patronage from powerful people, and Paul Wolf was created Hofrath of Altenburg, and he became the homeopathic physician of the King of Saxony, and he was presented with the Knight Cross order of the Lion by the Duke of Brunswick. Paul Wolf was appointed a State Counsellor of Medicine in Dresden.

Paul Wolf was an opponent of high potencies whose Eighteen Theses, published in 1836, and put forward at the Homeopathic Central Association annual meeting in Dresden.

Paul Wolf knew Christian Heinrich Hahn, Carl Haubold, Georg August Heinrich Muhlenbein, Joseph Hyppolyte Pulte, and Karl Friedrich Gottfried Trinks.

In the Prager Med. Monatschrift for February, 1857, notice is given that Dr. Paul Wolf, of Dresden, died on January 2, 1857, in his 62d year. The British Journal of Homeopathy contains the following:

Beyond the circle of the friends and patients of Dr. Paul Wolf, of Dresden his death will be felt, by many who have enjoyed the pleasure of his personal acquaintance, or to whom he was known by reputation as one of the earliest champions of Homeopathy.

The subject of this notice was born in Dresden on the 24th of February, 1795. He received the first elements of education at the Israelite school of Seesen, and afterwards at the school of St. Thomas, in Leipzic. His first inclination was to study philosophy, but a relation persuaded him to adopt medicine as his profession.

So he entered the University of Leipzic as a medical student in 1812. During the war in 1813, he came to Dresden and acted as assistant surgeon in the typhus hospital attached to the goal, where he continued until attacked by the disease. He afterwards completed his studies at Prague and thence went to Jena, where he took his degree in 1817.

He passed the Government examination in Dresden in the following year, not without much opposition on the part of the authorities, in consequence of his being a Hebrew. He was much complimented upon his inaugural essay on “Croup,” and the purity of his Latin.

He settled in Dresden, but for a long time he was unable of live by his practice, but was supported by his relatives. In 1822 he married, and thereafter his practice gradually increased. In 1824, when on a visit to Prague, Professor Bischof drew his attention to Homeopathy, and advised him to study it, which Wolf did under the guidance of Matthias Marenzeller and Friedrich Edmund Peithner Ritter von Lichtenfels.

His first experiments with the new method having seen crowned with success, his confidence increased in it, and in 1826 he devoted himself entirely to its practice.

He found Karl Friedrich Gottfried Trinks already practicing Homeopathy in Dresden, and a series of persecutions soon began to be directed against these two practitioners of the new system. Fines, actions at law, accusations of poisoning, the hatred of colleagues, the unbelief or mockery of the public, caricatures in short, all the armory of oppression was employed to put them down. Without success, however, for the fame of our hero went on increasing and his practice extending.

He numbered several crowned heads among his patients. He was created Hofrath of Altenburg in 1836, and a few years later he was decorated with the Order of Henry the Lion of Brunswick.

He did not do much in the literary line, partly on account of his many professional engagements, and partly on account of his dislike of publicity. One article of his, however, is very well known – his Eighteen Theses, which have been more than once alluded to in this journal.

He was present at the last meeting of the German Central Homoeopathic Society, in August 1856, when those who had not seen him for some time were struck by his altered and aged look, some years previously he had suffered much from an ulceration of the stomach, which had healed up, but was succeeded by fits of the gout, and two years ago he first perceived the signs of diabetes mellitus. This disease went on increasing and reduced is strength greatly. His breathing became affected and his light impaired.

Notwithstanding his sufferings, he continued pursue his practice, and refused to take proper care of his health. He knew his disease was mortal, but he had a great dread of a long illness, and so continued to work as long as possible. On the 30th of December he was seized with bronchial catarrh and four days afterwards he was dead.

He left a widow and six children.

His funeral showed the general esteem in which he was held. A numerous concourse of his friends and admirers followed his body to the Jewish burial ground. The procession included the carriages of many of the most eminent inhabitants of Dresden – among others, that of the Rosalie von Rauch Countess of Hohenau (wife of Prince Albert of Prussia) and those of the English and French Ambassadors. Funeral orations were delivered at the grave by the Chief Rabbi Landau and by his friend, Karl Friedrich Gottfried Trinks.

