Intended for healthcare professionals


Janusz Bardach

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 19 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:906

A plastic surgeon who survived imprisonment in the Siberian gold mines

Janusz Bardach was forced to dig his grave and sleep in it the night before a court martial, where conviction was certain. He escaped death, survived years in Stalin's gulag, and became a famous plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He developed innovative techniques for cleft lip and palate repair, working in Poland and then in the United States as head of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Iowa's Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

Dr Bardach was born into a Jewish family in Odessa, Russia, in 1919. A year later his father moved the family back to his native Poland. When Bardach was a young man, newly married to his high school sweetheart, the second world war broke out. Poland was overrun and he was conscripted into the Red Army. An incident driving a …

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