H. Jack Geiger, Physician Who Fought Social Ills, Dies at 95


Drawing physicians out of the clinic and into the political fray “was a extremely sign occasion,” stated Dr. Robert Gould, a pathologist in San Francisco and president of the Bay Space chapter of Physicians for Social Accountability.

In an electronic mail for this obituary despatched in 2012, Dr. Geiger stated he was pushed partly by an outrage over injustice.

“I’ve been indignant,” he wrote, “seeing terribly burned youngsters in Iraq after the primary Gulf struggle, or interviewing torture victims within the West Financial institution, or listening to Newt Gingrich say ghetto youngsters ought to be taught to be part-time janitors and clear bathrooms (overseas, they referred to as that Bantu Training). So anger doesn’t vanish, however is changed by a willpower to do one thing.”

Herman J. Geiger was born on Nov. 11, 1925, in Manhattan. (It was unclear what the J. stood for, however he was principally referred to as Jack all through his life.) His father, Jacob, born in Vienna, was a doctor; his mom, Virginia (Loewenstein) Geiger, who got here from a village in central Germany, was a microbiologist. Each mother and father, who had been Jewish, had emigrated to the US as youngsters. Mr. Geiger grew up on the Higher West Facet of Manhattan, and their dwelling was usually a means station for kinfolk fleeing the Nazis.

“The final to seem had been some cousins from my mom’s birthplace, Kirtorf,” Dr. Geiger stated within the electronic mail. “After they obtained their visas to return to the U.S., they stated, the Nazi authorities had been livid. On the evening earlier than their departure, the authorities ordered all their neighbors to exit at twilight and stone their home. The neighbors all dutifully gathered — and threw loaves of bread as an alternative.”

That story, Dr. Geiger stated, taught him to not stereotype.

He skipped so many grades within the metropolis’s public colleges that he graduated from Townsend Harris Excessive Faculty (then in Manhattan, now in Queens) at 14. Too younger to begin school, he realized typing and shorthand and went to work as a replica boy for The New York Occasions. He additionally started hanging out at jazz joints, listening to Billie Vacation, Artwork Tatum and Fat Waller. His mother and father had been usually beside themselves, ready up for him and typically even calling the bars to ask if “Jackie” was there.

Jack quickly ran away from dwelling and turned up, suitcase in hand, in Harlem’s Sugar Hill part on the doorstep of Canada Lee, a Black actor whom he had seen on Broadway and had gotten to know after speaking his means backstage. Mr. Lee, as soon as a teenage runaway himself, let younger Jack sleep on the sofa — after consulting together with his mother and father — and although Jack typically returned dwelling, he spent a lot of the subsequent 12 months in Harlem.



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