Returning the names
On October 3, the restored gravestone was officially opened at the burial place of the famous Russian doctor, prosthetist, orthopedist, surgeon and founder of the Leningrad Scientific Research Institute of Prosthetics German Albrecht, at the Cossack cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg.
The gravestone to G.A. Albrecht was installed 86 years ago and has never been restored over the years. But this year, on the 100th anniversary of founding of the Institute of Prosthetics, the leadership of the Federal scientific center for rehabilitation of disabled people named after G. A. Albrecht decided to put it in order.
Since the Center does not have the ability to take on the costs of implementing such projects, the Center’s leadership began to search for indifferent people and organizations ready to take all the restoration works on. It was then that they learned about Pogosyan Grachya Misakovich charitable Foundation, which implements projects aimed at preserving historical memory and returning the names of forgotten heroes of different eras, actively supporting public initiatives aimed at patriotic education of children and youth.
General Director of the Center named after G. A. Albrecht Gennady Ponomarenko spoke in his letter about Albrecht's invaluable contribution to Russian science and medicine, who contributed to the development of the basics of prosthetics, the theory of construction of active hip and shoulder prostheses, orthopedic corsets and shoes.
Of course, preserving the memory of people who have made an invaluable contribution to the development of a specific industry and the country as a whole is of primary importance to Grachya Pogosyan. Given the enormous contribution of German Albrecht to Soviet and Russian science, and the fact that his developments were actively used during the First World War and the Great Patriotic War and allowed thousands of people to return to a full life, Grachya Pogosyan responded to the appeal.
Over the summer, the ravages of time were eliminated and granite slabs together with the obelisk were restored, the base of the monument was raised, reinforced and cemented, the photograph together with inscriptions on the stele were updated. In September, restoration works were completed and the updated gravestone was returned to its place.
The grand opening of the monument took place on October 3.
The opening ceremony was attended by management and employees of the Federal Scientific Center for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities named after G.A. Albrecht, as well as that of Grachya Misakovich Pogosyan Charitable Foundation, representatives of relevant institutes and academies, descendants of German Alexandrovich Albrecht and guests.
Opening the ceremony, Director General of the Federal Scientific Center for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities named after G.A. Albrecht Gennady Ponomarenko spoke about the figure of German Albrecht, about his contribution to Russian medicine and about the difficulties that the Center had to deal with in finding ways to put in order the gravestone of a famous doctor.
I believe that good deeds always find their admirers. And, probably, it is fate that our thoughts and aspirations coincided with those deeds that are implemented by Grachya Misakovich fund, Gennady Nikolayevich Ponomarenko emphasized. For me, as a graduate of the Military Medical Academy, the figure of German Aleksandrovich Albrecht is an example to follow. It so happened that at the beginning of the 20th century, at the time when Russian orthopedics was established, a whole direction was formed at the school of G. I. Turner, and this direction was headed by the man we remember today. He laid the ground for prosthetics not only in the Russian Empire, and then in the Soviet Union, but also at the global level. And it is very good that in the year of the 100th anniversary we found an opportunity to restore the place of his memory by joint efforts. I think that it will be the place that will gather employees of the Center on memorable dates so that we always remember where we come from.
The President of the same-name fund, Grachya Pogosyan, noted in his speech that he was pleased to be aware of that his foundation had touched the personality and history of another great man. He proposed to incorporate an example shown by the Albrecht Center, to all organizations bearing the names of significant people, to focus on putting in order the burials of their founders. He expressed the desire that these projects become state programs.
We see how many famous people are buried nearby, whose great deeds we know from films and books, but whose monuments are in a poor state. And if there was a state program to restore burial places, they would gradually be put in order. We should not leave this burden to our children, said Grachya Pogosyan.
Director of the Institute of orthosis and prosthetics of the (Federal state budgetary institution) Federal scientific center for rehabilitation of disabled people named after G. A. Albrecht, Konstantin Shcherbina also noted the invaluable contribution of Herman Albrecht to Russian medicine and development of the Institute of prosthetics and orthosis. He also recalled the staff members, thanks to which the institute was able to withstand professionally during the years of World War II.
It’s easier for us now: “we stand on the shoulders” of such great founders. But at the same time, we have a great responsibility: we must proudly and effectively raise and carry the strong reputation of our organization, Konstantin Konstantinovich emphasized.
Nikolai Grigoryevich Gubochkin, Head of the Department of hand microsurgery of the Division on Military traumatology and orthopedics named after Turner of the Military medical Academy named after S. M. Kirov, joined the words of his colleague. He noted the special respect for Herman Alexandrovich Albrecht abroad and the admiration of German doctors for the attitude to retain the memory of him in our country.
