A Fake Typhus

A Fake Typhus


To keep Nazis away, a Polish doctor faked a typhus outbreak. This strategy saved 8,000 people.


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Eugene Lazowski was a Polish medical doctor who saved thousands of people during World War II by creating a fake epidemic that played on German phobias about hygiene. He also used his position as a doctor treating people traveling through a nearby train station to conceal his supply of medicine to Jews in the local Ghetto, which backed on to his home. By doing this, he risked the German death penalty, which was applied to Poles who helped Jews in the Holocaust.

Before the onset of World War II, Eugeniusz ?azowski obtained a medical degree at the Józef Pi?sudski University in Warsaw, Poland. During World War II ?azowski served as a Polish Army Second Lieutenant on a Red Cross train, then as a military doctor of the Polish resistance Home Army. Following the German occupation of Poland ?azowski resided in Rozwadów with his wife and young daughter. ?azowski spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp prior to his arrival in the town, where he reunited with his family and began practicing medicine with his medical-school friend Dr. Stanis?aw Matulewicz.

Using a medical discovery by Matulewicz, that healthy people could be injected with a strain of Proteus that would make them test positive for typhus without experiencing the disease, ?azowski created a fake outbreak of epidemic typhus in and around the town of Rozwadów (now a district of Stalowa Wola), which the Germans then quarantined. This saved an estimated 8,000 people from being sent to German concentration camps during the Holocaust.


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