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HAINDORF, ALEXANDER:

German physician, writer, and philanthropist; born at Lenhausen, a village in Westphalia, May 12, 1784; died at Hamm Oct. 16, 1862. The son of poor parents, he went, after their early death, to his grandparents at Hamm, where, though a mere boy, he was obliged to engage in peddling. He studied Hebrew with a Polish Talmudist, and secretly read German books; after many difficulties he finally obtained permission to attend the gymnasium at Hamm. On his graduation he studied medicine at Würzburg, Erlangen, Heidelberg, and Paris. He became privat-docent at Heidelberg, and later practised at Minden. After a few years he accepted an appointment at the Academy of Münster as professor of medicine and surgery, which he retained until that school was dissolved in 1847. Haindorf wrote: "Versuch einer Pathologie und Therapie der Geistes- und Gemüthskrankheiten," Heidelberg, 1811; "Beiträge zur Kulturgesch. der Medicin und Chirurgie Frankreichs und Vorzüglich Seiner Hauptstadt, mit einer Uebersicht Ihrer Sämmtlichen Hospitäler und Armenanstalten," Göttingen, 1815; "Versuche über Hypochondrische und Andere Nerven-Affectionen," translated from the English of John Reid, with notes and additions, Essen, 1819.

Haindorf's chief claims to recognition lie in his efforts in behalf of the spread of culture and Biblical knowledge among his coreligionists. In 1825 he founded at Münster the Verein zur Beförderung von Handwerken Unter den Juden, in connection with a seminary for teachers for the Jewish communities; the influence of this society extended within ten years over Westphalia and Rhenish Prussia, on account of the founder's reputation as a physician and philanthropist. Haindorf was for many years director of this society, and himself gave lectures in natural science. The school enjoyed so high a reputation between 1830 and 1840 that many Christian inhabitants of the city sent their children there. In 1835 the institution was placed on a firm basis by a gift of 25,000 thalers from Haindorf's father-in-law. Several hundred teachers and artisans graduated there in the course of the nineteenth century. A lover of art, Haindorf collected such works as were within his reach, and his picture-gallery included among its four hundred paintings works by the fore. most German and Dutch masters. In 1854 he went to Hamm to be near the family of his only daughter, ending his days in retirement. In conformity with his will he was buried at Münster beside his wife, who had died forty-six years previously.

Bibliography:
  • Geiger, Jüd. Zeit. ii. 1 et seq.;
  • Allg. Zeit. des Jud. xxvi. 646, 670 et seq.
S. M. K.
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