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Eugeniusz Łazowski, Poland
|Died||December 16, 2006 (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.
World War II
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.
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.
In popular culture
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Chicago Sun-Times, Dec 20, 2006.
- Paula Davenport, Media & Communication Resources, "Life Preserver". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-30. .
- He duped Nazis, saved thousands. Source: The Sun-Times Company
- Fake Epidemic Saves a Village from Nazis at the Wayback Machine (archived January 22, 2009). Holocaustforgotten.com
- 2 doctors used typhus to save thousands in wartime
- Paula Davenport, Media & Communication Resources, Southern Illinois University, Life Preserver