Karl Fellinger, Prof. Dr.

19.6.1904 – 8.11.2000
born in Linz, Austria died in Wien, Austria


Ehrung Titel Datierung Fakultät
Honorary Senator sen.h.c. 1973/74


Dean Faculty of Medicine 1950/51
Rector 1964/65
Senator Faculty of Medicine 1970/71
Senator Faculty of Medicine 1971/72
Senator Faculty of Medicine 1972/73
Senator Faculty of Medicine 1973/74
Senator Faculty of Medicine 1974/75

Fellinger attended the academic secondary school in Linz and then studied medicine at the University of Vienna under Julius Wagner-Jauregg, Anton Freiherr von Eiselsberg and Julius Tandler. From September 1929 until July 1931 he worked as an intern and assistant doctor at the pathological-anatomical institute under Rudolf Maresch. Following this, he joined the 2nd medical university clinic under Nikolaus Jagic, where he worked as an assistant doctor until March 1937 and then as an assistant. In March 1937 he habilitated for internal medicine with a paper on hormone research. Subsequently, he became chief physician at the 1st medical department and the metabolic department of the Lainz hospital.

Immediately after the National Socialists came into power in Austria, on April 22nd, 1938, they revoked Fellinger’s venia legendi. In February of the following year he also lost his position as chief physician at the Lainz hospital on the basis of §4 of the career civil servant act and from that point on received three quarters of his last gross monthly salary. The exact reasons for this measure do not become clear in the sources or the secondary literature. The aforementioned article was used for “civil servants, who, in light of their former political conduct, can not be guaranteed to wholeheartedly advocate the National Socialist state at all times”. Unfortunately, no precise conclusions can be drawn from this. After his dismissal, he still worked as a doctor for internal medicine and was drafted into the Wehrmacht in April 1940. A note in the Reich doctors’ registry mentions “still practicing as of 28. 4. 1943”, which presumably means he was able to continue working in his doctor’s office from that point onwards.

After the war, in April 1945, Fellinger took over the medical department of the city clinic as director and chairman, a function he held until June 1946. Aside from this he also acted as substitute head of the medical university hospital in Graz in the first semester after the war (summer semester 1945), and was made associate professor in November 1945. One year later he became a full professor for special pathology and therapy of inner diseases as well as the chairman of the 1st medical university clinic in Vienna. Thanks to him, the clinic was modernized and received a dialysis center as well as a computer station. In 1952, his clinic also was in possession of the world’s most modern electron microscope. In the academic year 1950/51 he acted as dean and 1964/65 as rector - and therefore also during the University of Vienna’s 600-year anniversary in 1965. From 1970 until 1975 he was senator of the medical faculty in the academic senate.

Among Fellinger’s most famous works are “Die Fettleibigkeit” (1939), “Klinische Fortschritte” (1950) and the “Lehrbuch der inneren Medizin” (2 volumes, 1952). He also gained recognition outside the scientific community with the television series “Der gläserne Mensch”. Fellinger published several generally intelligible articles in various print media. Some of his most famous patients were Shah Reza Pahlewi and King ibn Saud, from whom Fellinger’s nickname “Doctor of Kings” resulted. Not least, Fellinger, who is seen as the father of the “Neue Wiener Medizinische Schule” (new Viennese medical tradition), was substantially responsible for Vienna’s return to the “great medical tradition” and with it to international renown. Aside from holding many functions in the health care system, he also had a great impact on the plans for the construction of the new general hospital.

Fellinger received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Athens, Budapest, Innsbruck, Saloniki and Teheran as well as the Ring of Honor of the city of Vienna. In May 1985 he also became citizen and in May 1997 honorary citizen of the Federal capital. Further evidence of his scientific importance is the Fellinger cancer research association as well as the Karl-Fellinger-Park in Vienna’s 19th district. He was the president of the Rudolfiner-house in Vienna, and from 1947 until 1992 the president of the Oberster Sanitätsrat (Supreme Medical Council). He was named honorary senator by the University of Innsbruck (1967) as well as by the University of Vienna (January 24th, 1974). Fellinger was bearer of the Grand Decoration of Honor of the Republic of Austria in Silver (1959), the German Grand Cross with Star, the Commendatore-St.-George-medal of the Vatican as well as other high-ranking medals from abroad, such as the Mahaputra medal, which he received from the Indonesian president Sukarno.

> Nachruf in der Wiener Zeitung: "'Internisten-Papst' Karl Fellinger tot"
​> aeiou.at

Archiv der Universität Wien, Medizinische Fakultät, Personalakt 114. |
Bundesarchiv Berlin, Reichsärzteregister. |
Österreichisches Staatsarchiv/Archiv der Republik, Bundeskanzleramt, Bestand „Berufsbeamtenverordnung“ (BBV). |
Gesetzblatt für das Land Österreich, ausgegeben am 4. Juni 1938, 56. Stück.

Andreas Huber

Zuletzt aktualisiert am 09/02/21