The Medical University of Warsaw (Poland)
On the Border between Science, Art and Politics: The Traditions of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Warsaw during 1915–1939
The Faculty of Medicine played an extraordinary role at the University of Warsaw during the years 1915–1939. Many famous scientists from this faculty have become known around the world, for example: Józef Polikarp Brudziński (1874–1917), Antoni Leśniowski (1867–1940) and Franciszek Krzyształowicz (1868–1931). Brudziński was a pediatrician and neurologist, best known for his work on meningitis. Four epynomous medical signs are named after him. The surgeon Leśniowski was one of the first to report the condition which later became known as Crohn’s disease. Krzyształowicz was a dermatologist and one of the founders of the Polish Dermatological Society. He also served as rector of the University of Warsaw from 1924 to 1925.
Polish statesmen, such as the Marshals Józef Pilsudski and Edward Rydz-Śmigły, were symbolically associated with this faculty. They both received honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of their state service.
Several representatives of the medical faculty were also elected rectors of the University of Warsaw, such as the aforementioned Krzyształowicz, which allowed them to build up the brand of academic medicine in Poland. The medical faculty was in keeping with the changing times – women were admitted as medical students and as members of the faculty, such as the rheumatologist Eleonora Reicher (1884–1973) and the pediatrician Marta Erlich (1878–1963).
This presentation will also briefly touch on the cooperation between the medical faculties of the University of Warsaw and the Vilnius Stephen Bathory University as well as the founding of university medical museums in Warsaw before World War II.