The history of nursing care is as old as human life itself, yet in Germany nursing science has existed as an academic course of study only since the 1990’s. Related to this development, there is growing interest in understanding and documenting the history of nursing.
But how did the idea of researching Jewish nursing in Frankfurt am Main come about?
In her book “…den Kranken zum Troste and dem Judenthum zur Ehre” (for the comfort of the sick and for the honour of Judaism) the nursing scientist Prof. Dr. Hilde Steppe (1947 – 1999) documented for the first time the history of Jewish nursing in Germany. In national and international circles, this work is still seen as the seminal text on Jewish nursing history. In 1995 Hilde Steppe donated her collection on nursing history to the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt am Main. The Documentation Centre for Nursing History was created; after Hilde Steppe’s death in 1997, the term “Hilde-Steppe-Archive” was added to the name of the Centre. It seemed a logical and obvious consequence to find ways to continue Hilde Steppe’s work; the project “Jewish Nursing History – Biographies and Institutions in Frankfurt am Main” was conceived as a research focus at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences; in addition, the idea of combining this with the medium of internet evolved.