November 20, 2008 / 2:15 PM / 11 years ago

Berlin university gives man degree Nazis blocked

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - An 88-year-old Berliner, who was expelled from university by the Nazis because of his Jewish ancestry just before his final examination in 1943, has just now received his diploma with a 65-year delay.

The president of Berlin’s Technical University, Kurt Kutzler, personally awarded Dimitri Stein with his Ph.D. in electrical engineering after he passed the final oral exam earlier this month — 65 years after the Nazis threw him out.

“After the war, Mr. Stein asked the Technical University whether he could re-enroll for his examination but he was turned down,” a university spokesman said in a statement, referring to Stein’s attempts in the early 1950s to finish his degree.

“In August, after hearing about this shameful incident, the faculty’s administration decided that the only way to make up for this injustice was to allow him to take the exam now.”

In front of a panel of examiners, Stein week answered probing questions — adapted to academic standards of the 1940s — about his 1943 thesis.

“Although much of his dissertation was lost during the war, some of it was preserved in an academic journal,” the university said. “Instead of basing our questions on the original manuscript, we therefore based them on this article.”

Stein survived the Holocaust in hiding with the help of his professor and in 1947 emigrated to the United States, where he worked as an engineer and academic. He was also a businessman.

Reporting by Josie Cox

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