eISSN: 2084-9834
ISSN: 0034-6233
Reumatologia/Rheumatology
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6/2012
vol. 50
 
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abstract:
Letter to the Editor

The thanksgiving obelisk dedicated to Dr. Charles Joseph Heidler in Marienbad: a mysterious event in the history of Polish rheumatology and balneology

Eugeniusz J. Kucharz
,
Anna Kotulska

Reumatologia 2012; 50, 6: 538–540
Online publish date: 2012/12/21
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The thanksgiving obelisk dedicated to Dr. Charles Joseph Heidler in Marienbad: a mysterious event in the history of Polish rheumatology and balneology

While on holiday in the famous health resort of Marienbad in the Czech Republic (in Czech language: Mariánské Lázně), we found a neoclassical obelisk dedicated to Dr. Charles Joseph Heidler that had been raised in the central park of the city (Skalníkovy sady i.e. the Václav Skalník Park) as a thanksgiving memorial monument by Polish patients in 1858 (Fig. 1). Although memorial plates, monuments, busts and obelisks are common in such places as health resorts, it is rare to find an obelisk erected by anonymous patients representing one nation. Moreover, nothing is known in our history of medicine about this event.

The obelisk (in Czech language: obelisk dr. K. Heidlera) has two almost identical inscriptions. The German inscription: Der Hochverdienter Dr. Karl Josef Heidler Edlen von Heilborn die dankbaren Polen 1858

(To highly meritorious Dr. Charles Joseph Heidler, nobleman of Heilborn, thankful Poles 1858) (Fig. 2). The Latin inscription is a bit longer: CAROLO JOS HEIDLER NOBILI DE HEILBORN MEDICO VIRTUTIS AQUARUM LOCI LABI[LAPI]ORATORI ET NUNCIO AD RECUPERANDAM SALUTEM INDE AB ANNIS QUADRAGINIA INNUMERIS DUCI HUMANISSIMO GRATI POLONI MDCCCLVIII (To Charles Joseph Heidler, nobleman of Heilborn, distinguished physician, meritorious contributor to healing water resort, this stone singing the praises of an excellent director for countless forty years [was raised] by grateful Poles 1858) (Fig. 3). The inscriptions are not well preserved, so the translation should not be considered as literal. The inscriptions clearly suggest that the obelisk was raised by Polish patients to express and immortalize their appreciation for medical care. It gave us the incentive to investigate for more details on Dr. Charles J. Heidler and the obelisk.

In the Municipal Museum of Marienbad, we found a book with a short note on Dr. Charles J. Heidler [1] (Fig. 4). Dr. Charles Joseph Heidler was born on January 26, 1792 in Falkov (now: Sokolov in Czech Republic; before 1948 the Czech name of the city was Falkov nad Ohři, the German name was Falkenau an der Eger). He was the second son of John (Johann) Heydler, a harness maker. He attended the Piarist School in Ostrava, later the secondary school in Pilzen, and studied medicine in Prague, where he graduated in 1818. After...


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