Commemoration of the German Society of Gastroenterology
In memory of

Prof. Dr. med.
Leo Pollak
1878 - 1946

Member since 1927

Was one of the first to use insulin

Distinguished metabolic researcher at the University of Vienna

Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archiv für experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie 1926
Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archiv für experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie 1926

Prof. Dr. med. Leo Pollak

  • Prague, 0‌3‌.‌0‌2‌.‌1‌8‌7‌8‌
  • Newmarket/Suffolk, England, 1‌8‌.‌0‌9‌.‌1‌9‌4‌6‌
  • Member since 1927
  • Escaped to England in 1938
  • Vienna
  • Specialist in internal medicine

Leo Pollak was born in Prague in 1878 as the son of Julius Pollak and his wife Anna, née Kohn.

 

Education and Places of Work

After attending a Prague grammar school, Leo Pollak studied medicine at the German Karl Ferdinand University in Prague, graduating with the state examination and doctorate on 22 May 1902.

Pollak completed his training in internal medicine at the leading clinics in Vienna of that time: He worked as an intern at the I. Medical University Clinic under Hermann Nothnagel, at the University Clinic for Psychiatry and Neurology under Julius Wagner-Jauregg, the Medical University Clinic in Strasbourg under Bernhard Naunyn, and at the Medical Clinic of the University of Munich under Friedrich Müller. He then moved to the Wiedner Spital (district hospital in Vienna’s 4th district Wieden) to the department of internal medicine under Maximilian Sternberg.

At the same time, Pollak worked and conducted research at the biochemical department of the Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Vienna. He habilitated in internal medicine at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna on 12 September 1914. He was appointed professor (extraordinarius) for internal medicine in Vienna on 30 June 1932.

Leo Pollak dealt with questions in the field of metabolic pathology, gout, diabetes mellitus and bronchial asthma. He was one of the first to use insulin in Austria in 1923. He published numerous papers on sugar metabolism and insulin therapy. He lectured on the pathology of the metabolism at the University of Vienna until 1937/38.

Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archiv für experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie 1926
Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archiv für experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie 1926

After the invasion of Austria by the German Wehrmacht in March 1938, Pollak was deprived of all of his offices and expelled from the University of Vienna by the Nazi authorities on 22 April 1938.

 

Escape to England in 1938

Leo Pollak fled to England in 1938. He found temporary employment at a London clinic.

He died in Newmarket, Suffolk, about 100 km north-east of London, on 18 September 1946 at the age of 68.

Leo Pollak lost two sisters, a brother-in-law, and a 34-year-old nephew in the Holocaust.

Publications

  1. Beiträge zur Pathogenese des nephritischen Oedems. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch exp Pathol u Pharmakol 1923; 97: 352-78
  2. Über den Insulingehalt des Pankreas von Diabetikern. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch exp Path Pharmakol 1926; 116(1): 15-34
  3. Mit Basch F. Über das Verhalten Körperfremder Zuckerarten unter Insulinwirkung. I. Mitteilung. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch exp Path Pharmakol 1927; 125: 89-101
  4. Mit H Molitor. Der Zuckerhaushalt der Leber. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch exp Path Pharmakol 1931; 162(4): 488-505