Jakob Heine - remembered and honoured in the USAd'Kräz 11 (1991) English version
Five great members of the Heine family, whose roots are in Lauterbach, Germany, are represented on the web, one of them Jakob Heine (1800-1879).
(cf. family tree of the Heines from Lauterbach )
The renown of this physician and scientist, who was enobled by the Württemberg king, extends beyond the 19th century and his German background. Testimonial to this is a bronze bust of Jakob Heine at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation at Warm Springs, Georgia, in the United States, where he is honoured as the discoverer of the "Heine-Medin disease", better known as "polio" or "infantile paralysis" ("poliomyelitis").
Older contacts by correspondence and a recent personal visit to Warm Springs by my English friend and associate Henry Lytton Cobbold have made it possible for me to say a bit more about the background to this homage to Lauterbach-born Jakob Heine together with sixteen other personalities whose busts are also displayed at Warm Springs.
The Warm Springs Foundation(Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation)
About 70 miles southwest of Atlanta and 30 miles north of Columbus (cf. map in illustration 1) lies Warm Springs, which is indelibly linked to the name of US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945). The place became known to the whole world when on April 12, 1945 - shortly after his fourth inauguration - the president died there. This was not by chance, for, in 1932, Roosevelt had built himself a home in Warm Springs called the "Little White House".
Before and during his presidency (1933-1945) Roosevelt made several visits to Warm Springs. He had contracted polio in 1921 and despite a severe handicap had overcome the disease sufficiently to be able to run for president and serve for twelve years. This improvement was partly due to regular visits - since 1924 - to Warms Springs for hydrotherapy.
In 1927 Roosevelt founded the "Georgia Warm Springs Foundation", whose primary purpose was the treatment of polio patients.
Today - after the successful defeat of the disease in the 1950s - the institution is known as "Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation" and in twenty-six departments takes care of patients with handicaps of all kinds.
Jakob Heine in the "Polio Hall of Fame"In 1958 the "Warm Springs Foundation" celebrated its 25th anniversary. Sculptor Edmond Romulus Aamateis was commissioned to create bronze busts commemorating the most important physicians and scientists involved in the discovery of, and fight against polio over the preceding century. The busts of fifteen polio experts - fourteen men and one woman - were arranged alongside the façade of what was then "Roosevelt Hall" (today: "Founders Hall"). Busts number 16 and 17 are those of two laymen, President Roosevelt and Basil O'Connor, former president of the "Warm Springs Foundation".
Together with two reliefs at the exit showing Roosevelt and the author Helen Keller - who was deaf and blind - the busts constitute a kind of Hall of Fame dedicated to people from two continents and two centuries who have successfully fought polio.
Let's take a closer look at the sculptures: Significantly, the first bust (1) is of Jakob Heine (1800-1879), the very first to discover and describe - in a book published in Stuttgart in 1840, and revised in 1860 - what he called "Spinale Kinderlähmung" (infantile spinal paralysis).
The second bust represents the Swedish doctor and polio explorer Oskar Medin (1847-1927), who discovered the contagious and epidemic character of the disease, which made his pupil Ivar Wickman (1872-1914) (3) coin the name "Heine-Medin disease".
After these three pioneers of polio research we see Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943) (4), an Austrian physician, who discovered the virus causing poliomyelitis in 1909 and demonstrated that polio can be transmitted to experimental monkeys. Landsteiner was awarded the Nobel prize in Medicine (1930) for his discovery of human blood groups.
Here is a closer look at the Heine bust:
Next in line we find the following personalities:
The order of the busts after Landsteiner is no longer chronological. Sabin, Enders and Salk deserve particular attention. Jonas E. Salk (15) and Albert B. Sabin (8) were the two virologists whose studies led to mass vaccination all over the world. Salk developed the injected vaccine that bears his name, whereas Sabin is the father of oral vaccination with live viruses. Nobel Prize winner Enders led the way to the production of a safe and effective vaccine in quantity. The other (exclusively American) doctors, through their studies, helped pave the way for these outstanding medical scientists.
Thus the busts present a diverse, but distinct, group from our fellow countryman Jakob Heine, the two Swedes Medin and Wickman and the Austrian Landsteiner to the Americans Salk and Sabin, who defeated polio for good.
With a different position of the head, turned left towards the scientists, the two laymen Roosevelt (16) und O'Connor (17), conclude the line of successful fighters against an insiduous disease whose initial discovery and description is proudly credited to Lauterbach-born Jakob Heine.
I would like to thank Henry Lytton Cobbold who provided the new photos and looked over the English version.
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