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22 July 2012

Ludwig L. Lenz (1889- 1966) surgeon.

Ludwig Levy-Lenz was raised by a wealthy family in Posen, Germany (now Poznań, Poland). In 1909 he went with his younger brother Siegbert to medical school in Heidelberg and then Munich and Breslau.

In the Great War he set up a hospital for reconstructive surgery, and also supervised a military brothel. After the war, with his parents financial support, he opened a medical practice at the Rosenthaler Platz, Berlin.

In 1926, he divorced his first wife, Denise, a dancer, and moved his practice to the Berliner Westend. He worked at Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institut für Sexualwissen-schaft 1925 – 33. He was one of first surgeons to perform genital reassignment. He also published on abortion techniques, and he wrote booklets for the general public on how to avoid venereal diseases which were distributed in public toilets. His second marriage to  Elma Wilhelm lasted until 1932, the year that he and Felix Abraham operated on Dörchen Richter. He married his third wife, Marya Goldwasser, a Jewess twenty years his junior, in 1933, which was the year that the Nazis attacked and destroyed the Institut.

Ludwig and Marya fled to Paris, where Ludwig acquired new skills as a cosmetic surgeon. There was increased tolerance in the year before the Berlin Olympic Games, and Levy-Lenz returned and opened a surgical practice on the fashionable Kurfürstendamm. However in late 1936 he had to flee again.

In 1939 he was deprived of his German citizenship. He settled in Egypt, where he was very successful, and had a villa near the Giza pyramids. One of his first patients was the great singer Umm Kukthum. He was editor of the Cairo-based Revue of Medicine. In 1944 his second wife, Elma Wilhelm, had her property confiscated. However a French translation, La femme initiée, of one of his books was allowed to be printed in Paris during the German occupation.

After the war, Ludwig also practiced in Baden-Baden as a cosmetic surgeon, but he dropped his double surname. Jeanette Schmid had surgery with Dr Lenz in Cairo in 1964.

In 1965 he returned to Berlin, and died a year later.

Adele Bailey had surgery at his Cairo clinic in 1976.

Ludwig also wrote fiction.
  • Peter Schmidt & Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Die Erfolge der Steinachbehandlung beim Menschen, Berlin: G. Ziemsen, 1921.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld & Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Sexual-Katastrophen: Bilder aus dem modernen Geschlechts- und Eheleben. Leipzig: Payne, 1926.
  • Maria Winter & Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Abtreibung oder Verhütung der Schwangerschaft? Berlin-Hessenwinkel: Verlag d. Neuen Gesellschaft, 1928.
  • Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Die aufgeklärte Frau: ein Buch für alle Frauen. Berlin: Man-Verl, 1928.
  • Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Janine: Tagebuch einer Verjüngten, Berlin: Man Verlag, 1928.
  • Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Wenn Frauen nicht gebären dürfen: Bedeutg u. Methode d. Empfängnisverhütg gemeinverst. dargest. Berlin-Hessenwinkel: Verlag d. Neuen Gesellschaft, 1928.
  • Arthur Koestler, A. Willy, Norman Haire & Ludwig Levy-Lenz. The Encyclopœdia of Sexual Knowledge. London: F. Aldor, 1934.
  • Ludwig Levy-Lenz. La femme initiée, Paris: Le Caire, R. Schindler, 1943.
  • Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Diskretes und Indiskretes: (Memoiren eines Sexualarztes). Dischingen/Wurttemberg: Wadi-Verlagsbuchhandlung, 317 pp 1951. English translation as Discretion and indiscretion: memoirs of a sexologist. New York: Cadillac Pub. Co., 512 pp 1951.
  • Ludwig Levy-Lenz. Praxis der kosmetischen Chirurgie. Fortschritte u. Gefahren, 1954.
  • “Ludwig levy-Lenz, M.D.” Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (1919-1933).
  • “Ludwig Levy-Lenz (1889-1966)”. Archive for Sexology.
  • Yasmene Jabar. “Dr. Ludwig Levy Lenz”. The International Transsexual Sisterhood. No Longer Available.

I was unable to find anything on Marya Goldwasser after 1933.  Surely she did not return to Berlin with Levy-Lenz in 1935.  Did she go to Cairo with him?

The dates of Lenz’ birth and death vary.   The Institut für Sexualwissenschaft site says 1889-1976.  The Archive for Sexology says 1889-1966.   de.Wikipedia says 1892-1966. !!

I would like to know more about Levy-Lenz’ Clinique de Berlin.  It would seem to still be operating in 1976 when Adele Bailey went to Cairo for surgery.  However when Sally Mursi, a native of Cairo, needed surgery in 1988, it apparently was no longer there.


  1. She did return to Germany with him and she lived with him during his entire stay in Cairo.

  2. Anonymous20/6/24 21:30

    She lived with him during his entire stay in Cairo. They returned to Germany together. She remained in Germany after his death and she died in Germany in 1985.


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