The Louis Calder Memorial Library hosted the 12th Biennial Ralph H. and Ruth F. Gross Lecture on November 21, 2013. Featured speaker Bernd A. Wollschlaeger, M.D, a German-born Jewish physician, delivered his deeply personal perspective on the anatomy of hate. The son of a German tank commander who received the Iron Cross from Adolph Hitler personally, Dr. Wollschlaeger described his journey of emotional and spiritual struggle with the Nazi legacy of hate and the shadow it cast over his family and all of Germany. His desire to live a more meaningful life led to him converting to Judaism, immigrating to Israel, and serving in the Israel Defense Forces as a Medical Officer. He eventually moved to the United States to complete his medical training. Now practicing in Aventura, he is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Miami and Past President of the Dade County Medical Association and the Florida Society of Addiction Medicine. In 2012, Dr. Wollschlaeger was honored as the Family Doctor of the Year by the Florida Academy of Family Physicians.
“For me, hatred against other people has a very personal meaning,” said Dr. Wollschlaeger, speaking about the origins of hate and how we overcome it. “But I have learned that we all think in stereotypes, because our ancestors long ago had to put people in categories quickly in order to avoid danger. Today, that type of thinking can lead to hatred against Jews or Muslims, blacks or whites. As physicians, we have a moral responsibility to make a conscious effort to overcome our personal biases and treat everyone in an equal manner.”
Dr. Mary Moore, Librarian Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Informatics, welcomed the more than 150 attendees and thanked the Gross family members for their support. Patricia Bergman, one of the daughters of Ralph H. and Ruth F. Gross, recommended Dr. Wollschlaeger as this year’s speaker. She attended the event with her sister, Carol Clarkson. The Ralph H. and Ruth F. Gross endowment, made to the Calder Library by Mrs. Gross in memory of her husband, sponsors the event, which was hosted by the Department of Health Informatics, the Medical Faculty Council, Calder Library, and the Miller School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.
For additional information, see Gross Lecture Features German-Born Jewish Physician Delivering Personal Perspective on the Anatomy of Hate, University of Miami News, November 26, 2013. (Link: http://med.miami.edu/news/gross-lecture-features-german-born-jewish-physician-delivering-personal-per)
Also, if you would like to view the entire presentation on video, please visit: http://calder.med.miami.edu/pages/gross_lecture2013.html.