Albert Salomon

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 20 Jan 2024

Albert Salomon (1883-1976), a German surgeon, was the first physician to study x-rays of breast tissue.

Development of mammography

Salomon worked at the Royal Surgical University Clinic in Berlin and from about 1913 x-rayed 3000 breast specimens obtained from the morgue in an attempt to identify breast pathology. He demonstrated tumor spread to axillary lymph nodes by using x-rays and was also the first person to associate microcalcifications with breast cancer

Salomon published Beitrage zur pathologie und klinik der mammakarzinome (Contributions to the pathology and clinic of breast cancers) in 1913 1 describing that “Roentgen photographs of excised breast specimens give a demonstrable overview of the form and spread of cancerous tumors”. Salomon postulated on his findings that there were different types of breast cancer. After 1913, there was no new mammography literature published until Kleinschmidt wrote his article in 1927 2.

Later life

Salomon worked as a physician with German forces in World War One. He married his first wife Franziska Grunwald, a nursing sister and they had one child. Grunwald committed suicide in the winter of 1925. Salomon lost his appointment at the university hospital in 1933 after the Nazis came to power in Germany and Hitler was named German chancellor in January 1933. After 1933 Salomon worked at the Jewish hospital in Berlin.

Salomon was interned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1938 after Kristallnacht on 9 and 10 November 1938. After his release, the family left Germany.

Salomon was the father of the artist Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943) who became a victim of the Holocaust. After the family left Germany she was sent to stay with her grandparents in the south of France. Salomon and his second wife Paula (well-known opera singer Paula Lindberg) moved to Amsterdam. In May 1940 Charlotte and her grandfather were sent to the concentration camp at Gurs by the Vichy government. She died in Auschwitz aged 26. Charlotte’s work survived the war and she has posthumously become a renowned artist.

Albert and Paula Salomon lived out the war by hiding in the Netherlands. After the war, Salomon resumed working as a physician in Amsterdam.

A collection of writings is entitled 'Vortage und Artikel' (lectures and articles) 1950-1967, in which Salomon writes about a wide range of subjects, including religion and philosophy.

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