Dr. Wolf’s colleagues bear cordial testimony to his ability as a physician, his strict professional behavior, and the confidence he inspired in his patients. His experience had been great, and he had profited greatly by it. He possessed a mass of information regarding the actions of medicines, such as few among us can boast of.

His practical tact and almost instinctive selection of the appropriate medicine made him a most successful practitioner His courtesy and kindness to younger practitioners, his geniality and friendliness to his contemporaries, made him a great favorite with all his colleagues. He left behind him a sketch of a work on general therapeutics, and some fragments of practical papers.

The Eighteen Theses mentioned above were written to carefully define the laws of Homeopathy and were accepted as guides by the Central Society. They were first published in the Archiv. fuer d. hom. Heilkunst, vol. 13.

In them the mooted questions were discussed. Viet Meyer says in the Zeitung:

Another veteran and master mind of our science has departed. On the 2d of January, 1857, at 10pm, there died at Dresden, Privy Counselor Dr. Paul Wolf, Knight of the Heinrichsorden of Brunswick, after having attended to the duties of his vocation only two days before, though he was suffering even then.

A rnetastasis of gout to the lungs put an end to his indefatigable activity and unwearied exertions.

He was among the first physicians of Dresden and his fame extended over all the countries of Europe. The many proofs of princely favor shown to him demonstrate, at the same time, how well he succeeded in procuring access even into those high circles for our beloved Homeopathy.

A man of deep knowledge, of familiar acquaintance with our materia medica, one of the most penetrating observers at the sickbed, a loving colleague – he sank into the grave at the age of 62 years. Rest, our dear friend, from your troubled earthly pilgrimage. May you find in those heavenly spheres that rest which you would not allow to yourself here below.

Paul Wolf was born in Dresden on the 24th of February, 1795. Even as a boy he showed an active mind and a firm will. This was the especial cause why his mother yielded to his eager inclination to study medicine and allowed him to visit the Thomas Schule in Leipzig.

He must have been a very diligent pupil, For when only 16 years old he entered the University of Leipzig, where he remained till 1814, when he went to study three years at Prague. On the 23d of October, 1817, after passing a splendid examination, he graduated at Jena.

Before establishing himself at Dresden, however, he had to undergo another examination by the State at the Medico Chirurgical Academy. He had not to fear this, as he had made an honest use of his studying time at the university and he was intimately acquainted with all branches of the medical science.

As he had, however, heard that the professors intended to give him a very rigid examination, he demanded, as was then the privilege of every candidate, to be examined in Latin. Now whether the professors were not altogether at home in this idiom, or because they soon recognized the wealth of knowledge in Wolf – in brief, the examination was shortened and he passed with the highest honors.

Though this fact made an excellent impression on his friends and acquaintances, nevertheless his beginnings were not without their difficulties. The prejudice of the public against allowing a novitiate in medicine to experiment upon them, caused also Wolf to fully enjoy, in his first years, the privilege of the young physician of waiting for his patients.

But soon his fame augmented and the number of his patients increased, so that he could found his own hearth. In the year 1822 he married Miss Isabelle Schie, a daughter of one of the first houses of Dresden, and from this happy marriage issued six children. But the more his practice increased, the less his acute and thoughtful spirit was satisfied with the routine work of the old school.

Nothing, therefore, was more natural than that he should turn his mind to Homoeopathy, though this was then but little known, and that he should make himself acquainted with the fundamental principles.

But his thirst for knowledge was not satisfied with these merely theoretical studies, but he desired to hear from the mouth of a colleague, already an adept in the practice of Homeopathy, the decision as to the “To be or not to be;” he therefore turned to the late Frantz Hartmann, who then was still living in Zschopau.

But since correspondence would have taken up too much time, and did not seem to answer the purpose, a meeting in Freiberg was arranged, which took place in 1824 and at. which the medical practioner Karl Friedrich Gottfried Trinks was also present.

Wolf had equipped himself with the four volumes of the Materia Medica Pura, that had then appeared, and made these the foundation of the lively conversation of the evening. The dawning morning surprised the doughty colleagues at their discussion, for there were very many questions and the answers were at that time still difficult.

Frantz Hartmann told me frequently of this happy evening; but he never failed to remark that the genial Paul Wolf beset him so closely with his questions, and so hemmed him in with objections and exceptions, that he was internally glad that the approaching day admonished them to separate.

