Elisabeth Goldschmidt worked on the cutting edge of genetics, doing research and offering counseling on inherited diseases in the Jewish community. Goldschmidt fled Germany for London in 1933, where she studied zoology. She made Aliyah to Israel in 1936, where she earned a PhD in zoology from Hebrew University in 1942 and began teaching there. In 1950 she spent a year working in genetics labs at Columbia University and UC Berkeley before creating a genetics program at Hebrew University. Over the next few years she traveled to labs in Zurich, Copenhagen, and Milan to learn cutting-edge techniques which she incorporated into her classes and into genetic counseling services at Hadassah Hospital. She also did extensive research into fruit flies (helpful for mapping DNA because of their simple chromosomes and limited variables). She viewed the mass immigration of Jewish populations as an opportunity to research Tay-Sachs and hereditary hemolytic diseases. In 1955 she became the founding president of the Genetics Circle, precursor to the Genetics Society of Israel, and in 1963 successfully campaigned to move the 11th International Congress of Genetics from Germany to The Hague in protest of the Nazi legacy of eugenics.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Elisabeth Goldschmidt." (Viewed on December 14, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/goldschmidt-elisabeth>.