Mysteries on the museum shelf

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Mysteries on the museum shelf


On October 8th 1945, the Medical Academy in Gdańsk was officially founded. This date is familiar to the students, employees and graduates of our University. One of the MUG traditions is to celebrate the start of each academic year on this anniversary date.

So the obvious question is: has the first academic year on our campus also began on October 8th? The answer might be surprising. The 1945/1946 academic year began late, on February 2nd 1946. On the original photographs from that event, the auditorium (since then rebuilt) is filled with many guests. Rector prof. Edward Grzegorzewski and the members of the Faculty Board are seated behind a large table. They are dressed in dark suits because the tradition of wearing ceremonial togas did not begin until several years later, based on the toga brought from Vilnus by prof. Kornel Michejda. Everything was just beginning…

Rector Grzegorzewski, Minister of Health Franciszek Litwin and Major-General Bolesław Szarecki (head of the Department of Health Service at the Ministry of Defense) all delivered speeches. After the ceremony, they left the auditorium via the main entrance. This moment was captured on photograph, probably by Henryk Nowak.

The student ID card and indeks book of Włodzimierz Sobieniecki, who started his medical studies in the 1945/1946 academic year, shows February 4th 1946 as the official start date of his studies. However, the classes actually began in autumn of 1945, although in very difficult conditions. There was no running water and electricity in the Academy’s buildings and more than 75% of its windows were broken during the war. Visiting professor Jack Adams-Ray noted this in his memoirs from Gdańsk, “piercing cold weather, temperatures inside lecture halls sometimes below 0°Celsius.”

In the collection of the MUG Museum you can find the above-mentioned documents, the student ID card and indeks book of Włodzimierz Sobieniecki, future graduate and physician. Both documents were donated by Dorota Sobieniecka.

On the 8th day of each month, in memory of our University’s founding day, we present a specially selected exhibit from the MUG Museum. After one year, all these chosen exhibits will be presented at a special exhibition marking the European Day of Academic Heritage, celebrated on November 18th.