Oskar Minkowski

Oskar Minkowski ( born January 13, 1858 in Alexoten in Kaunas / Lithuania, † June 18, 1931 in Fürstenberg an der Havel ) was an eminent physician, brother of the mathematician Hermann Minkowski and father of astrophysicist Rudolph Minkowski.

Among its outstanding Minkowski's discovery of the importance of the pancreas ( pancreatic ) for carbohydrate metabolism, which raises fundamental advances in the therapy of diabetes mellitus have been made possible, and the discovery of the enlargement of the pituitary gland as a cause of acromegaly heard.


Minkowski was the eldest son of a Jewish merchant family from Lithuania. His father was the grain merchant Levin Minkowski, his mother was Rachel Taub man. 1872 the family emigrated because of anti-Jewish measures in tsarist Russia into Prussian Königsberg.

Minkowski attended high school Kaunas, then the old-urban school in Königsberg, and then studied law in Freiburg and at the Königsberg Albertina human medicine. At 18, he joined the fraternity Germania Königsberg, where he remained until his death.

As early as 1884 he discovered as an assistant to Bernhard Naunyn in critically ill diabetic patients a greatly increased concentration of β - oxybutyric. In 1888 he followed his mentor Naunyn at the University of Strasbourg, where he worked until 1904. There he found together with Josef von Mering in animal experiments that the removal of the pancreas follows the training of diabetes mellitus. Further experiments led to the finding that the pancreas had to produce a previously unknown substance that regulates carbohydrate metabolism. He thus confirmed the previously advocated by the French physician Étienne Lancereaux views on the importance of the pancreas in diabetes.

In 1894 he married in Strasbourg Marie Johanna Siegel; from the marriage were born a son and a daughter.

1900 Oskar Minkowski went to the newly founded Augusta Hospital in Cologne. In 1905 he came to the University of Greifswald. There he took over as the successor of Friedrich Moritz his first Chair of Medicine. Here he dealt primarily with the study of the liver, gout and also again with the diabetes. In 1909 he joined the University of Breslau, where he became one of the leading internists in Germany. During World War II he worked as a consulting internist and as a poison gas expert. At times he was chairman of the German Society for Internal Medicine ( DGIM ). Among his students in Wroclaw belonged among others from 1920, the physician Alfred Lublin, who to Gerhardt Katsch changed in 1929 to the University of Greifswald, and in 1939 emigrated to Bolivia. In 1923, the first German Minkowski insulin Committee. This checked the first produced in Germany preparations, such as the come on the market in late 1923 "Insulin Hoechst ".

In 1926 he sat in Wiesbaden to rest. However, he sought the direct connection to the scientific life and was planning his move to Berlin. When the procession was under way, his strength left him. During a spa stay, he died in 1931 at the age of 73 years in Castle Sanatorium Furstenberg from the effects of pneumonia. It is located on the side of his brother Hermann buried in an honorary grave in the cemetery of Berlin highway. His family emigrated to the rise of the Nazis to Argentina and the United States.