Polish Medicine 70th anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Polish School of Medicine at the University.

The School was a wartime initiative that enabled Polish students in Edinburgh to complete their medical education.

Teaching staff and graduates after the graduation ceremony in the McEwan Hall, July 1942.

Teaching staff and graduates after the graduation ceremony in the McEwan Hall, July 1942.

Forging links through medicine

Thousands of members of the Polish armed forces as well as civilian refugees had arrived in Scotland following the invasion of Poland.

Among them were members of the Polish medical corps, as well as many senior academics from Poland’s main universities.

The Polish School of Medicine followed on from initiatives encouraging Polish doctors to meet and work with their British counterparts.

The School awarded more than 240 medical diplomas and degrees, with its final examinations held in 1949.

Video report

Watch a video report on the Polish School of Medcine and the exhibition being held to mark its 70th anniversary.

Exhibition

An exhibition is being held to mark the anniversary.

Items on display include photographs and sculptures which tell of the story and ethos of the School.

War medals and a variety of documents, including student cards, are also on show.

A number of curator insight talks are taking place during the course of the exhibition.

For more details of the exhibition see the Polish School of Medicine website.

Graduates

Dr Anna Sokolowska and her anatomy classmates. Image courtesy of Dr Anna Sokolowska.

Dr Anna Sokolowska and her anatomy classmates. Image courtesy of Dr Anna Sokolowska.

The display also features the story of Dr Magdalena Krystyna Munk,

Dr Munk had almost completed her medical studies in Poland at the outbreak of World War II but was forced to flee her native land.

She was serving as ship’s doctor on the SS Warszawa, when it was torpedoed in the Mediterranean by a German submarine on Boxing Day 1941.

Dr Munk received a King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct for her role in rescuing the crew.

She graduated from the Polish Medical School on her 30th birthday in 1943 and later became a GP in Edinburgh.

Items in the display include a replica of the silver laurel spray emblems she was awarded, her medical diploma, her merchant seaman’s logbook and her record of studies book.

The exhibition also includes items from former graduate Dr Anna Sokolowska, whose father was also a lecturer at the School.

Among the exhibits are Dr Sokolowska's matriculation card, her Royal Hospital for Sick Children's student card and her women's union card.

Legacy

After the war graduates and staff retained their links with the University.

Since 1966, the 25th anniversary of the founding of the School, alumni have travelled from across the world to Edinburgh for reunions every five years.

The Polish School of Medicine Memorial Fund provides scholarships for Polish doctors and medical scientists to undertake research in Edinburgh.

The University has also signed memorandum of understandings to collaborate more closely with medical schools at Polish universities.

Dr Maria Dlugolecka-Graham, co-ordinator of the Polish School of Medicine, was recently awarded the Bene Merito Award from the Polish Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The award was for her contribution in promoting Poland in the international arena.

Event details

Exhibition: 70th Anniversary of the Polish School of Medicine4 May - 25 June 2011, 10am - 5pmUniversity Main Library, George Square, EH8 9LJ.
Exceptions to opening times are on Saturday 18 and 25 June, when the exhibition is open 10am-1pm
Find the University Main Library on campus maps

Accessibility menu