But this conversation must have been most instructive to all parties, for to his latest years Frantz Hartmann felt thankful to these two men, that through their debate carried on with spirit and warmth they had brought to maturity an idea which for many years already had been slumbering in his mind, namely, that of writing a homeopathic therapy.

From this time Paul Wolf publicly appeared as a homeopath, and his good success not only increased the circle of his adherents and admirers, but even while a young physician he had the satisfaction to be drawn into consultation in many severe cases of diseases by his colleagues.

Despite of his laborious and extended practice, he did not omit to continue his studies of homeopathy, and it was especially the Materia Medica Pura which occupied him night and day.

Not like so many younger Homeopaths of our time, who think that they have done a sufficiency by casting some superficial and hurried glances into our Materia Medica, he on the contrary strove with industry and perseverance to become a master of the science, to which he remained faithful to his death.

At the same time his investigations were not blind, for from his youth he had accustomed himself to examine and think for himself. Several of his earlier articles demonstrate this, but especially the Eighteen Theses published by him in the year 1836 in the Archiv, which are valid even at this day and which received an honoring vote of agreement from the Central Association.

The respect and the esteem which he won from his colleagues through the Eighteen Theses, and by the manner of his demonstration of them, surely contributed to the fact that his fame also in foreign countries was continually augmented.

Princely personages and even crowned heads turned to him for advice and help, and his consulting correspondence extended probably all over Europe. Among the manifold distinctions vouchsafed to this physician who was as successful as he was excellent, we, will only mention the bestowal of the knightly order of Heinrich of Brunswick, granted him in 1836, and his appointment as Privy Counselor by the Duke of Altenburg five years later.

Thus he won honor, not for himself alone, but far more for our Homeopathy. The envy and malevolence which he, like other homeopathic physicians, had been exposed to from his allopathic colleagues were banished by these magic formulas: rank and title: and even those who envied and begrudged him could not avoid counting our dear departed friend among the first and most eminent physicians of Dresden.

The youthly vigor with which he had hitherto borne the fatigues and hardships of his office with ease and readiness, without giving himself an hour’s rest and respite, gradually diminished, but his zeal, diligence and strict conscientiousness in the practice of his vocation remained.

His body, which, on the whole, was rather weakly, had long borne these great exertions, and his health was only once disturbed by a chronic stomach trouble, which quite distressed and grieved him.

But in the course of a single year, and that his last, the stamp of age was impressed on his features, which till then had still shown vigor, and many of those who took part in the last meeting of the Central Association must have been sadly surprised by this rapid change; for though he still presided with full dignity and perseverance, those who were more intimate with him could not fail to see that his bodily strength was broken, that his voice had lost its sonorous resonance and that his mind, at other times so vivacious, followed the transactions only with some excitation.

It might be, that if he had granted himself some weeks of rest his weakened organism might have regained its strength. But is it not the fate of most physicians who are true to their vocation, that their activity only ceases on the bier?

So also he gave no thought to his ailments, and thought that even the last hour of his life ought to be devoted to his patients. In spite of th most loving urgency of his good consort, to grant himself at leas a few days’ rest and nursing, he nevertheless continued his call; to his patients to the 30th of last December (1856), in spite of the addition of gout in his foot, and to alleviate his pains he persisted in enveloping the foot in cold water compresses even while driving in his carriage.

Finally, his body, already weakened, gave way; respiratory troubles of the most violent kind, which forced him to sit up on the sofa, now appeared and threatened his life. He was conscious of his danger and pronosticated death; so he murmured to a friend of high degree, who visited him a few hours before his decease: “C’est fini, Monsieur.”

He was correct, for the most painstaking care of his son in law, Dr. Elb, who was during the last two days supported by the practitioners Karl Friedrich Gottfried Trinks, Max Gerson and Bernhard Hirschel in his laborious task, proved ineffectual.

On the 2d of January, 1857, after 10pm, our Wolf closed his eyes, nevermore to open them here. Oedema of the lungs had been superadded.

The impression made by his death on all who knew the departed was that of a violent shock; his numerous patients had lost in him their most faithful helper; his colleagues, a friend ever ready with his counsel; his wife, the pride of her home; the children, their loving, careful father: his mother, still living at the age of 86, her best beloved son.

