XVth Convention of the Julius-Hirschberg-Gesellschaft
27th - 29th September 2001 Hamburg

in Connection with the Centenary of the DGGMNT
28th Sept. - 1st October 2001


in Order of the Lecturers' Program

Gerhard Keerl (Düsseldorf):
The blind Hussite general Johann Ziska

Few and contradictious biographical dates are known about the first 50 years of Johann Ziska (Jan Žižka) of Trocznow, the Hussite general in the 15th century. There are no documents concerning the blindness of his first eye. Born about 1360 his political career had begun in 1409, when he became the leader of the rioting “Taborites”. In consequence of the autodafé of the reformer Jan Hus at Constance council 1415 fighting against emperor Sigismund, the Roman catholic church and for social reforms, Ziska destroyed nearly all cloisters and several catholic determined villages all over Bohemia. When besieging the castle of Ruby he lost the function of his second eye also. The last three years he commanded his troops in total blindness. Ziska is graded an important general for his inventive tactics. He died by infection in 1424. Besides historic documentation his life is memorised by some heroic poetry.

Adresse: Dr. med. G. Keerl, Droste-Hülshoffstraße 2, 40474 Düsseldorf


Franz Daxecker (Innsbruck):
Johann Georg Fuchs – Medicus, privileg. Oculist and Operateur

n a flee-market in Innsbruck I found a copper-plate etching showing a stout, richly dressed man who wears a wig. The inscription on the portrait is: IOHANN GEORG FUCHS MEDICUS PRIVILEG. OCULIST ET OPERATEUR: Aetat. Suae 30. In the corners four shields are depicted: one of Kaiser Karl VI, one of the Prince-bishop Georg Ludwig van Berghen of Luettich, one showing a bull which is the symbol for the Evangelist Lucas. The fourth shield is unclarified, perhaps it is the shield of an abbey in the Diocese of Luettich. On the bottom the Occulist’s shield is depicted, showing his initials and a fox. On the 24th of October 1729 Fuchs made an application to the emporer to receive the “Aerzteprivileg” (the doctor’s privilege) and an exam. He received the privilege on the 5th of November 1729 (the original documents are in the Oesterreichische Staatsarchiv). In his application Fuchs listed his knowledge of the art of healing eye diseases, stones, hernia and wounds. He mentioned that he was born in Koblenz (presumably around 1698), that he lived in Brussels and that he was a student of Michael Braun. In 1728 Fuchs had got the permission to practise; this permission was renewed in 1746 before the next Prince-bishop Johann Theodor of Bavaria started his duty. Johann Georg Fuchs did not revolutionize Ophtalmology and his name is not linked with a new technic or a new medical instrument.

Nevertheless it is remarkable that Adalbert Fuchs (1814–1886), the father of the famous Viennese Ophtalmologist Prof. Ernst Fuchs (1851–1930) who was called from Vienna to Luettich, worked in Innsbruck as Professor for Zoology and was Dekan of the Philosophy Department.

Adresse: Prof. Dr. F. Daxecker, Universitäts-Augenklinik, Anichstraße 35, A-6020 Innsbruck



Robert Heitz (Haguenau):
Subaqueus Ophthalmoscopy

On November 12, 1704, the medical doctor Jean Méry presented to the French Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris, his observation that if a cat is immersed in water its retinal vessels became visible. On March 20, 1709, Philippe de La Hire pointed out that this was due to the abolition of the corneal refraction.
Méry’s experiment of eye immersion for fundus visualization was repeated and supplemented later in humans: In 1845 by Adolf Kussmaul, 1851 by Johann Nepomuk Czermak for the construction of the orthoscope, and 1891 by Oswald Gerloff, for the earliest successful human publishd fundus photography.( Francais )

Adresse: Dr. med. Dr. phil. R. Heitz, 22 rue de l’Aqueduc, F-67500 Haguenau


Aloys Henning (Berlin):
On the Changed Approach Extracting the Cataract at the End of the 20th Century

In 1750 Jacques Daviel (1712-1762) replaced the ancient cataract couching by his extracapsulary cataract extraction. Still to-day the operation of the cataract is based on his technology. During the last quarter of the 20th century this has become prerequisite to IOL technics. Meanwhile in the last nineties minimalised invasive surgery on the eye has replaced Daviel’s cutting the cornea and frontal opening the eyeball by softer lateral and more punctual invasion as tunnel no stich technics, which make remember the past cataract couching. Modern technologies make the operator act less “aggressive” than at Daviel’s time.

Archaic metaphors oft the eye may illuminate this changing by mythological “pictures” as of blinding Polyphemos cyclops, Oedipus, the “blinding” of pope Leo IIIrd in 798, by pictures of Pablo Picasso. Its rational kernel is based on paleolithical drawings of homo erectus Bilzinglebeniensis, 350.000 years ago.

