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Egyptian German Evening on the Life of Dr. Max Meyerhof

© DAAD Cairo

How a German Eye Doctor became an Egyptian Translator – this was the title of an interdisciplinary evening revealing the extraordinary life of Dr. Max Meyerhof.

The evening was led by three researchers who all happened to encounter the extraordinary story of Dr. Max Meyerhof’s life from a different perspective.

The first talk was held by Isolde Lehnert from the German Archeological Institute. She uncovered the biography of Dr. Max from a historical perspective. Dr. Max was an eye doctor born in Hildesheim, Germany. He visited Egypt for the first time in the year 1900. His experiences in Egypt, the country of the blind as it was called in those days, had such a big impact on the German eye doctor that he decided to come back to Egypt in 1903. He opened a clinic in which he treated poor patients free of charge and started to learn Arabic as well as the Egyptian dialect.

With the command of the Arabic language, Dr. Max started to discover the treasure of scientific medical papers on eye diseases that were published in Egypt, after which he translated the most important research documents into German. It was these translations that Prof. Nahla Tawfik, the second speaker of the evening, discovered during her research on German-Egyptian translations. It was soon that Prof. Nahla realized that not only had the eye doctor done an excellent job as a translator, but he had also become one of the most influencing scientific mediators, who built bridges between Egyptian and German research in the medical field.

Prof. Hamed Ead from Cairo University, the third speaker, discovered the fascinating life of Dr. Max while studying the history of important researchers at Cairo University. Why did the life of Dr. Max have such a great influence on Egypt and the German-Egyptian relations? Prof. Hamed Ead believes it was all about the extraordinary personality of this well-rounded scientist. In 1933, Dr. Max became an Egyptian citizen. By then, not only was he completely integrated in the scientific research scene in Egypt, enjoying a prestigious status as an excellent physician and scholar who contributed greatly to the history of medicine and pharmacy among the Arabs, but also Dr. Max had deeply integrated in the Egyptian society, becoming well acquainted and connected with prominent Egyptian figures in the fields of science, politics and society.

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