The universal love and esteem enjoyed by the departed, both as man and as physician, was plainly manifested at his funeral on the 5th of January (1857). A long train of carriages containing members of the nobility, among them the carriages of Prince Albert of Prussia; the High Burgrave of Chotek; the French Ambassador, the Chief Burgomaster, Aldermen and Councilmen, colleagues of both the old and the new school, and finally the great number of his grateful patients and friends accompanied the earthly remains of him who had departed, all too early, to his eternal resting place.

Arrived here, the Medical Counselor Karl Friedrich Gottfried Trinks gave a brief outline of the life of the departed, and in manly enthusiasm and with the warmth of a colleague emphasized the heavy loss suffered by science and by ailing humanity through the departure of the glorified one.

A last farewell, and the coffin sank down into the gloomy tomb. The flowers and palms that followed thy dead body will wither and fade, but the palms won by thy life will continue to bloom and continue for a long, long time. Thus mayst thou slumber sweetly and enjoy eternal peace. Viet Meyer (Prager Monatsch., vol. 5, p. 32., Brit. Jour. Hom., vol. 15, p. 323., Allg. hom. Zeit., vol. 53, pp. 137, 158., World’s Conv., vol. 2, pp. 29, 35., Kleinert, Pierre Augustus Rapou, vol. 2, p. 98 to 103.)

Paul Wolf’s Obituary is in The British Journal of Homeopathy in 1857.

Paul Wolf contributed articles to homeopathic journals on both sides of the Atlantic.

Of interest:

Friedrich Wolf was listed as a homeopath in Hohenzollern in the 1850s.

Friedrich Wolf 1888 - 1953Friedrich Wolf 18881953 was a German doctor and writer.

Friedrich Wolf, born in Neuwied, Germany, rebelled against all convention as a young man, and in 1913 renounced Judaism without taking up another faith.

During the First World War he served in Flanders as a physician, but declared himself a conscientious objector and was sent to a sanatorium.

After the war, he became a communist, practiced homeopathic medicine, organized free medical service for the poor, and wrote many plays, the most famous of which, Professor Mamlock (1933), warned of impending disaster in Germany.

He fought briefly in the Spanish Civil War, then took refuge in France, and spent the Second World War in Moscow.

After the war, he settled in East Berlin, and he served for two years as East German ambassador to Poland. His son was the famous East German spymaster, Markus Wolf (generally regarded as the best spymaster in the world).

Friedrich Wolf  was born in Neuwied (Rhine Province), the son of a Jewish merchant. From 1907 until 1912 he studied medicine, philosophy and art history in Munich, Tübingen, Bonn, and Berlin and became a doctor in 1913.

In 1914 he worked first as a ship’s doctor on the route between Canada, Greenland and the United States, and then in the same year became a field doctor on the Western Front in World War I; this experience made him a strong opponent of war. In 1917 he published his first prose pieces.

In 1918 he became a member of the Workers Council in Dresden and joined the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany. After the war he worked as a doctor in Remscheid and Hechingen, where he focused on care for common people and prescribed treatment using naturopathic medicine.

In 1923 and 1925 his sons Markus und Konrad were born.

After 1928 he became a member of the Communist Party and the Group of Proletariat-Revolutionary Writers. In 1929 his drama Cyankali sparked a debate about abortion, and he was briefly arrested and charged for performing abortions.

In early 1932 he founded the Spieltrupp Südwest in Stuttgart, a communist agitprop group of lay actors that created controversial pieces about current topics.

After the Nazis came to power, Wolf emigrated with his family to Moscow.

In 1938 he made his way to Spain to work as a doctor in the International Brigades. However, he was arrested in France and interned in the concentration camp Le Vernet.

In 1941 he gained Soviet citizenship and returned to Moscow where he became a founder of the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD) .

In 1945 he returned to Germany and was active in literary and cultural political issues. From 1949 to 1951 he was the first ambassador of East Germany to Poland. On October 5, 1953, he died in his personal office in Lehnitz.

Immanuel Wolf, German High School teacher, advocate of homeopathy, Editor of Homeopathischen Monatsblatter, and Chairman of Hahnemannia, the local Society of Homeopathy in Wurtenberg, and a personal friend of Richard Haehl.

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