History of Berlin Anatomy 1883 - 1935

At a glance:


Wilhelm Waldeyer (1836-1921) takes over as director of the Institute of Anatomy, which he will chair until the age of 80 in 1917. In this era, much progress is made in microscopy (Waldeyer himself coins the terms chromosome and neuron).

Waldeyer's time is also a time of collection of skulls and skeletons from all over the world for anthropological research, an activity that is controversial from today's point of view. This aspect of the history of anatomy and its collecction is the subject of the "Charité Human Remains Projekt" funded by the DFG.


Waldeyer at the microscope


A Second Anatomical Institute is founded to focus on histology and embryology. The chair of this second Institute is Oskar Hertwig (1849-1922). In 1892, his institute moves into a building of its own, built next to the first institute (today's Oskar-Hertwig-Haus).

After Hertwig's retirement, Franz Keibel (1861-1929) follows him as director of the institute. In 1935, both institutes are formally re-united.


An additional storey is added to the main building to install "four bright, wonderful, and breezy dissecting rooms". These rooms on the top level are still the dissecting rooms today.


During the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic, Rudolf Armin Fick (1866-1939) is the director of the institute. His research focuses on the locomotor system. He retires in 1934.