Intended for healthcare professionals


Julius Hoenig

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 11 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3715
  1. M L D Fernando,
  2. Uma Sirinivasan

    Julius Hoenig (“John”) was a great teacher and researcher who inspired many psychiatrists in Canada to follow in his footsteps. He was born on 11 April 1913 in Falkinow, a town near Prague in Czechoslovakia, to a Jewish family. From early childhood he showed exceptional intelligence, initiative, and a wide range of interests. In high school he was even arrested for espousing the cause of striking miners and banned from the local school. After leaving school in Prague, he entered medical school there, fleeing to England during his final year as Hitler’s army marched into Czechoslovakia. He joined the refugee community in Glasgow, Scotland, and against all odds completed his medical education there. He met and married Inge Greve, who had left Berlin in the Kindertransport programme to save Jewish children.

    After graduating, John joined the British Army Medical Corps and was shipped off to join the British Indian Army after some time in India. His unit marched to Rangoon, the capital of Burma, and then reached Singapore by sea. The Japanese were retreating. He spent several months treating wounded soldiers from both sides, as well as civilians needing medical help. When the second world war was over he was sent back to England and demobilized. As news began to arrive from Europe, John and Inge realised that those of their family who were not allowed to leave had been liquidated in concentration camps, including …

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