Headache? Toothache? Other Pains?

If you suffer from a headache, a toothache, or seeking relief from any other pains, the chances are that you will reach for the bottle of aspirin. It is the most commonly used drug in the entire world. More than one million aspirin pills are made daily.

But to decrease your pain and to increase your joy, let me tell you that aspirin was invented by a German Jew named Arthur Eichengrun in 1896.  Eichengrun was born in Aachen in 1867, son of a Jewish cloth manufacturer.

In 1885 he began to study chemistry, first at the university of Aachen, then in Berlin and finally at the University of Erlangen where, at the age of 23, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Chemistry in 1890.

In 1896 he joined the firm of Bayer pharmaceuticals and worked in their laboratory until 1908 when he opened up his own pharmaceutical company in Berlin.

His factory was confiscated by the Nazis in 1938 and was “Aryanized”.

In 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo and was charged with the “crime” of failing to include the name “Israel” in a letter he sent to the I.G. Farben company.   Under the Nazi regime all Jewish males had to include the word “Israel” in all their documents. Jewish women were required to add the name “Sarah” to all of theirs.

For his failure to insert “Israel” into his name he was sentenced to four months in prison but in 1943 he was re-arrested for the same “crime” and was sent to the Theresienstadt  concentration camp.

Eichengrun survived the war and returned to Berlin. He was never married nor had any children and he died in 1949 at the age of 82.

Arthur Eichengrun held 47 patents on his discoveries. But the one which made him world famous was the wonder-drug which he called “Aspirin”. It was listed in the German Encyclopedia of 1934 and full credit for its invention was  given to Dr. Eichengrun.

However, after the rise of Nazism in Germany, his patented claim as the inventor of aspirin was removed and the credit was given to an Aryan chemist, Felix Hoffman, who worked with Eichengrun in Bayer in 1897.

In 1999, Walter Sneader of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, came across original patented information which confirmed the truth that Arthur Eichengrun was the original discoverer of aspirin.

The Bayer company disputed his findings and continues to this day to give credit for the discovery of aspirin to the non-Jew, Felix Hoffman.

Hoffman died in Switzerland in February 1946.

Medical science hails aspirin as a wonder drug. In addition to relieving pains it is effective in preventing blood clots in the event of a heart attack. Doctors recommend at the first sign of a possible heart attack ,one should immediately crush or chew an aspirin tablet. It can save life.

So the next time that you reach for a bottle of aspirin, remember the name of Arthur Eichengrun and be proud of his accomplishments and achievements.

Headache, anyone? Toothache anyone? Muscular aches? Back aches? Relax. Just take an aspirin !

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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