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Sept 18, 1967

An Unknown Page in the History of Medicine: Clandestine Medical Schools in Poland During 1940 to 1945

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Malaria Eradication, World Health Organization, Geneva.

JAMA. 1967;201(12):946-948. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130120054013

The splendid achievements of the Polish School of Medicine, established in Edinburgh during the Second World War, have been described on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the foundation in 1941 of this academic institution.1

In the light of this commemoration, it is timely to reveal one virtually unknown page of medical annals, namely the incredible story of the clandestine medical schools that existed in Poland during the German occupation from 1940 to 1945. The full chronicle of this truly heroic attempt to maintain medical teaching during that time has not yet been fully told outside of Poland, but some aspects of it should be better known as the memories of these years gradually fade away.

The clandestine teaching of medicine carried out in Poland during the period from 1940 to 1945 is an inspiring example of the tenacity of a people desperately anxious to preserve their national