Drawing physicians out of the clinic and into the political fray “was a very sign occasion,” mentioned Dr. Robert Gould, a pathologist in San Francisco and president of the Bay Space chapter of Physicians for Social Accountability.
In an e-mail for this obituary despatched in 2012, Dr. Geiger mentioned he was pushed partly by an outrage over injustice.
“I’ve been offended,” he wrote, “seeing terribly burned kids in Iraq after the primary Gulf conflict, or interviewing torture victims within the West Financial institution, or listening to Newt Gingrich say ghetto children ought to study to be part-time janitors and clear bogs (out of the country, they referred to as that Bantu Schooling). So anger doesn’t vanish, however is changed by a willpower to do one thing.”
Residence Was a Manner Station
Herman J. Geiger was born on Nov. 11, 1925, in Manhattan. (It was unclear what the J. stood for, however he was largely 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 have been Jewish, had emigrated to america as kids. Mr. Geiger grew up on the Higher West Aspect of Manhattan, and their residence was usually a method station for kinfolk fleeing the Nazis.
“The final to seem have been some cousins from my mom’s birthplace, Kirtorf,” Dr. Geiger mentioned within the e-mail. “After they obtained their visas to come back to the U.S., they mentioned, the Nazi authorities have been livid. On the night time 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 a substitute.”
That story, Dr. Geiger mentioned, taught him to not stereotype.
He skipped so many grades within the metropolis’s public faculties that he graduated from Townsend Harris Excessive Faculty (then in Manhattan, now in Queens) at 14. Too younger to begin faculty, he discovered typing and shorthand and went to work as a duplicate boy for The New York Instances. He additionally started hanging out at jazz joints, listening to Billie Vacation, Artwork Tatum and Fat Waller. His mother and father have 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 residence 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 method backstage. Mr. Lee, as soon as a teenage runaway himself, let younger Jack sleep on the sofa — after consulting along with his mother and father — and although Jack typically returned residence, he spent a lot of the subsequent 12 months in Harlem.