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  • Author: Péter H. Mária x
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Commemoration of Kárpáti Gizella, the first woman who took her degree in medical science in Kolozsvár at Ferenc József University


On 31st of December 1895 Gyula Wlassics (1852-1937), minister of religion and education, published his Decree No 72 039, which allowed women to study medical science, pharmacy and humanities at universities. In Kolozsvár Gizella Kárpáti was the first woman who registered at the Faculty of Medicine of Ferenc József University.

Gizella Kárpáti was born in Kolozsvár on 3rd August 1884. After finishing secondary school in June 1902, in the autumn of the same year she registered at the Faculty of Medicine. The marks she got at the university examinations in the following 10 semesters proved that she could cope with her task. In the years spent at the university she met medical student József Szabó (born in 1882) whom she married later. They both started their medical career at Károly Lechner’s Neuro-Psychiatry Institute. From 1909 Gizella Kárpáti was a payed assistant, from 1911 she became assistant lecturer. Her husband became an assistant lecturer from the year 1908, then he was appointed lecturer and then honorary lecturer. Meanwhile he had to go to the front where he was followed by his wife. In 1919, after the professors of the university refused the act of swearing the oath of allegiance, they both made their escape from Kolozsvár together with the greater part of their fellow professors. After a short time they settled in Szeged, where József Szabó was appointed university professor. Here he published his book „Elmekórtan” in 1925. In the 1927-28 academic year he became dean, then vice-dean of the Faculty of Medicine, but in the year 1929 he died unexpectedly. In Szeged, Gizella Kárpáti being engaged in bringing up her two children, did not work as a physician. One of her children, Miklós, continued his parents’ profession, and became a physician. Gizella and her children returned to Kolozsvár for a short time, between 1940-1944, then they moved to Budapest and finally they settled in Szeged again. In 1929 József Szabó and in 1953 Gizella Kárpáti were entombed in one of the graves of honour of the Szeged central cemetery.

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