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UIC logo Private War - Memoirs of a Doctor Soldier (University of Illinois at Chicago)

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About Eugene Lazowski

Dr. Eugene Lazowski was born in 1913 in Poland, finishing his medical studies just as the country entered World War II. Dr. Lazowski joined the Polish Army, serving on a Red Cross hospital train. After the train was destroyed by German planes, Lazowski was put on another train under Russian control, from which he narrowly escaped. Afterward he joined the Polish resistance, moving to the Polish town Rozwadów.

Typhus was a common disease during World War II. Lazowski knew a typhoid epidemic would be disastrous for the Germans, who were using slave labor for their work force. Lazowski and his colleague, Dr. Stasiek Matulewicz, found a way to test for typhus without having to send the test to a lab. They discovered that an intramuscular injection of the bacteria did not infect the person, but did give a positive typhoid result. The two doctors staged a fake typhoid epidemic in Rozwadów to save the area's residents. Slowly they began to inject patients to simulate the stages of an epidemic. The Germans stopped deporting these people for their work camps, saving many lives.

After the war, Lazowski moved to the United States with his wife and daughter and continued to practice medicine. He became part of the University of Illinois at Chicago's faculty in 1967 as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics. He died in December 2006.

About this Digital Collection

The Private War: Memoirs of a Doctor Soldier Collection contains Dr. Eugene Lazowski's memoir, which was translated into English by his daughter, Alexandra Gerrard.

Collection Contact:
Special Collections & University Archives
1750 W. Polk St., Room 320
Chicago, Illinois 60612
(312) 996-8977
For email inquiries, Ask a Librarian

 
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