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Prominent Poles

Karol Marcinkowski (aka Jan Karol Marcinkowski)– physician, civic leader, philantropist , November Rising hero

Statue of Karol Marcinkowski, physician

Born:   June 23, 1800, Posen (Prussian partition of Poland, presently Poznan, Poland)

Died:   November 6, 1846, Dabrowka Ludomska (Prussian partition of Poland, presently Poland)

Early days. Father- Jozef, mother- Agnieszka. In 1817 Marcinkowski passed high school final exams („matura”) in Maria Magdalena Gimnazjum in Poznan. He then went to Berlin to study medicine. During his studies he belonged to an underground organization Polonia . When this organization was discovered by the Prussians Marcinkowski was arrested and kept for about a year in the TWIERDZA Wisloujscie. Released in 1923 he returned to Berlin where he got the doctorate in 1823.

Initial work. After returning to Poznan he started working in the city hospital and also opened his private practice as a surgeon and a gynecologist. In short time he gained a very good reputation .

November 1830 Rising. In December 1830 he went to Warsaw to participate in the November Rising against the Russians. He was assigned to the Gen. Chlapowski’s unit. After the Rising’s defeat he was interned in East Prussia, escaped to England and later to France. In Paris he was active in the “Stowarzyszenie Naukowej Pomocy.” (Society for Educational Help). In 1834 he decided to return to Poznan. Soon thereafter he was arrested and served a prison term in Swidnica as a penalty for participation in the November Rising. He was released in 1837 thanks to the efforts of both Polish like Prussian authorities on Poznan suffering then from a cholera epidemics.

Later work. Karol Marcinkowski was one of the first physicians in Poznań to auscultate his patients. He also made himself name for cholera treatment - the disease plaguing then not only Poznań. He was an excellent leader and organizer (initiated the construction of the hotel “Bazar” in 1838 and established the Educational Assistance Association in 1841). He was the family doctor of the head of the province and had extensive connections with landowners but at the same time he was highly popular or even worshipped among the poorest social groups. It is worth adding that it was Karol Marcinkowski- he was probably a free mason- who established in 1845 the Association to Support the Poor in Poznań. In addition, the Educational Assistance Association for the Youth in the Great Poznań Dutchy also established by Karol Marcinkowski was an unprecedented initiative in Poland. Owing to the foundation which was focusing on searching for talented young people among poor families and facilitating their further education, it was possible to offer financial support to as many as 6,500 grant holders, thus increasing the number of sparse Poznań intelligentsia. Karol Marcinkowski was also involved in the work of the city council and was an ardent supporter of the foundation of a Polish theatre in Poznań. Wide - ranging activities of Karol Marcinkowski influenced the shape of the 19th century Polish society in the Prussian partition of Poland. Karol Marcinkowski died of tuberculosis in 1846. His last will, in which he requested a modest funeral, was not fulfilled and about 20,000 people mourned his death. He was buried at St. Wojciech church in Poznan.

Honors and awards. 1830 Cross Virtuti Military for his service during November Rising . Several institutions bear the name of Karol Marcinkowski: a Secondary School at Bukowska Poznan, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, hospital in Gostyn, hospital in Zielona Gora, a park in Ostrow Wielkopolski. As of 29 June 2005, Poznań boasts as many as two monuments of this famous Wielkopolska Region inhabitant.

Based on an article that appeared in Wikipedia
(all text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)
Wikipedia (in Polish)

supplemented with information from other sources:
Poznan, Facts and Figures

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