Dějiny věd a techniky, No. 4, Vol. XLV (2012)


DVT 124, 213
Konec „nenahraditelného muže“. Likvidace R. Heydricha v lékařském kontextu. II. část
Michal V. Šimůnek

The end of the ‘irreplaceable man.’ The liquidation of Reinhard Heydrich in a medical context. Part. II.
The assassination of Reinhard Heydrich represents an important event in twentieth-century Czech and European history. Despite the fact that there exists extensive literature on this subject, what has been missing is an overview that would, based on accessible archive sources and published knowledge, summarize his medical treatment after the attack from May 27 to June 4, 1942. Yet the outcome of the medical care he received in many ways played a crucial role. The aim of the present study is therefore to offer such a summary in the context of the history of medicine and in connection with the state of medical practice in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

Keywords: Heydrich · assassination · medical treatment · World War II

Summary: R. Heydrich’s injury, with which he arrived in medical care, was serious. Already the first more thorough examination revealed an injury to chest, diaphragm, and spleen, with possibility of further complications. Necessary surgical intervention was provided de facto immediately. It was carried out both by physicians who worked directly in the Bulovka Hospital and their colleagues from the Surgical Clinic of the Medical Faculty of the German Charles University in Prague; of the two main operating surgeons, it was evidently Prof. J. Hohlbaum, who, being a military surgeon in the WWI, had more experience with similar types of injuries. Nonetheless, the surgical intervention was in the end carried out by Prof. W. Dick. It is documented that during blood transfusion given shortly after the operation, the patient also received further unspecified medications. Nonetheless, pharmacotherapy constituted the core of Prof. K. Gebhardt’s contribution – he was called to Prague from Berlin at short notice still on May 27 and at Himmler’s command assumed leadership of the medical team. According to his own post-war testimony, in a given type of injury he relied mainly on surgery, not chemotherapy (sulphonamid-based preparates). According to available sources, meanwhile, patient’s condition was more grave than Gebhardt expected when taking off from Berlin. Basically, with the exception of two days, namely May 30 and the morning of June 2, it was continuously, with some fluctuations, grave; it was characterised by suppuration and increase in body temperature. Death occurred on the eighth day after the operation, in the morning of June 4, 1942 at 9am. The (partial) and not quite standard autopsy determined the main cause of death to be the injury suffered during the attack on May 27, 1942, and a generalised, further unanalysed infection at the site of the injury. Though in all likelihood, it was a mixed form, at least three contemporary pieces of evidence (including statements of participants and ‘experiments’ in the Ravensbrück concentration camp) indicated that gas gangrene (Gasbrand) was seen as most important. The possibility cannot be excluded that the patient may have received an anti-gangrene serum that was being developed at that time, which would have led to an exaggerated immune reaction of the organism, which was moreover considerably weakened by the removal of the spleen. Yet since the autopsy was carried out only partially, one also needs to consider the possibility of a brain injury (for example, in consequence of oxygen deprivation), etc.

DVT 124, 251
Ke zrodu a pádu legendy o německých atomových vědcích, kteří nechtěli z morálních důvodů sestrojit jaderné zbraně pro nacistické Německo
Filip Grygar

On the origin and fall of the legend about German atomic scientists who, for moral reasons, did not want to construct nuclear weapons for Nazi Germany.
This paper deals with a debate that has gone on for more than half a century about the role of German atomic scientists during the Second World War. There have been two opposing views regarding the activity of the German physicists in the Uranium club. The prevailing and traditional version pointed out that German scientists did not want to construct an atomic bomb for Hitler for moral reasons. The second opinion holds that German scientists were working extensively not only on the atomic reactor but also on the atomic weapon. The paper interprets the latest documents, which clearly tend to support the second version.

Keywords: W. Heisenberg · N. Bohr · atomic weapon · Nazi Germany · Farm Hall · literary treatment

Summary: From the 1990s, historians of science have had at their disposal a series of convincing archival documents that shifts the decades-long legend of German scientists who did not want to manufacture the atomic bomb for Hitler for moral or pragmatic reasons. Frayn’s play Copenhagen has recently contributed to the publishing of archival materials. Among other things, it triggered discussions concerning Heisenberg’s mysterious visit to occupied Copenhagen in 1941. This article summarizes key publications and the latest papers on this topic.


DVT 124, 271
Ještě nevíme, proč kvetou… Vzpomínka na mezinárodní symposium 1964
Jan Krekule

We still do not know why they flower… A memory of the international symposium 1964.
The article reminds readers of the events and contribution of the great international symposium “Differentiation of Apical Meristem and Some Problems of Ecological Regulation of Development of Plants” organized in Czechoslovakia in Prague and Nitra in 1964, at which a significant meeting of scientists from the East and West Bloc occurred.

Keywords: plant physiology · experimental botany · history of biology · science in Czechoslovakia in 1960s

Summary: The article characterizes the main participants as well as the schools and directions of research that confronted each other very productively at the symposium. The proceedings exceeded the contemporary standard in the broad thematic basis of theoretical views presented at the conference and also in the confrontation of the concept of “stadijnost” (i.e. the concept of development in stages), within the broader frame of ecological regulations. The symposium stimulated the development of research for decades, and it signified an important opening of the door to the world for Czechoslovak researchers.

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