Dr. Salomon Klein (seated) with his operating team
Dr. Salomon Klein was a pioneer in the field of opthalmology, a distinguished eye-surgeon, and a professor of medicine. In his time, he was regarded as "the elder statesman of opthalmology.... a master of the classical Viennese school of medicine, who strove always to uphold and further its traditions as teacher and practitioner." A modern medical historian described him as "one of the most famous oculists of the Viennese medical school."
Salamon Klein was born in Miskolc on August 12, 1845, the son of Samuel Klein (born Miskolc ca. 1810) and Cili Friedman (born Poland, ca. 1822). According to the 1848 Hungarian Jewish Census, his siblings included sisters Eszter (born Miskolc, ca. 1836) and Mari (born Miskolc, ca. 1840). He studied medicine in Vienna, receiving his medical degree in 1870 and advanced degrees in surgery and obstetrics two years later. After settling upon opthalmology as his specialty, he became the leading opthalmologist of Vienna’s General Polyclinic, the Jewish community’s Rothschild Hospital, and the Jewish School for the Blind.
Described as a "successful" and "masterful" surgeon, Klein continued to operate until an advanced age. It was said to be "marvelous to observe the sureness with which he guided the scalpel at the age of 80." As a physician, "he advocated general use of the ophthalmoscope with rectified image with particular zeal.... His ophthalmoscope studies of the mentally ill, his studies of eye disorders among sufferers of syphillis, as well as his studies of the relationship between ophthalmology and balneotherapy [use of bathing as a medical treatment] deserve particular mention." He was said to have played a "leading role among Austrian balneologists."
A Professor of Opthalmology at the University of Vienna, Klein was considered "an excellent teacher." He was a prolific author of medical works, whose textbooks on opthalmology were regarded as classics in the field and were widely adopted. Among the titles of his works were: Ophthalmology Plan for Practicing Doctors and Students and Textbook of Ophthalmology for Practicing Doctors and Students.
Klein was married to Lina Adler, with whom he had seven children: Anna Ehrenstein (born 1876), Michael (1877-1918), Leopold Bernhard (1879-1929), Heinrich Victor (born 1881), Emil Adalbert (born 1882), Maria Josephina (Jenny) Molnar (born 1880), and Caecilie Margarethe Blumberg (1886-1934). Salomon Klein died in Budapest on April 12, 1937, in his 92nd year.
Credits: Text and page design copyrighted © by Helene Kenvin. Photograph copyrighted © 2008 by Irene Newhouse. Meissner obituary translation and information about his descendants courtesy Irene Newhouse, to whom we are grateful for bringing Dr. Klein to our attention. Page designed by Helene Kenvin. All rights reserved.