Eugene Lazowski

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Eugene Lazowski
Eugeniusz Łazowski, Poland
Eugeniusz Łazowski, Poland
Born1913 (1913)
DiedDecember 16, 2006(2006-12-16) (aged 92–93)

Eugene Lazowski born Eugeniusz Sławomir Łazowski (1913, Częstochowa, Poland – December 16, 2006, Eugene, Oregon, United States) was a Polish medical doctor who saved thousands of Polish Jews during World War II by creating a fake epidemic which played on German phobias about hygiene. By doing this, he risked the German death penalty, which was applied to Poles who helped Jews in the Holocaust.[citation needed]

World War II[edit]

Before the onset of World War II Eugeniusz Łazowski obtained a medical degree at the Józef Piłsudski University in Warsaw, Poland. During World War II Łazowski served as a Polish Army Second Lieutenant on a Red Cross train, then as a military doctor of the Polish resistance Home Army. Following the German occupation of Poland Łazowski resided in Rozwadów with his wife and young daughter. Łazowski spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp prior to his arrival in the town, where he reunited with his family and began practicing medicine with his medical-school friend Dr Stanisław Matulewicz. Using a medical discovery by Matulewicz, that healthy people could be injected with a vaccine that would make them test positive for typhus without experiencing the disease, Łazowski created a fake outbreak of epidemic typhus in and around the town of Rozwadów (now a district of Stalowa Wola), which the Germans then quarantined. This saved an estimated 8,000 Polish Jews from certain death in German concentration camps during the Holocaust.[citation needed]

Later life[edit]

In 1958, Lazowski emigrated to the United States on a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation and in 1976 became professor of pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He wrote a memoir entitled Prywatna wojna (My Private War) which was reprinted several times, as well as over a hundred scientific dissertations.[1]

Lazowski retired from practice in the late 1980s. He died in 2006 in Eugene, Oregon, where he had been living with his daughter.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • A documentary about Lazowski entitled A Private War was made by television producer Ryan Bank, who followed Lazowski back to Poland and recorded testimonies of people whose families were saved by the fake epidemic.[3]


  1. ^ Andrzej Pityński, "Short biography of Eugeniusz Łazowski". Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-03.. Museum of Stalowa Wola, 2007. (in Polish) Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  2. ^ Art Golab, "Chicago's 'Schindler' who saved 8,000 Jews from the Holocaust". Archived from the original on October 30, 2007. Retrieved 2017-10-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Chicago Sun-Times, Dec 20, 2006.
  3. ^ Paula Davenport, Media & Communication Resources, "Life Preserver". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-30.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link).