Adresse: Dr. med. Aloys Henning, Spandauer Straße 104 K, D-13591 Berlin


Gerhard Holland (Kiel):
August Classen (1835–1889) – Ophthalmologist and Philosopher

Julius Hirschberg called August Classen the greatest philosopher among the ophthalmologists of the 19th century. He was born in Lübeck, became student of the famous Katharineum, where his father Johannes Classen was professor. This man, later on headmaster of the gymnasium in Frankfurt and then of the Johanneum in Hamburg was a well-known classicist and historian. August Classen studied medicine in Göttingen, Breslau and Frankfurt, he was student of Albrecht von Graefe for three months. In 1856 he became doctor of medicine with the historical treatise “De medicis primorum medii aevii seculorum”. In 1858 he came to Rostock first as assistant of Professor Strempel and then as the only one ophthalmologist in whole Mecklenburg, since 1860 as leader of an eye clinic. In 1858 he became assistant professor with the investigation “Examination on the histology of the cornea”. In 1872 he moved to Hamburg and purchased the eye clinic of Schelski. The main reason for going to Hamburg was the establishment of the first professorship of ophthalmology at the university of Rostock under Zehender. Classens scientific interests were mainly the physiology of the visual organ and according to this topic the philosophy of Kant. In 1876 he published his book “Physiology of vision, for the first time founded on Kant´s theory of experience” and ten years later his important work “The influence of Kant on the theory of sensory perception and the certitude of its results”. Besides he was engaged in public health, wrote about houses for workers, about cholera and published a treatise with the title “The eye and its diseases for the educated public of all classes”.

Adresse: Prof. Dr. G. Holland, Esmarchstr. 51, 20 Kiel


Gottfried Vesper (Leipzig):
The eye-disease of the German painter Ludwig Richter (1803-1884)

Ludwig Richter, a famous painter of the romantic movement in Germany, has painted in particular peaceful folk-motives and sceneries. In the era of “Biedermeier” he was the “Bildermann für deutsche Art und Sitte” (man for pictures representing German manner and custom).

About 1858 an eye-disease began to afflict Richter, most probably degenerative alterations of the retina.

Adresse: Dr. med. Gottfried Vesper, Harnackstr.9, D-04317 Leipzig


Frank Krogmann (Thüngersheim):
Field Marshall Earl of Radetzky and his eye-disease

Beginn of the year 1841, imperial royal Field Marshall Earl of Radetzky suffered from an eye disease. The emperor ordered the professors of ophthalmology Frederick Jaeger (Vienna) and Francis Flarer (Pavia) to consult together about Radetzkys disease. Both diagnosed these as cancerous and incurably. But army-physician Christopher Hartung cured this illness within a few monthes homoeopathic. The success caused a great controversy about benefit from homoeopathy and attention. Hartung, however, got highest respect, especially from patients.

Adresse: F. Krogmann, Kirchgasse 6, D-97291 Thüngersheim


Jutta Herde (Halle):
The Ophthalmologists Rudolf Schirmer and Otto Schirmer

Rudolf Schirmer the son of the Consistorialrat A. Schirmer in Greifswald graduated the secondary school in Greifswald and Schulpforta. After the study of medicine in Göttingen and Greifswald he went on study trips to Vienna, Paris and Berlin, where he qualified to give lectures at the university in 1860. Than he returned to Greifswald and he founded the ophthalmological lessons at the university. At this time the ophthalmology was still a small part of the surgery. R. Schirmer treated patients with eye diseases in a few rooms of the department of surgery. Under his leadership was built the eye hospital in 1887 and he got the chair. He taught ophthalmology until 1893. Rudolf Schirmer died on Januaray 27 1896 of influenca pneumonia. His famous achievements were publications on anomalies of refraction and accomodation, on diseases of the lacrymal system, his practice works and the establishment of the independent ophthalmology at the university in Greifswald.

Otto Schirmer (13.12.1864 – 6.5.1917), the son of R. Schirmer, succeeded his father as chair professor in ordinary of ophthalmology. He was graduated on medicine from universities in Munich, Freiburg and Greifswald. The ophthalmological education he has got in Greifswald, Munich and Göttingen. As a pupil of Leber he was graduated to deliver lectures in 1889. For further education he moved through Königsberg and Halle to return to Geifswald. Here he succeeded the teaching of his father. The second and third chair of ophthalmology he got in Kiel and Straßburg. O. Schirmer emigrated in 1909 to the United States. He died in Brooklyn New York May 5 1917. The outstandig works of Otto Schirmer were the publications “Studien zur Physiologie und Pathologie der Tränenabsonderung und Tränenabfuhr” and “Sympathische Augenerkrankungen”. The famous probe by Schirmer had a forerunner.

