Each week, we select the most interesting Jewish obituary. This week, it’s that of Dr. Fritz Bach, who died Sunday at 76. Because of him, organ transplants are far more successful: Decades ago, he invented a technique whereby the cells of a potential donor are mixed with those of a prospective recipient and their reactions are observed, a useful metric for predicting the likelihood of rejection after the transplant is done. He continually honed this technique, expanding it from bone marrow to other body parts, and greatly speeding it up (which can be crucial when your donor is, er, decomposing). Other research interests included transplanting pig tissues into humans—not clear if that would be kosher, but it would address the chronic gap between demand and supply for organs.
Though a product of American schools (Harvard, Washington University in St. Louis), Bach is not from the States. He was born in Vienna in 1934, and fled to England with his brother after Kristallnacht, where he was cared for by a British family, reunited with his own family, and then had his immigration to the U.S. sponsored by a G.I.