Baginsky, Adolf (1843-1918)

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BAGINSKY, ADOLF (1843-1918)

Adolf Baginsky, a German pediatrician, was born May 22, 1843, in Ratibor (formerly in Upper Silesia, modern-day Poland) and died May 15, 1918, in Berlin. Baginsky came from a large family of Jewish shopkeepers. He studied medicine in Berlin and Vienna, and obtained his diploma in Berlin on May 7, 1866. His dissertation was on the risks of cesarean birth. He specialized in pediatrics and, in 1872, settled in Berlin as director of a free clinic for children, the Johannisstrasse. In 1877 he founded the Central-Zeitung für Kinderheilkunde (Central Journal of Pediatrics), which, in 1879, became the Archiv für Kinderheilkunde (Archives of Pediatrics).

He was assigned to a teaching position in 1882 after publishing a work on pediatrics as an autonomous specialization, but, outside of a few courses on pediatrics given during his vacations, his university position was precarious. Cofounder and, after 1890, director of the Kaiser- und Kaiserin-Friedrick-Kinderkrankenhaus (The Emperor and Emperess Friedrich Pediatric Hospital) in Berlin-Wedding, which he ran until April 1, 1898, he was named associate professor in 1892, then held the chair in 1907.

Following a period of study in Paris, Sigmund Freud spent the month of March 1886 at the Baginsky clinic, where he acquired a good understanding of children's diseases in order to prepare for his work as "sector head" in the first public institution for childhood diseases in Vienna.

Baginsky's work is extremely varied, ranging from medical care for sick children to initiatives for socio-medical prevention (including open air schools, educational medicine, and milk distribution). His work bears the mark of a profound humanitarian ideal. Although his religious beliefs became an obstacle to his academic career, he remained actively engaged in the Jewish community. His research reflects all the richness of his various activities; as an editor he was especially attentive to the psychic disturbances of childhood.

Johann Georg Reicheneder

See also: Institut Max-Kassowitz.


Bonomi, C. (1994). Why have we ignored Freud the "Paediatrician?" Cahiers psychiatriques genevois, Special Issue, 55-99.

Reicheneder, J. G. (1994). Freud in Berlin 1886. Luzifer-Amor, 7, 7-16.

Schlossmann, A. (1919). Nachruf auf Adolf Baginsky. Arch. Kinderheilkunde, 67, 1-6.

Zlocisti, T. (1913). Adolf Baginsky. Ost und West. 561-564.