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Biographical entry Stein, Gerard Erwin (1916 - 1986)

MRCS 1940; FRCS 1946; MA MB BCh Cambridge 1940; LRCP 1940.

25 February 1916
Kanth, Silesia, Germany
2 September 1986
ENT surgeon


Gerard Erwin Stein was born in Kanth, Silesia, Germany, on 25 February 1916, the son of Adolf Stein, a clothing manufacturer and retailer, and his wife Frieda, née Masur. He was educated at a local primary school and later at a grammar school in Breslau up to the age of 18. His parents, devout Jews, who were already being persecuted, then managed to send him to England for medical studies at Downing College, Cambridge, and later at the Westminster Hospital, where he came under the influence of Sir Adolph Abrahams. He qualified in 1940 but never saw his parents again as they remained in Germany and were deported to a concentration camp in Poland in 1940 where they perished in the holocaust. His two sisters and their husbands escaped just before the outbreak of war.

After early house appointments he was appointed surgical registrar to Shattock at Three Counties Emergency Hospital at Arlesey. The Royal Free Hospital had been evacuated to Arlesey and his work included general surgery, ENT surgery and care of wounded German prisoners of war. During this time he developed a special interest in otology while working under Sir John McLaggan and after passing the FRCS in 1946, joined the Army as a specialist otologist with the rank of Major, serving in Aldershot, Singapore and Malaysia.

Shortly after demobilisation in 1949 he was appointed consultant surgeon to the ear, nose and throat departments of Teddington Memorial Hospital, Whittington Hospital, Hornsey Hospital and the Royal Northern Hospital. Later he became honorary otorhinolaryngologist at the Italian Hospital. In addition to all his professional commitments he was also a prominent Freemason serving as secretary of the Pilgrim Lodge for 18 years. He was a keen armchair fan of football, cricket, athletics and boxing, and enjoyed walking and travelling, particularly on the continent of Europe. His other interest was music. He was a good pianist, passionately fond of opera and frequently attended Covent Garden. Many of the singers there were his patients and he served as honorary consultant there during his retirement. He retired from the Health Service in 1979 and from all practice in 1984.

On 22 February 1948 he married Lore Rachwalsky whom he had met at the Three Counties Hospital. At that time she was a medical student at the Royal Free Hospital but qualified shortly before her marriage and became a general practitioner. He died on 2 September 1986 aged 70, survived by his wife and their children: a daughter, who is a social worker, one son in the City and another son who is a qualified accountant running a health food shop.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from his widow, Dr E L Stein].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England