Sir Ludwig "Poppa" Guttmann  (3 July 1899 – 18 March 1980) was a German-born British neurologist who established the Paralympic Games in England. The Jewish doctor, who had fled Nazi Germany just before the start of the Second World War, is considered to be one of the founding fathers of organised physical activities for people with a disability.
Sir Ludwig Guttmann
|Died||18 March 1980 (aged 80)|
|Known for||Founding the Paralympic Games|
|Awards||Fellow of the Royal Society|
Dr Ludwig Guttmann, the eldest child of the family, was born in Tost, within Upper Silesia, Germany (now Toszek, Poland) on 3 July 1899. His family moved when he was three years old to the Silesia city of Königshütte (today Chorzów, Poland).
Guttmann first encountered a patient with a toe injury in 1917, while he was volunteering at the Accident Hospital in Königshutte. The patient was a coal miner who later died of sepsis. Guttmann started his medical studies in April 1918 at the University of Breslau. He transferred to the University of Freiburg in 1919 and received his Doctorate of Medicine in 1924.
By 1933, Guttmann was working in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland) as a neurosurgeon and lecturing at the university. He was considered to be the top neurosurgeon in Germany. With the arrival of the Nazis in power, Jews were banned from practising medicine professionally and he was assigned to work at the Breslau Jewish Hospital, where he became medical director in 1937. Following the violent attacks on Jewish people and properties during Kristallnacht on 9 November 1938, Guttmann ordered his staff to admit any patients without question. The following day he justified his decision on a case-by-case basis with the Gestapo. Out of 64 admissions, 60 patients were saved from arrest and deportation to concentration camps.
Escape to BritainEdit
In early 1939, Guttmann and his family left Germany because of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. An opportunity for escape arose when the Nazis provided him with a visa and ordered him to travel to Portugal to treat a friend of the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar.
Guttmann was scheduled to return to Germany via London, where the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) arranged for him to remain in the UK. He arrived with his wife Else Samuel Guttmann and two children, a son, Dennis and daughter, Eva aged 6 in Oxford, England, on 14 March 1939. CARA, which negotiated with the British Home Office on their behalf, gave Guttmann and his family £250 (equivalent to around £10,000 today) to help settle in Oxford. Guttmann continued his spinal injury research at the Nuffield Department of Neurosurgery in the Radcliffe Infirmary. For the first few weeks after arrival the family resided in the Master's Lodge of Balliol College (with the Master Sandie Lindsay) until they moved into a small semi-detached house in Lonsdale Road. Both children were offered free places by the headmistress of Greycotes School. The family were members of the Oxford Jewish community, and Eva remembers becoming friendly with Miriam Margolyes, now a famous actress. The Jewish community in Oxford was growing rapidly as a result of the influx of displaced academic Jews from Europe.
Stoke Mandeville HospitalEdit
In September 1943, the British government asked Guttmann to establish the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. When the centre opened on 1 February 1944, the United Kingdom's first specialist unit for treating spinal injuries, Guttmann was appointed its director (a position he held until 1966). He believed that sport was an important method of therapy for the rehabilitation of injured military personnel, helping them build up physical strength and self-respect.
Guttmann became a naturalised British citizen in 1945. He organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled war veterans, which was held at the hospital on 29 July 1948, the same day as the opening of the London Olympics. All participants had spinal cord injuries and competed in wheelchairs. In an effort to encourage his patients to take part in national events, Guttmann used the term Paraplegic Games. These came to be known as the "Paralympic Games", which later became the "Parallel Games" and grew to include other disabilities.
By 1952, more than 130 international competitors had entered the Stoke Mandeville Games. As the annual event continued to grow, the ethos and efforts by all those involved started to impress the organisers of the Olympic Games and members of the international community. At the 1956 Stoke Mandeville Games, Guttmann was awarded the Sir Thomas Fearnley Cup by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his meritorious achievement in service to the Olympic movement through the social and human value derived from wheelchair sports.
His vision of an international games the equivalent of the Olympic Games themselves was realised in 1960 when the International Stoke Mandeville Games were held alongside the official 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Known at the time as the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games, and organised with the support of the World Federation of Ex-servicemen (an International Working Group on Sport for the Disabled), they are now recognised as the first Paralympic Games. (The term "Paralympic Games" was retroactively applied by the International Olympic Committee in 1984.)
Guttmann founded the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (now the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS)) in 1961, and was inaugural president of the society, a position that he held until 1970. He became the first editor of the journal, Paraplegia (now named Spinal Cord). He retired from clinical work in 1966 but continued his involvement with sport.
He suffered a heart attack in October 1979 and died on 18 March 1980 at the age of 80.
In June 2012, a statue of Guttmann was unveiled at Stoke Mandeville as part of the run up to the London 2012 Summer Paralympics and Olympic Games. Guttmann's daughter, Eva Loeffler, was appointed the mayor of the London 2012 Paralympic Games athletes' village.
In August 2012, the BBC broadcast The Best of Men, a TV film about Guttmann's work at Stoke Mandeville during and after the Second World War. The film, written by Lucy Gannon, starred Eddie Marsan as Dr. Guttmann and Rob Brydon as one of the seriously injured patients, who were given a purpose in life by the doctor.
The Sir Ludwig Guttmann Centre is an NHS facility providing GP, Orthopaedic and Sports and Exercise Medicine outpatient services as well as imaging on the site of the 2012 Olympic village.
The Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lectureship was established by the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (now ISCoS) to recognize Guttmann's pioneering work and lifelong contribution to spinal cord care.
As "Neurological Surgeon in charge of the Spinal Injuries Centre at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital, Stoke Mandeville", he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1950 King's Birthday Honours. On 28 June 1957, he was made an Associate Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint John.
On 24 October 2013, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) at the National Spinal Injuries Centre to honour Guttmann's life and work. As an active member of the AJR, he had served on the board for over 25 years.
- 1959. The Place of Our Spinal Paraplegic Fellow-Man in Society: A Survey on 2000 Patients. Dame Georgina Buller Memorial Lecture.
- 1973. Spinal Cord Injuries: Comprehensive Management and Research. Blackwell Science. ISBN 978-0-632-09680-0.
- 1973. "Sport and Recreation for the Mentally and Physically Handicapped" in The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. 1973; 93(4): 208–21, PMID 4276814.
- 1976. Textbook of Sport for the Disabled. Aylesbury: HM+M. ISBN 978-0-85602-055-1
- Whitteridge, David (1983). "Ludwig Guttmann. 3 July 1899 – 18 March 1980". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 29: 226–226. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1983.0010. JSTOR 769803.
- "Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann". poppaguttmanncelebration.org. The Poppa Guttmann Trust. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- GRO – Register of Deaths – MAR 1980 19 1000 AYLESBURY, Ludwig Guttmann, DoB = 3 July 1899
- "Guttmann, Sir Ludwig (1899–1980)". Wellcome Library. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- Bedbrook, G. (1982). "International Medical Society of Paraplegia first Ludwig Guttmann Memorial Lecture". Paraplegia. 20 (1): 1–17. doi:10.1038/sc.1982.1. PMID 7041053.
- Ross, J. C.; Harris, P. (1980). "Tribute to Sir Ludwig Guttmann". Paraplegia. 18 (3): 153–156. doi:10.1038/sc.1980.27. PMID 6997807.
- Rossier, A. B.; Fam, B. A. (1979). "From intermittent catheterisation to catheter freedom via urodynamics: A tribute to Sir Ludwig Guttmann". Paraplegia. 17 (1): 73–85. doi:10.1038/sc.1979.17. PMID 492753.
- Scruton, J. (1979). "Sir Ludwig Guttmann: Creator of a world sports movement for the paralysed and other disabled". Paraplegia. 17 (1): 52–55. doi:10.1038/sc.1979.13. PMID 158734.
- "AJR Honors Sir Ludwig Guttmann". holocaustremembrance.com. IHRA. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Stoke Mandeville – the village that gave birth to the Paralympic movement". itv.com. 28 August 2012.
- "Paralympics founder Sir Ludwig Guttmann's legacy celebrated in BBC drama". The Daily Telegraph. 3 August 2012.
- "How CARA helped Ludwig Guttmann, Father of the Paralympics". cara1933.org. CARA. 2012. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014.
- Kinchin, Perilla (2006). Seven Roads in Summertown: Voices from an Oxford Suburb. White Cockade Publishing. pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-187348713-6.
- Jackson, Freda Silver (1992). Then and Now: A collection of recollections: to commemorate the 150th anniversary Oxford Jewish Congregation, 1842–1992. Oxford Jewish Congregation. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-9519253-1-7.
- "Interview with Eva Loeffler, April 2011" (PDF). mandevillelegacy.org.uk. Buckinghamshire County Council. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- Druzin, Randi (5 September 2008). "Paralympics traces roots to Second World War". CBC.ca. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Vanlandewijck, Yves C.; Thompson, Walter R., eds. (2011). ""Chapter 1: Background to the Paralytic movement"". The Paralympic Athlete: Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science (Olympic Handbook of Sports Medicine). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4443-3404-3.
- "History of the Paralympic Movement". paralympic.org. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- "About ISCoS – ISCoS Presidents". iscos.org.uk. International Spinal Cord Society. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
- "About ISCoS – Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lecture". iscos.org.uk. International Spinal Cord Society. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- Bailey, Steve (2008). Athlete First: A history of the Paralympic Movement. John Wiley & Sons. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-470-05824-4.
- "Stoke Mandeville Stadium". stokemandevillestadium.co.uk/. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- "The Institution – History". Institut Guttmann. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
- Jaffer, Nabeelah (9 June 2012). "The Olympians: Margaret Maughan, Great Britain". Financial Times Magazine.
- "Paralympics Games: Founder Ludwig Guttmann would be 'proud'". BBC News. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "No. 38929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1950. pp. 2786–2787.
- "No. 41122". The London Gazette. 9 April 1957. pp. 4097–4098.
- Goodman, Susan (1986). Spirit of Stoke Mandeville: The Story of Sir Ludwig Guttmann. London: Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-217341-4.
- Medawar, Jean; Pyke, David (2012). Hitler's Gift: The True Story of the Scientists Expelled by the Nazi Regime (Paperback). New York: Arcade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61145-709-4.
- Rogan, Matt (2010). Britain and the Olympic Games: Past, Present, Legacy. Matador. ISBN 978-1-84876-575-7.
- Scruton, Joan (1998). Stoke Mandeville: Road to the Paralympics. Aylesbury: The Peterhouse Press. ISBN 978-0-946312-10-8.
- Silver, John Russell (2003). History of the Treatment of Spinal Injuries. Springer. ISBN 978-0-306-48032-4.
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