Semmelweis University and the Budapest University Catholic Secondary School and Dormitory set up a Semmelweis statue in the school of the famous physician, the savior of mothers on the occasion of the Semmelweis Memorial Year. The work was unveiled on 15th April.

In her opening speech, Józsefné Endrédi, Director of the Budapest University Catholic Secondary School and Dormitory, emphasized that the oldest secondary school of Budapest can boast with a lot of famous former students and teachers. As she said, saluting the great predecessors is very important for the school, so there are several monuments in the building, including the statue that has now been unveiled. She emphasized the importance of the role of the family and asked students and teachers to read the eternal thoughts engraved in the statue with special gratitude, as Ignác Semmelweis’ only goal was to “save the wife to her husband, the mother for her child”. Finally, she thanked Semmelweis University for placing the monument there.

Ignac Semmelweis is an emblem, a symbol of persistence, perseverance, vocation, ingenuity and innovation, who serves as an eternal example not only for the medical community but for all new generations, said Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University, adding that he teaches us if we believe in something and have knowledge for that, then let us move towards our goals, stand out for them immovably. As the Rector believed, this inspirational message is transmitted by Semmelweis, through a statue made by Sándor Györfi Kossuth Prize winner sculptor, from today to students who can study among the same walls today as Ignác Semmelweis did earlier.

The Rector said that the Budapest University Catholic Secondary School and Dormitory, founded more than 330 years ago, and Semmelweis University, which celebrates soon its 250th anniversary of its existence, have honored with the unveiling of the sculpture of the former student, former head of department and university denominator, who is among the ten most famous and innovative doctors of the world’s.

The denominator of our university, Ignác Semmelweis, also inspires us to move towards our goals with innovative approach and determination worthy of his name and spirit. We also pay salute afore him, when we determine how the medical university of the future will be, and we say that the Hungarian medical training will be renewed and become more practice-oriented in the anniversary, said Dr. Béla Merkely. “They can only be prepared for a sick bed at sick beds; the disease itself will educate them, not just the teacher who is explaining the disease, ” Dr. Merkely quoted Lajos Markusovszky’s words. According to the Rector, the goal of the university with the name of the mother’s savior should allow the Hungarian people to get benefit from the best medical, healthcare, pharmaceutical or conductive care. Dr. Béla Merkely emphasized that the name Semmelweis is a historical trademark that obliges its wearer to provide the highest quality in education, scientific performance and healing service.

After the blessing of the sculpture, Domokos Jánosa parish priest reminded that the secondary school is entitled to own Ignác Semmelweis’ personality with reason, and they are proud of him sacrificing his life for saving mothers. As he recalled, Semmelweis had a tragic walk of life, his discovery was realised late. He prayed to God, thanking the eternal example, which “lights for all generations.” He added that it makes sense to learn, to cultivate science; Semmelweis was not only one of the school’s students but an eternal exemplar.

Sándor Győrfi, a Kossuth Prize winner sculptor, thanked for the invitation and he said that his work was inspired by the good doctor who paid salute to women and mothers with love and respect while he was trying to save everyone. As he said, Semmelweis is an example of how to serve the community in the area where we work.

Dr. László Rosivall, chairman of the Semmelweis Memorial Committee, finally said that the unveiling of the sculptures on the occasion of the memorial year is a retrospection of the past, making it easier for us to understand the future. He pointed out that Semmelweis’ doctrines are still valid today. He added: “our future depends on the healthy mothers who fulfil their holy duty.” To follow Semmelweis’ thoughts is joy, glory and duty – he added.

On behalf of the Semmelweis Memorandum Committee, Dr. László Rosivall emphasized on our website, that he thanks Péter Csernyák, a staff member of the 1st Department of Paediatrics, for drawing attention to the fact that the most famous Hungarian doctor of the world had spent his years among the walls of the University Catholic Secondary School and for helping the realisation of the sculpture. According to the chairman of the Memorial Committee, one of the secrets of the rich programs and commemorations of the memorial year is that, based on the committee’s request, everyone continued the celebration and commemoration widely in his own area in Hungary and abroad. For example, more than 20,000 schoolchildren could hear a commemorative lecture from medical students about Semmelweis, and the Semmelweis contemporary opera will be performed in Cluj-Napoca and Târgu-Mureş by the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre. The 21 Semmelweis statues unveiled in 15 countries on 4 continents not only commemorate the memory and greatness of the medical scientist for the next centuries, but also convey the reputation of the 250-year-old Semmelweis University throughout the world, added dr. László Rosivall.

Photos: Iván-Szabó Balázs