A Latvian Chanukah Present - Day 6 #latvia

Nancy Siegel


The Latvian Lady Dentist

by Ann Rabinowitz 

In memory of my great uncle Max Hillman, who was born in Bauska, Latvia, and who started me on my genealogical research, which is so long ago now, I am posting a piece about Latvia every day throughout Chanukah. The posts will be about people, events, and daily life. These posts can also be viewed on the JewishGen Blog at: https://www.jewishgen.org/Blog/

Usually, little is known about our female ancestors, but I found a very interesting individual, who was born in Riga, Latvia, who was not only a woman, but an outstanding professional one as well. She turned up in The Sentinel, Thursday, June 29, 1944, Pg. 23. Her name was Dr. Sara Gdulin Krout (1898-1983), and she is known as the first woman commissioned full Lieutenant in the Dental Corp of the U.S. Navy Waves and the first female dentist in the American Armed Forces.

Sara was just one of the many Jewish women who gained their dental degrees in the Baltics as there were fewer restrictions in that field for women and Jews. Sara received her Certificata Matura at the Gymnasium of Riga and then her DDS at the Dental College in Ekaterinoslav, Russia. She then went on to receive her degree in Dental Surgery at the University of Riga in 1920. 

Upon coming to America, Sara enrolled at the University of Illinois in order to get her DDS degree and practice in America. She obtained her American DDS degree in 1924. She lived in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois. See her photograph taken from the 1923 University of Illinois “Illio”, Pg. 179. 

During World War II, Sara jointed the Navy Waves and thereby managed to circumvent restrictions against women dentists. Her husband also served in the armed forces during World War II. He was Capt. Maurice H. Krout, Chief Psychiatrist at the Armed Forces Induction Station. They subsequently had a daughter Johanna, who was married to Julius Tabin, and became a psychologist.


Nancy Siegel
Director of Communications
(San Francisco, California)