Prof. Abraham Geffen, a military physician in World War II and chief radiologist of New York’s Beth Israel hospital, died in Rockville, Maryland, last Tuesday. He was 98.
Born in Atlanta in 1916, Geffen was a brilliant student from his youth, graduating from Boys High School with highest honors. A close friend, Prof.
David Macarov, said Geffen was an ardent Zionist and an outstanding debater in his teens.
“Regularly, he and his debate partner claimed victory in the frequent Jewish-Arab debates held in light of the British White Paper.”
Geffen was awarded a scholarship to Columbia University Medical School. Upon graduation, he entered the US Air Force in 1942. For over two years he was a military physician at an installation in Iceland. Enduring daily bombings by the Luftwaffe, he wrote his parents “when there is a break in the action, me and my aide row a small boat to a nearby village where I handle the medical needs of the civilian population.”
Later, he joined Beth Israel, becoming chief radiologist.
The professor was known for inventing the “Geffen Ruler,” which evaluates movement of certain organs as seen in x-rays.