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ZONDEK , family of physicians. max zondek (1868–1933), physician born in Wronke in the province of Posen who specialized in surgery and the study of renal diseases. In 1913 he was appointed titular professor of surgery in Berlin. He was the author of numerous publications on surgical subjects, among them Die Topographie der Niere und ihre Bedeutung fuer die Nieren-Chirurgie (1903); Zur Chirurgie der Ureteren (1905); and Die chirurgischen Erkrankungen der Nieren und Harnleiter (1924). His nephew, hermann zondek (1887–1979), endocrinologist, was also born in Wronke. He served as assistant at the Charité Hospital in Berlin and later became associate professor at the Friedrich Wilhelm University of Berlin and director of the municipal hospital. He left Germany in 1933, spent a year in England, and then settled in Jerusalem, where he took charge of the internal medical division of Bikkur Ḥolim hospital and subsequently became professor of endocrinology at the Hebrew University.

Hermann was a pioneer in the study of the thyroid gland and disturbances arising from its dysfunction. He was the first to record the cardiac symptoms occurring as the result of thyroid insufficiency. He showed that administration of iodine normalizes the raised metabolism in hyperthyroidism and demonstrated that both thyroid hyper – and hypofunction may be of primary pituitary origin. He made studies on hormonal activity in general and evolved the theory that an endocrine disease may be a result of an abnormal reactivity of the peripheral tissues as well as of a primary endocrine malfunction (peripheral theory). He was the first to point out the inverse relationship between urinary nitrogen and sodium chloride excretion in certain renal disturbances. Zondek made several studies of the pituitary diencephalic system and its relation to certain ocular disturbances. He wrote books and articles on various aspects of endocrinology. His memoirs, Auf festern Fusse, appeared in 1982.

His brother, bernhard zondek (1891–1966), endocrinologist and gynecologist, was also born in Wronke. He was an assistant in the Charité Hospital in the department of obstetrics and gynecology. He became associate professor at Berlin University and later head of the obstetrical and gynecological department of the municipal hospital in Berlin. When Hitler rose to power, he left Germany for Palestine where he became professor of gynecology and obstetrics and head of the hormone research laboratory at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Bernhard is best known for the pregnancy test which he developed together with Selmar Aschheim in 1927. They demonstrated that the excretion of gonadotropin in the urine is a constant early symptom of pregnancy. His later investigations dealt with methods of preparing estrogenic and gonadotropic hormones, the effect of estrogen in castrates, the induction of uterine bleeding with progesterone, estrogenic substances in the Dead Sea, and hormonal treatments of various diseases. Zondek's contributions significantly advanced the knowledge of hormonal therapy. He was the author of many scientific publications and recipient of many honors. He was awarded the Israel Prize in 1958.

A third brother, samuel georg zondek (1894–1970), physician, was best known for his studies on electrolytes and therapy of heart diseases. He developed a theory concerning the relationship between the autonomous nervous system and the electrolytes. He called attention to the importance of potassium for the growth of cells and studied the causes of extra-renal uremia. Samuel Georg was born in Wronke, and in 1926 became associate professor at Berlin University. He left Germany with the rise of Hitler and became chief of the division of internal medicine at Hadassah Hospital, Tel Aviv. He was the author of numerous medical publications.


S.R. Kagan, Jews in Medicine (1952), 279–80, 282–4, 341, 450.

[Suessmann Muntner]