6 Names: Bergmann, Dehio, Fowelin, Manteuffel, Meisel (Maizels), Wahl
Some information about the investigations of leprosy in the Baltic provinces can be found in the book /800 gadi/. Harald Fowelin writes in his report on history of the Society of doctors practicing in Rīga that von Wahl and later Dehio in Tartu [Dorpat] should be honored for the success in the study of leprosy. The same was true for Adolf von Bergmann in Riga, who in 1884 published his first reports on the observations of leprosy cases in our homeland. It is possible to see the quality of these investigations from frequent references to the papers in the foreign scientific publications of that time. A. v. Bergmann not only studied leprosy but all his life cared on lepers.
F.Szoege von Manteuffel, who was a Docent (associated professor) in Tartu [Dorpat] university, wrote a booklet about leprosy (1891) and about the need to organize leper hospitals in the Baltic provinces. In this booklet I found information about one of his leprosy patients. Initially I included this story in the review of regulations concerning the Pale of settlement for Jews but later decided to make a separate Page on leprosy and to copy this story also in this Page.
This patient - a Jew Abram Meisel of 60, whose medical treatment seemed successful, was sent back to his home. Some months later he returned to Tartu hospital, because he did not want to infect his family. F.Szoege von Manteuffel wished to say about the tragedy of a human being, who left the family for ever, and said nothing how A.Meisel traveled to the hospital in Tartu that was outside the Pale and, according to the general legal principles, a Jew was not permitted to get there without special permission. As it is clear from the booklet, there were no leper hospitals in the Baltic provinces (in 1891), and so A.Meisel was condemned to be on the tramp begging for charity like other lepers, which again was not allowed for him outside the Pale, but I do not think the Police was happy to chase any lepers.
The Encyclopedia /LKV/ informs that in 1908 there were 862 lepers in Vidzeme [Livland] and 189 from them lived in leper hospitals, 176 lepers were in Kurzeme [Kurland] and 140 of them lived in leper hospitals. Evidently the leper hospitals were organized at the very end of the 19th century and may be some of them at the beginning of the 20th century. Totally in Vidzeme there were 5 leper hospitals and in Kurzeme 4 ones at that time (1908).
In 1934 there were in Latvia 2 leper hospitals and 209 patients lived there - 69 men, 137 women, 3 children. Data from the book Tautas veselības statistika 1934 (Statistics of public health 1934). In 1938 remained only one of the hospitals. I can inform you that one leper hospital still exists in Latvia now, and about 30 individuals are living there, if I remember the newspaper information correctly.
© Bruno Martuzāns. 1995-2002