“Albrecht’s operations are known throughout the world, as is the name of the professor himself. And it’s very good that words were spoken here that the monuments of great people must be restored, maintained and visited, in this case by all generations of current, past and future traumatologists, orthopedists and prosthetists”, said Nikolai Gubochkin. And many thanks to everyone who raised the question of the restoration of the monument to German Alexandrovich Albrecht and, especially, to Grachya Pogosyan Foundation.
Head of scientific direction of the Institute of Prosthetics and Orthosics of Federal Reasearch Instritute for rehabilitation of persons with disabilities (Federal State Budgetary Institution) named after G.A. Albrecht Gennady Nikolayevich Burov supported his colleagues noting a scale to which the methods and technologies in prosthetics and orthosics have changed nowadays, but the foundations laid by Albrecht still serve as a foundation of the doctors' works.
In conclusion, Albrecht’s great-grandson, Daniil Aleksandrovich Katsyubinsky, spoke about how carefully the memory of the great ancestor is preserved in their family and how joyfully they learned about the restoration of the gravestone.
Our family expresses immeasurable gratitude to those who took the initiative and who supported this initiative for the restoration of the monument. This is an important and exciting day for us. Every year I came here and decade after decade I watched how this monument is being destroyed. Unfortunately, it was impossible to do anything during the years of Soviet power, and in the 90s we began to talk on this subject with the leadership of the prosthetics institute. But then the financial situation was very difficult and it was generally a question of whether the institution would survive or not. But the Center has been preserved as well as Albrecht name. And I am very glad that the restoration of the monument has come to a successful ending, ” said Daniil Katsyubinsky.
And thus, red carnations are laid down to the foot of the restored monument to the great Russian doctor, the founder of the Leningrad Research Institute of Prosthetics, and words on memorable ribbons of pink baskets shine gold: “To German Alexandrovich Albrecht from ...” From all those who remember and honor the name of the brilliant doctor of their time who left a bright and indelible mark not only in Russian, but also in world history.
German Aleksandrovich Albrecht was born on September 11, 1878 in Pskov, in the family of an assistant to classroom tutors of Pskov school. After graduating from the Military Medical Academy in 1903, he was “recognized as a doctor with honors” and assigned to the Ryazan Regiment as a junior doctor, and in 1904 he was assigned to the Military Medical Academy to serve as an assistant to the clinical military hospital.
In 1907, he was awarded with a doctorate in medical sciences by conference of the Academy of Sciences after publicly defending a dissertation on the topic “Pathology and therapy of lateral knee curvatures”.
After working for 10 years in the clinic of Professor G.I. Turner, G.A. Albrecht acquired a comprehensive knowledge of orthopedics, which formed the basis of his future activities.
During the First World War, he worked as the chief physician of the hospital and the head of the evacuation center on the North-Western Front (1914-1915). Since 1915 assistant chief physician of the Mariinsky Shelter for war cripples and soldiers with amputations.
Albrecht arrival to the Mariinsky Shelter for war cripples and soldiers with amputations actually determined the fate of this institution. Albrecht introduced the scientific component of the orthopedic industry, in which the medical and technical parts were closely intertwined.
After the October events of 1917, the shelter immediately fell into sight of the new government. At the beginning of 1918 he was transferred from the military department to the People’s Commissariat of Charity. At the same time funds were allocated for the purchase of prosthetic and orthopedic products for supply to crippled citizens of the country, a project was developed and the necessary allocations for the organization of an orthopedic assembly, bandage and boot-orthopedic workshops.
In March 1919, the Petrograd Mariinsky shelter for support of crippled soldiers was renamed to the Institute for the supply of crippled citizens with prosthetic and orthopedic products. Herman Albrecht was appointed to be a Director of the institute, in this position he remained until his death in 1933.
G.A. Albrecht turned the institute into a scientific and methodological center, directly managing the entire practical realization of prosthetics as well as training of personnel for all categories of medical and technical workers.
Since 1922, the institute has become the training base of the Department of Orthopedics, Traumatology and Prosthetics of the Leningrad Institute for Advanced Medical Studies. Advanced training courses for masters-prosthetists of various professions were organized here.
A clinical base for prosthetics and surgical activity a hospital with 30 beds was created in 1928 with the efforts of G.A. Albrecht.
In 1932, the institute received the status of the Scientific Research Institute of Prosthetics (LNIIP “Leningrad research Institute of prosthetics”), and a Department of orthopedics and prosthetics headed by G.A. Albrecht was created at the Institute.