Lives of the fellows

Wolf George Tillman

b.9 August 1912 d.3 January 1995
MRCS LRCP(1937) MB BS Lond(1940) MRCP(1943) MD(1947) FRCP(1969)

Wolf Tillman was a refugee from Nazi Germany who built a career as a dermatologist in London. He was born and educated in Hamburg. His father was a banker whose family had been wine growers in the Palatinate since the 16th century, while his mother came from a New York medical family. Wolf went to Guy's Hospital Medical School in 1933 and qualified in 1937. By 1939 he was chief clinical assistant to medical out-patients and skin registrar. When the war came he also became a physician and clinical tutor. Wolf and his opposite number, Ted (E B) French, used to take students to St Olave’s, Rotherhide, to Lewisham and to Orpington Hospitals, because Guy’s was kept empty of routine admissions.

In 1943 he joined the Army and chose dermatology as his subject, for which he was suited, having a good diagnostic eye. He was posted to India and eventually became a medical adviser. Later he went to Singapore and then to Burma. In 1947 he was demobilized, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He then studied for and obtained his MD and was appointed consultant dermatologist to the Miller Hospital, Greenwich. Later he became a consultant to St Nicholas’ Hospital, Plumstead and St Mary Abbot’s, Kensington, and he set up clinics at Erith and Eltham. Life was hectic; he would sometimes see more than a hundred patients in a day, but somehow the patients where seen in an unhurried and kindly manner in spite of their numbers. He became chairman of the medical committee of the Miller in 1955 and later chairman of the Deptford, Greenwich and Woolwich group.

He was president of the Dowling Club. He was a member of the British Association of Dermatologists, the dermatological section of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the St John’s Hospital Dermatological Society. A gregarious man with a large moustache and a jovial nature, he would help anyone who turned to him for advice. He had an uncanny memory for names and faces and a great gift for friendship. In 1934 he married Charlotte Gebert, who was also from Hamburg. They had two sons.

He retired to Guernsey in 1972, but kept in touch, visiting his grandchildren and friends far and wide, sending postcards which were not always easy to read. He left the valuable collection of Indonesian and other art which his father had assembled to the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam.

J S Pegum

[Brit.med.J., 1995,311,255; Guy’s Hospital Gazette, 1995,109,129-131]

(Volume X, page 492)

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