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Jakub Chlebowski, Rector Magnificus Exultus – A Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine in Postwar North-East Poland

Abstract

Jakub Chlebowski (Jakub Frydman) (1905-1969) was a distinguished professor of internal medicine and skillful organizer of health care system in Bialystok region in the North east Poland. He graduated medicine in 1929 and worked at local university in prewar Vilnius. During World War Two, arrested by the Soviets and exiled to Siberian work camps he managed to return to Poland with Kosciuszko Division of Polish Army. Then, he continued to serve as a military and university medical doctor in Cracow and Lodz, finally to take over position of director of Internal Diseases Department in 1951 in Bialystok, holding an office of rector magnificus of Medical University of Bialystok from 1959 to 1962. Chlebowski trained generations of internal medicine specialists, who later became eminent representatives of emerging branches of internal medicine as distinct subspecialties in the field of cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology in Bialystok. In course of anti-Semitic campaign during March Events in 1968, he was disposed from the post of director of the university hospital department. Constantly harassed, he immigrated with the family to Israel to die in public traffic accident in 1969. Jakub Frydman, who survived not only hunger of food, but also metaphorical “hunger of humanity” during World War Two, turned out to be as good and useful as daily bread for Polish community after wartime. He was so devoted in this action, that he even changed his surname into Chlebowski (Polish: Chleb=English: Bread). In this way, due to similar experience and experience-shaped mentality, Chlebowski could be counted among medical authorities of the time, the individuals with such a high moral standard as Janusz Korczak (1878 or 1879-1942) or Julian Kramsztyk (1851-1926).

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