Life and Work

Descent and Youth

Family, schooling

Max Ludwig Mohr was born on October 17th, 1891 in Würzburg. He was the third child of the Jewish malt producer Leon Mohr (1855-1910). The Mohr family lived in a house in Rottendorferstr. 1 in Würzburg which does not exist anymore, because it was completely destroyed in a bomber attack on March 16th, 1945. Mohr received a humanist education at the Königlich Neues Gymnasium. His strengths lay in the subjects of Mathematics/Physics and German but he was also an excellent gymnast. In French and History, though, his achievements stayed at an average level.

Looking for freedom

Early already, Mohr developed a liking for the Alps and went on numerous mountain tours, one of these (1909) without notifying his parents. This led to a missing person’s report by his father. Among other things Mohr looked for the possibility to gain borderline experiences in the mountains.

He conserved his love for the Alps during all his life, as well as the inclination for life as a “tramp” witout family obligations and the striving for freedom in order to develop his personality.

Mohr as a child (around 1899)
Mohr as a child (around 1899)

Music

According to the assessment of teachers, Mohr was a good violist. He still played during his Munich years. Later he had to restrain playing due to a stiffening of his left forefinger. The reason for this is not completely clear. The most probable explication is that he hurt his finger during one of his climbing tours.

High school graduation, death of Mohr’s father

Mohr passed his final high school exam (Abitur) in 1910. In the same year his father died at the age of only 55. Since Irma Mohr, Mohr’s elder sister, had died in 1889 already and his sister Hedwig lived in Augsburg with her husband, Mohr temporarily became the only person of reference in Würzburg for his mother.

Beginning of studies, military service as a “one-year volunteer”

ohr took up studies of medicine at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg, in the winter term of 1910/11. He attended the course “Doctrine of bones, ligaments and muscles” by Prof. Dr. Johannes Sobotta (1869-1945). Almost simultaneously Mohr volunteered for military service as a “one year volunteer”. (This was a special form of military service for holders of certain higher school certificates permitting a shortening of the obligation to serve and giving the possibility to become an officer afterwards.) He entered the 1st Battery of the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment “Horn” and finished his service as a “supplementary sanitary private” which shows that his tasks had their focus in the medical field.

Mohr as a high school student
Mohr as a high school student


Studies in Munich, journey to the Orient

Mohr continued his studies of medicine in the summer term of 1911 at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. During the first term he lived in subtenancy in the Theresienhöhe, later on in Ainmillerstraße. He pursued his studies without disturbances and only interrupted them for a vacation term which he passed in the Near East, especially in Beirut, but also in Egypt. During this journey Mohr had a love affair with a Russian Jew in Damascus as he reported many years later. A trip to Persia which he told about probably did not take place in reality.

Contents of study

Mohr was a rather hardworking student and took 30 weekly hours of classes per term (with the exception of the summer term of 1913). The following excerpt may give an idea of the contents of his studies:

In Syria
In Syria

Summer term 1911

  • Anatomy of the living and its application in the visual arts
  • Introductory course in experimental psychology

Winter term 1911

  • Experimental physics II
  • Exercises in literary criticism
  • Logics, epistemology and introduction to philosophy
  • Histology
  • Descriptive anatomy

Summer term 1912

  • Organic experimental chemistry
  • Zoology II
  • Experimental psychology
The house in Munich's Ainmillerstr. which Mohr lived in
The house in Munich's Ainmillerstr. which Mohr lived in

Winter term 1912

  • General botany

Winter term 1913

  • Clinical birth assistance and gynecology
  • Medical clinic (Interior Medicine)
  • Pharmacology

Summer term 1914

  • Chirurgical clinic
  • Eye clinic
  • Psychiatrical clinic
Munich University, main building
Munich University, main building