Michejda Kornel

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Story of Rescue - Michejda Kornel

Kornel Michejda was a professor of the Department and Clinic of Surgery at the Stephen Bathory University in Vilnius. He was then known as a great organiser and manager. He created from scratch the Department of Surgery, thus allowing the development of this field of medicine in the Eastern territories. He opposed the numerus clausus principle. He wrote in his memoirs: “[...] such discrimination was one of the shameful relics of the recent past, regardless of the motives that caused it”.

On 15 December 1939, the Stephen Bathory University was closed and the professor deprived of his position. During the war he worked as a surgeon in district hospitals in the Vilnius region and participated in secret teaching.

There were Jews among his numerous patients. He mentioned one of them, “[...] I operated him again in 1942, so after fifteen years, already during the German occupation. He was of Jewish origin and he had been hiding in the forest until his surgery. I placed him in the St. Joseph Clinic (formerly the Przeździeccy Clinic) which was transformed into a kind of a general hospital during the war, and which admitted Poles, Belarusians, Jews and other oppressed nations regardless of their ability to pay”.

In his Gulbińskie lake house (near Vilnius) he hid his two Jewish friends from the Stephen Bathory University: professors Ignacy Abramowicz and Michał Reicher. Men lived with several Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in a summer house in Gulbiny in June 1941, so shortly after Germans entered Vilnus. The Sisters cared for professors and often invented alibi for frequent food transports. In the last months of 1944, professor Reicher joined the partisan branches of the Home Army as a deputy sanitary chief of the Vilnius District.

At the same time, Kornel Michejda gave medical assistance to Jews who escaped from the labour camp in Karabelki who with the help of Andrzej Michejda, Kornel’s son, among others, were handed over to the forest branches of the Home Army.

On 13 March 1945, professor Michejda left Vilnius for Lublin with a repatriation train.

After the war, he was appointed a head of the newly established Medical Academy in Gdańsk. In 1948, he was appointed a head of the 2nd Faculty of Surgery of the Jagiellonian University. He also served as a vice-rector and a rector of the Cracow Medical Academy.

Bibliography

  • Zieliński Jacek, Kopacz Andrzej, Kruszewski Wiesław Janusz, Kornel Michejda – prekursor powojennej chirurgii gdańskiej, s. 241-250
  • Michejda Kornel, Wspomnienie chirurga, Kraków 1986
  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349 1594