Szmurło Jan

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The story of Jan Szmurło

Professor Jan Szmurło headed the Department and Clinic of Otolaryngology of the Stephen Bathory University in Vilnius until 1936. He was a supporter of raising the importance of otorhinolaryngology (commonly known as laryngology) as a separate branch of medicine and promoted the idea of making it a separate subject in medical schools. He published a 4-volume textbook of otolaryngology which was awarded in 1936 by the Polish Academy of Learning. Although Professor Szmurło formally went into retirement, he led the clinic until 1938 because of the death of his successor Professor T. Wąsowski. Later, he joined the Department of Histology of the University of Warsaw.

During the occupation, he taught otolaryngology at the Underground University of Warsaw. He was a member of the Central Welfare Council. He worked in the School Out-patients’ Clinic and was a consultant in Warsaw hospitals: the Ujazdowski Hospital, the Infant Jesus Hospital, the Skarbowców Hospital and the Maltański Hospital.

Professor helped to save a Jewish girl, Basia, from the Warsaw Ghetto. In August 1942, Basia’s father, Witold Góra, turned for help to his friend Kazimierz Krauze. He wanted to place the child on the “Aryan side”. The Krauze couple agreed to hide the girl, then also her father. They lived near the ghetto, so the neighborhood aroused fear in the runaways. Soon Basia was move to Wanda Dzierżanowska’s fiend’s place. Although the girl was presented as a relative, neighbours suspected that she was Jewish. Then, with the consent and by command of Professor Szmurło, his daughter Maria Janina took care of the girl. The girl's parents were hiding in different places in turns, and the Krauze family constantly supported them. All of them survived the war.

During the Warsaw Uprising, Professor Szmurło served as a doctor in an insurgent hospital of the “Gozdawa” battalion on Pius XI Street and in the Hospital of the Ursulines. After the fall of the uprising, he was transferred to Piastów along with his staff and patients.

In 1947, Professor Szmurło was appointed a head of an inhalation centre and a scientific consultant of the National Spa Institute in Ciechocinek. From 1949, he headed the Department of the History of Medicine of the University of Łodź. He was also into the philosophy of medicine and belonged to the Polish school of philosophy of medicine.

Other Stories of Rescue in the Area



  • Dział Zbiorów Specjalnych Głównej Biblioteki Lekarskiej, Akta Izby lekarskiej Warszawsko-Białostockiej, teczka osobowa Jana Szmurło, 304-19
  • Cichocki Piotr Tomasz, Prof. Jan Szmurło