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Rudolf Weigel


Rudolf Weigel, born in 1883 in Przerowa in Austrian family

Rudolf Weigel began researching the typhoid vaccine during World War I. Subsequent scientific successes tied him to Lviv, where he developed an effective and world-recognized vaccine for typhus fever. During the German occupation of Lviv which began in 1941, he managed to gain considerable autonomy for the scientific institute and save many scientists by employing them. He was posthumously recognized as the Righteous Among the Nations. Professor Weigel was repeatedly forced to sign the Deutsche Volksliste (German People’s List) in exchange for taking up a profession in Berlin. Every time, he rejected such polarizing attempts.

His response to one of the attempts at pressuring him to sign the list coming from SS chief Heydrich Himmler was: “As a biologist, I know the phenomenon of death and often ponder about death because life has become so hopeless and sad. So you can do me a favor and kill me, or you have to accept me as Polish professor of Polish nationality.”