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April 1965

The Brilliant and Tragic Life of W. M. W. Haffkine, Bacteriologist.

Arch Intern Med. 1965;115(4):512. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03860160138038

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This slim volume encompasses a great deal of interesting history—personal, social, and scientific. The Russian pogroms of a century ago form the background against which the early part of the book is set. Odessa of the late 19th century was in the midst of both a czarist-inspired anti-Semitic campaign and a scientific revolution. Metchnikoff, aided by Gamaleia, was organizing the first Pasteur Station beyond the borders of France. Olga Metchnikoff has set down some of the difficulties encountered by her husband in a passage which, even today, has a too familiar ring: "Medical society in Russia was hostile to every work which issued from the laboratory. The institutions which had subscribed funds for the Bacteriological Institute were demanding practical results, while all necessary work towards that object was met by every sort of obstacle." Metchnikoff sought refuge in Paris; his pupil Haffkine in the University of Geneva. After a year

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