J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2013; 74(05): 339
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1348354
Letter to the Editor
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Reply to Remarks on: Arnold H, Collmann H. Neurosurgery in Würzburg until World War II. J Neurol Surg A 2012;73(1):38–45

Hans Arnold
1   Medical School of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
Hartmut Collmann
2   Historian of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie, Archiv für Geschichte, Würzburg, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

21 March 2013

24 March 2013

Publication Date:
01 August 2013 (online)

We appreciate the detailed comments of Drs. Rosenow and Synowitz, and we agree with most of their statements. That is why we confine our reply to a few items:

  1. In a review on early neurosurgery in Würzburg, Ernst von Bergmann and his early contributions to neurosurgery should probably not be neglected.

  2. Concerning Cushing and Krause: To the best knowledge of Emil Heymann's family, Cushing never did visit Krause in the Augusta-Hospital (Gerhard Heymann, personal communication, 2002). Nor did Fulton mention such a visit.

  3. The Charleston, although loathed by some right-wing nationalists, at that time also symbolized a widespread sense of open-mindedness and tolerance. It remains a bitter lesson that the Nazi regime needed just few years to virtually eradicate this sense.

  4. With regard to Olivecrona, we regret to have used the term “trained” because in 1919, Olivecrona only had obtained a fellowship at the Hunterian Laboratory, then directed by Dandy. Similar to other fellows, Olivecrona had access to the operating room, where he most probably learned about the recently published method of ventriculography. But according to Ljunggren,[1] at that time, he was more interested in general surgical issues. Even the year before, during his residency with Erwin Payr, he mainly dealt with general surgery and war injuries. Thus, it appears more adequate to speak of him as a self-taught neurosurgeon rather than of Dandy's trainee.

  5. As to Emil Heymann, the reason for mentioning the true cause of his death is detailed in the footnote.

  6. The whole story of the Hansa-Klinik, as recently presented by Drs. Synowitz and Rosenow, was published only after submission of our article.

  7. Also, the unpleasant facts about Sorgo and Irsigler came to our knowledge not until submission of our paper, although, admittedly, they were anything but kept secret.

These latter details support the impression that the Tönnis team actually had come to comfortable terms with the Nazi regime. We highly acknowledge that our colleagues have drawn particular attention to this other side of the coin.