Victoria Lilly Pfleger-Schwarz, Doz. Dr.

1909 – 1992
born in Graz, Austria died in Wien, Austria


Ehrung Titel Datierung Fakultät
Gate of Remembrance Pfleger-Ehrmann-Tor 1998/99

Viktoria Lilly Pfleger(-Schwarz), née Victoria Rosalia Lili Schwarz, was born in Graz on September 1, 1909 as the daughter of lawyer Dr. Hermann Schwarz (1867-1938) and Maria Theresia Schwarz, née Grumbeck (1887-1945). She graduated from the Catholic private girls' lyceum at the boarding school in Ort near Gmunden, passed the Lycealmatura on July 8, 1926 and the Realgymnasium-Matura (school leaving examination) as an external student at the Bundesrealgymnasium in Gmunden on October 16, 1927. She then studied medicine at the University of Vienna from the winter semester of 1927/28 to the winter semester of 1932/33 and received her doctorate on April 12, 1935.

She then worked from May 1935 to the end of 1937 as a junior doctor, intern and later trainee at the IIII Medical Department of the General Hospital (AKH) of the City of Vienna. On January 1, 1938, she began working as a research assistant ("assistant doctor with a scholarship") at the First University Clinic for Skin and Venereal Diseases (Head: Prof. Leopold Arzt). As she was considered a "first-degree half-breed" under National Socialism, she was dismissed at the end of November 1938 after the Anschluss for racist reasons at the instigation of the Nazi Lecturers' Association and was no longer able to work as a doctor during the reign of the Nazi regime.

Until 1942, she worked in various non-medical professions - as a shoe saleswoman, as an office worker in a property management company and as an unskilled worker in a chemical factory - and then from 1942-1945 as a laboratory assistant in the Dr. Goedel medical-chemical laboratory in Vienna 7, where she was only able to work without official employment.

She lived in Vienna, initially in Vienna 1, Tegethoffstraße 1, from 1939 in Vienna 8, Lammgasse 5/21, then Vienna 1, Morzinplatz 6/7 and finally in Vienna 19, Vegagasse 19 with her future husband, the internist Hans Maria Pfleger (born 3.5.1903), whom she married on June 25, 1945 in Klosterneuburg. They lived together from 1951 in Vienna 9, Schwarzspanierstraße 15/I/7.

After the end of Nazi rule on July 1, 1945, she returned to the First University Dermatology Clinic (again headed by Prof. Leopold Arzt), where she was employed as an assistant doctor until the end of the year. From 1946 to 1955, she was extended every two years as a non-permanent university assistant. She was also a member of the Society of Physicians in Vienna from 1948. Among other things, she worked at the clinic's radium ward. During this time, she managed the dermatology and venereology men's and women's wards and was in charge of the general outpatient clinic, the X-ray and radium ward of the first dermatology university clinic, initially on a deputy basis but increasingly independently.

She was an assistant lecturer to Prof. Arzt for over 7 years and taught his viva voce courses for many years.
While her male colleagues habilitated during this time, she could not be employed after ten years of extension without habilitation. However, she was seamlessly employed at the clinic as an unsalaried guest doctor from 1956, or from March 1959 as a "non-systematized contract employee" at the clinic under private law to take over the management of the clinic's radium ward from Prof. Leopold Tappeiner, from whose income her salary was also financed. In addition to her routine work at the clinic, she now also prepared the scientific meetings and demonstrations, as well as advanced training courses. In her specialty, dermatohistology, she held courses for the clinic's doctors as well as for visiting doctors and students from Germany and abroad. From 1950, she also taught at the Rudolfinerinnen and Burgenland Sisters' Schools and was officially appointed as a lecturer and examiner for the subject of skin and venereal diseases by the Office of the Vienna Provincial Government and the Office of the Burgenland Provincial Government from 1962.
She was licensed as a dermatologist by the Vienna Medical Association in 1956.

It was not until 1959 that the 7-year ban on working as a doctor was retroactively recognized as a "period of disability" under employment law. From 1961, the clinic management attempted to convert her employment under private law into the pragmatized employment of a scientific civil servant, as she was

"She is an indispensable scientific employee for the clinic. In recent years, she has worked with the Department of Medicine II (Prof. Fellinger) on special problems of the lymphatic vessels, in particular their fine tissue structure, and has published several papers on the subject. She is also an extremely valuable help to me in teaching doctors, as well as in many other, particularly scientific, areas of the subject; in addition, she is responsible for the medical management and supervision of the radium station attached to the clinic on my behalf." (Prof.  Josef Tappeiner 1961)

This was finally successful two years later and on September 17, 1963, she was appointed by the Federal Ministry of Education as a "provisional senior assistant" in the scientific staff of the University of Vienna. She repeatedly gave lectures and demonstrations in specialist societies as well as at national and international congresses and presented an extensive illustrated report on her lymph vessel studies at the International Congress in Washington.

In 1965, at the age of 56 and after submitting over 35 scientific papers, she completed her habilitation as a private lecturer in dermatology and venereology in June with the paper "Histology and histopathology of cutaneous lymphatic vessels of the lower extremities". She was thus one of the first women to habilitate in dermatovenerology. She headed the radium ward of the dermatology clinic until it was closed at the end of 1971.

In 1966, she was awarded the Golden Medal of Honor of the Republic for her achievements and continued to work as a doctor and scientist until she retired in September 1974.
Her name is immortalized in dermatopathological literature with the name of Josef Tappeiner. Her scientific work mainly concerned histopathological topics. (The so-called angioendotheliomatosis proliferans systemisata Pfleger-Tappeiner bears both their names).

At the University of Vienna, she was honored in 1998 by the naming of one of the "Gates of Remembrance" on the campus of the University of Vienna together with Gertraut Ehrmann-Binder (Pfleger-Ehrmann-Tor, passageway from Courtyard 2 to Courtyard 4) and was included in the 1938 Memorial Book for the Victims of National Socialism at the University of Vienna.

She died in Vienna in 1992.


Archive of the University of Vienna/enrollment forms ("Nationale") MED 1927-1935, graduation registry ("Promotionsprotokoll") MED 1929-1941 No 2569, Rectorate GZ 680-I ex 1937/38, Austrian State Archives OeStA/AdR/Unterricht/Personalakt; rom.-cath. Diocese Graz-Seckau, Probsteipfarre zum Hl. Blut in Graz, Taufbuch XXXVII 1903-1912, fol. 304.

Herbert Posch

Zuletzt aktualisiert am 02/25/24