Remembering Prof. Józef Bogusz - the longest serving president of Cracow Medical Society.

Igor Gościński1


Celebrations of the 115th anniversary of the birth of Prof. Józef Bogusz were very special.

In the 153 years of existence of the Cracow Medical Society, we commemorate the numerous, significant achievements of Professor Bogusz, very strongly associated with the Society. However, to understand the professor's actions it is necessary to recall his youth and professional work.

Brief biography of Prof. Bogusz

Prof. Bogusz was born on September 11, 1904 in Ternopil. In 1918, he received his diploma from J. Sobieski High School in Cracow. In the years 1922-1928 he studies at the Faculty of Medicine of the Jagiellonian University. He then became an assistant at the First Surgery Clinic led by Prof. Rutkowski and then Prof. Glatzle. In 1951, he became the head of the First Surgery Clinic of the Medical Academy in Cracow, which he managed until 1974. Picture from that period show colleagues and friends (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Prof. Bogusz (centre) with the colleagues and staff of the First Surgery Clinic in Cracow.
[please click on the image to enlarge]

From the 1950s, I had the opportunity to learn about the Professor's actions personally, in relation to patients and the team, which were characterized by outstanding care for the patients and the best professional, ethical and moral training of doctors and other employees. He was a supervisor of 30 doctoral students, he patroned over the associate professorship of 2 colleagues. In many areas of surgery he was the person who introduced state-of-the art innovative methods.

In the field of thyroid surgery, he achieved a significant improvement in treatment results and further improvement in this area was continued by Prof. Barczyński. In fact Professor Bogusz achievements have been described in details on the 100th Anniversary of his birth by Prof. Barczyński.

In the years 1959–1993, as the President of the Cracow Medical Society, he not only cared about the high quality of meetings, but also cared about the high moral and ethical level of doctors. He was the main author and initiator of ethical and deontological principles that were a model for young doctors. In 1949, the Medical Chambers in communist Poland were liquidated. A self-help fund was established by healthcare professionals, to which the Professor dedicated his time. The main activity should be the publication in 1961-1991 of the Auschwitz (Oświęcim) Notebooks - a very comprehensive documentation of the crimes of genocide committed by the Nazis (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Prof. Bogusz, Prof. Kempiński, Dr Kłodziński (and Mr. Masłowski) who were the editorial backbone of the Auschwitz Notebooks.
[please click on the image to enlarge]

In this regard, he cooperated with Prof. A. Kępiński, Dr Kłodziński, Dr Piotr Bożek and then with Jan Masłowski. The Auschwitz (Oświęcim) Notebooks were twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Please see the explanation on this publication in my earlier text in the World Journal of Medical Images, Videos and Cases [1].

Anniversary celebrations

Cracow Medical Society commemorated Prof. Józef Bogusz by co-organizing celebrations of the 115th Anniversary of his birth with the Cracow Branch of the Association of Polish Surgeons and the Chair of Medical History of the Jagiellonian University. The event was held under the patronage of: the Mayor of Krakow Prof. Jacek Majchrowski, JU Vice-Rector for Collegium Medicum Prof. Tomasz Grodzicki and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the Jagiellonian University Medical College Prof. Maciej Małecki. At 11 A.M. on June 26, 2019 a commemorative wall plaque was unveiled on Prof. Bogusz Street in Cracow (os. Strusia in Cracow-Nowa Huta). The ceremony was attended by Professor's son and daughter: Prof. Maciej Bogusz and Dr Elżbieta Bogusz-Kahl with their grandchildren, who now live in Germany and the USA. Please see the recording of the event in Figure 3.

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Figure 3. The recording of unveiling of the plaque commemorating Prof. Bogusz on the street bearing his name in Nowa Huta in Cracow. The recording was uploaded with English subtitles in order to make it available to a wider international audience on WJOMI YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYYcKdQYq6I
[please click on the image to start the film]

The unveiling was followed by a meeting at 5 P.M. which was held at the headquarters of Cracow Medical Society. The meeting was unique as Prof. Maciej Bogusz, the son of Prof. Józef Bogusz, gave a lecture about his father as well as his own life dividing it into three stages: his Polish, German and Saudi Arabian careers. The celebrations were concluded by a touching musical performance by a pianist and violonist - Marta and Marek Polański (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Excerpt from the classic musical performance (Frédéric Chopin - Prelude in E-Minor) by Marta and Marek Polański during Prof. Bogusz 115th Anniversary Celebrations at the Cracow Medical Society headquarters on Radziwiłłowska Street in Cracow. Please see the recording on WJOMI YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOJEiAPQ2T8
[please click on the image to start the film]

Parallel to these events, it was possible to get acquainted with the exhibition of memorabilia of Prof. Bogusz from the collection of the Museum of the Medical Faculty of the Jagiellonian University Medical College, located next to the hall of Wyspiański at the TLK House.

Professor Bogusz has received numerous prizes and medals during his lifetime. He personally handed the two-volume anthology of the Auschwitz Notebooks in German to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. There is a special album published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Cracow Medical Society which contains a very personal message about the Professor's family. His daughter, Dr Elżbieta Bogusz-Kahl, who is in constant contact with our Society and was a speaker during the unveiling of the wall plaque in the memory of Prof. Bogusz and former associates of the Professor, unfortunately less and less numerous.

Tempus fugit…

Film from the unveiling ceremony: courtesy of Dr Piotr Kochan. Photos: courtesy of Prof. Gościński, TLK.

Film editing:
WJOMI Editorial Office.

English subtitles: Anna Kochan and WJOMI Editorial Office


[1] Gościński I. Formal meeting on the occasion of 72nd Anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi German Concentration Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau - Part II. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2017; 3:e55-56.

Conflict of interest: none declared

Authors’ affiliations:
1 Chairman, Cracow Medical Society – Towarzystwo Lekarskie Krakowskie, Cracow, Poland

Corresponding author:
Prof. Igor Gościński, M.D., Ph.D.
Przewodniczący Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Krakowskiego
ul. Radziwiłłowska 4
31-026 Cracow, Poland
e-mail: tlk@cm-uj.krakow.pl

To cite this article: Gościński I. Remembering Prof. Józef Bogusz - the longest serving president of Cracow Medical Society. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2019; 5:e75-78.

Submitted for publication: 28 October 2019
Accepted for publication: 12 December 2019
Published on: 31 December 2019

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