Eugene Lazowski

Eugene Lazowski born Eugeniusz Sławomir Łazowski (1913 in Częstochowa, Poland – December 16, 2006 in Eugene, Oregon, United States) was a Polish medical doctor who saved thousands of people during World War II by creating a fake epidemic which played on German phobias about hygiene. He also used his position as a doctor treating people travelling through a nearby train station to conceal his supply of medicine to Jews in the local ghetto, which backed on to his home. By doing this, he risked the death penalty, which was applied to Poles who helped Jews in the Holocaust.

Eugeniusz Łazowski
Eugeniusz Łazowski, Poland
Eugeniusz Łazowski, Poland
Born1913 (1913)
DiedDecember 16, 2006(2006-12-16) (aged 92–93)
Alma materJózef Piłsudski University

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 strain of Proteus 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 people from being sent to German concentration camps during the Holocaust.[1]

Later life

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.[2]

Lazowski retired from practice in the late 1980s. He died in 2006 in Eugene, Oregon, where he had been living with his daughter.[3]

In popular culture

In 2001, Ryan Bank began work on documentary about Lazowski entitled A Private War, filming Lazowski's visit to Poland and recorded testimonies of people whose families were saved by the fake epidemic.[4] There is no evidence that the film was ever completed or released.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Chicago Sun-Times, Dec 20, 2006.
  4. ^ Paula Davenport, Media & Communication Resources, "Life Preserver". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External links