Introduction: To this day, the name Eugen Fröhlich stands for successful work in science and professional politics. But what was his influence on the development of dentistry and what was his relationship to National Socialism? These are precisely the questions that this article explores.
Keywords: ARPA, DGZMK, dysgnathia, National Socialism, Tübingen
Material and methods: The study is based, among others, on primary documents of the State Archives Baden-Württemberg as well as the University Archives and the University Library of Tübingen. In addition, sources from the Federal Archives in Berlin were evaluated. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of publications by and about Fröhlich was carried out.
Results: Fröhlich left clear traces on the institutional, professional-political and scientific level: In Tübingen he had a decisive influence on the new clinic building completed in 1968 and the reorganisation of the clinic structures, and in Ulm, he initiated the establishment of today’s University Dental Clinic. He was active in professional politics as chairman of the ARPA (Working Group on Periodontology), the “Zahnärztliche Dozentenvereinigung“ (Association of Lecturers in Dentistry) and the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zahn-, Mund- und Kieferheilkunde” (German Society for Dental and Oral Medicine, DGZMK), and he made scientific contributions to oral surgery, prosthodontics and periodontology. In the Third Reich Fröhlich was a member of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) and the SA (Storm Department), among others. Discussion and
conclusion: Fröhlich is to be regarded as an important promoter of the institutional development of university dentistry: He initiated the new clinic building in Tübingen and prompted the establishment of several independent chairs in dentistry, thus becoming a model for other locations. Through his visible work in ARPA, he also brought the subject of periodontology into focus, and with the introduction of the term “dysgnathia” he set himself a professional monument. Fröhlich’s political role in the Third Reich was that of a follower. After 1945, however, he tried to construct a distance to National Socialism by means of half-truths and whitewashing.