Adresse: Prof. Dr. J. Herde, Augenklinik der Martin-Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Magdeburger Straße 8, D-06112 Halle


Dieter Schmidt (Freiburg):
Carl Wilhelm von Zehender, the “Father of Microsurgery” (1819-1916)

Carl Wilhelm von Zehender was born in Bremen on May 21, 1819 into a patrician family from Bern, Switzerland. He studied medicine in München, Jena, Kiel, and Göttingen, and after completing his thesis in 1845, practiced medicine in Göttingen until 1848. After having completed a specialization in ophthalmology in Paris, Prague, and Vienna, he became a Medical Assistent under his highly esteemed teaching Professors Friedrich Jäger (Vienna), and later in Berlin, under Albrecht von Graefe. He became a “Medizinalrat” in 1856 and was appointed to the medical teaching staff as a specialist in Ophthalmology in Neustrelitz. In 1862 he was appointed Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Bern, and later at the University of Rostock from 1866 to 1889. Carl Wilhelm von Zehender was knighted in 1888.

He was the first ophthalmologist to successfully operate using microscopic magnification. He developed together with the Court Mechanician Heinrich Westien, a binocular magnifying lense (called a “binokulare Cornealupe"”ication. He first reported on this new instrument in 1887.

He founded and edited the groundbreaking ophthalmological journal “Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde” from 1863 to 1899. Furthermore, he was one of the founders of the renowned Ophthalmological Society of Heidelberg, also editing their congress reports from 1862 to 1895. He was an active participant in international congresses, such as those in Paris (1867), London (1872), Edinburgh (1894).

Topics of his numerous published articles include: optics and refraction of the eye, clinical problems, the construction – including improvement – of ophthalmological instruments and examining tools, problems concerning insurance claims after eye injuries; he also published articles on the development of the major ophthalmology clinics in Germany.

He died on December 19, 1916 at the age of 97.

Adresse: Prof. Dr. D. Schmidt, Universitäts-Augenklinik Freiburg, Kilianstraße 5, D-79106 Freiburg


Hans Remky (München):
Richard Heinrich Deutschmann (1852-1935)
Theories and Surgical Treatment of Retinal Detachment

Deutschmann, scientific grand-son of Albrecht von Graefe, since he was a pupil of Theodor Leber, worked from 1887 in Hamburg. His former studies in sympathic ophthalmia performed in Göttingen succeeded in the Graefe award in 1889. In 1893 he founded the internationally recognised series “Beiträge zur Ophthalmologie” with E. Fuchs, Haab and Vossius.

In Hamburg his main interest was the treatment of retinal detachment: in 1890 transsection of vitreal bands and shrinked retina, in 1894 vitreous replacement by prepared vitreous of animals, in 1933 kryopexy. He never agreed totally with Gonin’s theory of the role of retinal breaks in the pathology of retinal detachment. His list of publications concerning detachments ended finally in the year of his death.

Adresse: Prof. Dr. H. Remky, Arabellastr. 5–9, D-81925 München


Hans F. Piper (Lübeck:
Unusual procedures for squint operations – a review of the past 150 years

In terms of quantity unusual procedures in squint operations had the aim to save tissue, in terms of quality they hoped to achieve near perfect binocularity. Frequently they did not keep what they promised and more often they did not fit into the current stage of development. Suggested procedures were, for example, passive muscle stretching, muscle reattachment, corrections keeping the muscle origin, protection of the conjunctiva, “neurotisation” and use of microscopic and laser techniques. Even recommendations which did not establish themselves fostered the progress in ocular surgery.

Adresse: Prof. Dr. H.-F. Piper, Im Brandenbaumer Feld 32, D-23564 Lübeck


Daniel Hirsch-Kauffmann Jokl (New York)
Hirschberg, Germany and Japan – The origin of a special relationship

The details concerning the transfer of Julius Hirschberg's library to Professor Komoto and, ultimately, to the University of Tokyo have been detailed by Nakajima and Sasaki (Hist Ophthalmol 1992;5:103-109).

Less known are the orgins of the social relationship between Hirchbergand Japan stemming from his visit there in 1892. Since the liberalization of Japan's trade with the West in 1868. German professors has contributed to raising the lever of Japanese medicine to the standard of Germany – then the preeminent country in medicine and science in the world. Professor Komoto, among the first of Japanese ophthalmologists to be trained by Hirschberg both in Japan and Germany, never forgot this honor bestowed upon himself and his country.

His efforts to obtain Hirschberg's library for Japan must be viewed in terms of the traditional reverence Japanese have for there teachers – a token of gratitude meant to inspire future Japanese medical generations.

Adresse: Prof. D. Hirsch-Kauffmann Jokl, M.D., New York Medical College, Associate in Ophthalmology, Columbia University,
College of Physicians & Surgeons


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