Ludwig Guttmann Avenue Project

This year’s edition of the SURVIVAL Art Review is unique. It takes place in a place important for the history of European medicine – the former Jewish Hospital. The motto “Concealed” combines the themes of art, architecture and medicine.

The famous neurosurgeon Ludwig Guttmann (1899–1980) was associated with the hospital and devoted his life to the treatment of patients with spinal cord injuries. However, before this happened, he was associated with Wrocław for years. Here he studied medicine, then worked in the local city hospital. In the years 1933–1938 he was the head of the neurology department at the Jewish Hospital in Wrocław. It was in him, during Kristallnacht, in November 1938, that he saved 60 people from deportation to camps, admitting them to his department as sick at the last moment.

After emigrating to England, in the spine injury clinic in Stoke, Mandeville organized daily activities for his patients, including sports competitions, which were getting bigger every year. Their continuation is the Paralympic movement. 400 athletes from 21 countries took part in the first Paralympic Games initiated by Guttmann in Rome in 1960, now several thousand athletes are competing in the Paralympics!

If I’ve ever done one important thing in my medical career, I introduced sport to the treatment and rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury and other motor disabilities.

– Sir Ludwig Guttmann

Ludwig Guttmann is for us a symbol of what is most valuable in people, a hero who had the power to change the world for the better. That is why the Art Transparent Foundation, in cooperation with the City Museum of Wrocław, made efforts to name one of the streets near the former hospital after him. This modest man made a real revolution in contemporary medicine, but above all he changed the social perception of people with disabilities. He was a committed visionary who was not afraid to say loudly that people with spinal cord injuries can study, work, start families, and play sports. Today, this seems obvious, but in the 1940s, many doctors still considered these ideas crazy.

Macie ochotę poprzeć projekt „Aleja Ludwiga Guttmanna”? W trakcie Przeglądu Sztuki SURVIVAL odwiedźcie INFOPUNKT, gdzie będzie dostępny formularz do podpisu. 3 lipca, czyli w 120. rocznicę urodzin lekarza, złożymy pismo u Prezydenta Wrocławia Jacka Sutryka.


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