Dr. Ismar Boas (1858–1938) was the founder of the medical subspecialty of gastroenterology. In 1886, he opened in Berlin the first specialty clinic for the study of digestive diseases. In 1895, he founded the first journal devoted to gastroenterology. During his long and productive career, Boas was a pioneer in nearly all areas of his field. His most lasting scientific accomplishment is his work on occult bleeding, which first introduced the clinical importance of this abnormal finding for the early diagnosis of gastric carcinoma. Fifty years ago, in 1938, Ismar Boas killed himself as the Nazis occupied Vienna. In this article, we honor the memory of a great physician and retrace the circumstances of his death.
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