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    Schönbauer memorial plaque

    The saviour of the General Hospital

    The memorial plaque inaugurated in 1981 can be found in court 1 to the left of the Jahoda Gate. It recalls the doctor Leopold Schönbauer (1888-1963) who is regarded as the saviour of the General Hospital during the liberation of Vienna in 1945. At that time, the General Hospital was situated on the grounds of today’s University Campus.

    Leopold Schönbauer was an important surgeon and recognised cancer research scientist, who founded neurosurgery in Austria and was involved in the first radiation treatment of tumours between the world wars. But above all, he became known as the saviour of the hospital. With “civil courage rather than opportunism”, as it says in his obituaries, Schönbauer negotiated with both the SS troops and the Soviet soldiers to keep the hospital out of the conflict in April, 1945. Immediately afterwards, staff elected Schönbauer as the new director of the hospital. The rescue was the start of his post-war career. He remained director until his retirement in 1961, was rector of Vienna University from 1953 to 1954 and was a parliamentary representative for the Austrian People’s Party.

    Source: Picture collection, Collections and History of Medicine, MedUni Wien
    © Public domain