Lietuvos mokslo istorikų ir filosofų bendrija

The 29th Baltic Conference on the History of Science

Konferencija Scientia et historia – 2021

Konferencija Scientia et historia – 2020

Konferencija Scientia et historia – 2019

Konferencija Scientia et historia – 2018

Konferencija Scientia et historia – 2017

Konferencija Scientia et historia – 2016

The 29th Baltic Conference on the History of Science, Vilnius


Sumy State University, Sumy (Ukraine)


University of Tartu Graduate E.M. Kagan (1887–1948) and his Role in the Development of Occupational Health as a Science and Academic Discipline in Ukraine




In 1938, E.M. Kagan was repressed and only in 1989 rehabilitated. Therefore, publications about him began to appear only in the post-Soviet period. However, archive materials related to him have not yet been opened for scholarly research. The purpose of this presentation is to fill in the existing gap.


Erzo Moiseevich (Movshovich) Kagan was born in Riga on July 12/24, 1887. His father was a tradesman Movsha Kagan, and his mother was Elka Kagan. Since 1903, he was a member of the Jewish Socialist Party (Bund). He participated in the Russian revolution of 1905. In 1904, for his revolutionary activities, he was arrested and was in prison for about a month. After his release he emigrated to Geneva. In 1905, he returned to Russia, where he became a professional revolutionary. In 1908, he left active political party work. That year he married Brian Vulfovna Grubin, and the following year his daughter Dina was born. In 1911, he enrolled in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of Tartu (then Yuryevsky) University. In 1912, he transferred to the second year of the medical faculty of the same university and graduated in 1916 with a medical degree. It should be noted here that he passed the hygiene course of Professor E.A. Shepilevsky (1857–1920). He began his medical activities in Orel. In 1919, he moved to Kharkov. In 1923, he organized and headed the Department of Occupational Health at Kharkov Medical Institute and continued to lead it until the day of his arrest in 1938. This was the first department of occupational health in Ukraine. Also in 1923, he organized and became director of the Ukrainian Central Institute of Occupational Hygiene and Occupational Diseases. In Ukraine, Professor Kagan was one of the founders of occupational medicine. His scientific publications were devoted to a wide range of problems associated with occupational health. On 19 February 1938, he was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in labor camps. He served his sentence in Vyatlag, one of the biggest concentrations of forced labor camps in the Gulag system (in the north of the Kirov Oblast, 1,000 km. northeast of Moscow). On 3 September 1942 he was released on parole. In 1945, he received permission to move to Omsk and work in the Department of Occupational Health at Omsk Medical Institute. He died on 1 August 1948.