Our famous physicians

Dr. Vilmos Schulhof (1874-1944)

Dr. Vilmos Schulhof was born in Budapest on 10th June 1874. He received his medical degree in Budapest in 1897, afterwards he spent his hospital internship in Berlin, then in Budapest in the formerly called Institute of health for labourers (Általános Munkáspénztár Gyógyintézete), and after from 1901 to 1905 he worked in Lukács Thermal Bath in Budapest before he moved to Hévíz. From 1906 he was a practicing physician in Hévíz specializing in bath therapy. Jr. Vencel Reischl the tenant of the bath in Hévíz realised to his monumental development plans he needed a physician specializing in bath therapy, whose life’s work was to improve this type of treatment and whose habitual residence during the bathing season Hévíz was. For this reason, in 1906 he signed a contract with Vilmos Schulhof (1874-1944) and in House no. 6 (since 1911 Franz Joseph’s House) he provided a doctor’s office, where he could practice as a physician specializing in balneotherapy. Dr. Vilmos Schulhof’s life was adjusted to the bathing season in Hévíz. During the season that started on the 1st of May and ended on the 30th September he practiced in Hévíz and after that he went back to Budapest. In addition to bathing, patients received other types of treatments as well. Among these mud bath treatment and massage therapy were the most common. In the sanatorium under the direction of Dr. Vilmos Schulhof patients could also get electrotherapy. The beneficial effects of balneotherapy were completed with thermotherapy (heat therapy) and dietotherapy as needed. To build stronger bones physicians recommended for patients with musculoskeletal diseases a so-called ‘dairy products regimen’ treatment. The location of this treatment was in the Japanese pagoda-shaped Dairy Building built in 1910 at the bath’s promenade. The form of the therapy that was introduced in 1911 by Dr. Vilmos Schulhof was the so-called Zander therapy. Schulhof was the first rheumatologist and balneologist, who placed balneotherapy on a scientific basis. He recognized very early the importance of the gymnastic therapy developed by a Swedish physician Dr. Gustav Zander, and in 1911 Schulhof gave up his work in Sorg Sanatorium, and established his own Zander-Therapy Center at the location of the bath in Hévíz, in which he installed electrotherapeutic laboratory and radiography equipment. This type of therapy center was the second in Europe, as the first one had been established in Karlsbad in the Czech Republic. His scientific publications were published in national and international medical journals, and the questions he raised discuss still current issues in balneotherapy. These articles appeared in „Magyar Balneológiai Értesítő” (Hungarian Balneology Report), „Budapesti Orvosi Újság” (Hungarian Medical Journal), „Gyógyászat” (Therapy) and in the journal „Zeitschrift für Balneologie” in Berlin. From 1938 dr. Vilmos Schulhof had setbacks in his life. Antisemitism gained ground in the Hungarian political life. Antisemitic laws were established subsequently in the first place based on religious then on racial grounds. Although Dr. Vilmos Schulhof continued his work in Hévíz, he could not present his knowledge during professional discussions and his scientific articles were only written for the desk drawer. In May 1944 the deportation of Jews from rural areas and their transportation to German concentration camps begun. Residents of the ghetto in Keszthely including Jews from Hévíz as well as dr. Vilmos Schulhof were transported to a transit camp in Zalaegerszeg at the end of June 1944, from where at the beginning of July 1944 groups of Jews were sent to the extermination camps in Auschwitz.

Lajos Cséby (1867-1946)

In 1911, Lajos Cséby, a pharmacist in Keszthely opened the pharmacy consisting of two rooms named Lótusz in front of the lake bath’s entrance, which was located in the newly built Franz Joseph’s House (House no. 6). The pharmacist not only managed to equip the pharmacy with all modern facilities and a wide range of products, but also set up a proper pharmacy that operated from the 15th of May until the 15th of September every year. The pharmacy’s green interior attracted customers’ attention and it received compliments several times. The pharmacy had a free patio at its entrance, where white garden furniture was available for the guests. After receiving his pharmacist diploma the management of the Cséby-pharmacy was taken over from 1927 by his son, by Géza Cséby (1903-1957).


Dr. Károly Moll (1889-1982)

Károly Moll was born on the 7th of September, in Simaság, Sopron County. His father Vilmos Moll was the manorial magistrate of Prince Hohenlohe’s Trencsén property, and after his death the family moved to Bratislava. Károly Moll graduated from the evangelical lyceum in Bratislava, then he received his medical degree from the University of Budapest in 1913. In his medical internship he already worked in Pöstyén thermal bath during the summer of 1912 and 1913; during World War I he was a military physician first on the eastern front, then near Piave River in Italy. He was held in captivity from where he returned home in the autumn of 1918. He recommenced his therapeutic work in the Internal Medicine Clinic at the University of Budapest. He passed the specialist trainings in internal medicine, neurology and rheumatology. He started to work in the bathing season, from the summer of 1920 as a medical spa physician in Hévíz, where he could utilize his experience previously gathered in Pösvény bath. Between 1927 and 1939 he worked in Budapest MÁV Kórház (Hungarian State Railways Hospital), where the department of naturopathic medicine and rheumatology were established and led by him. Meanwhile his interest increasingly shifted towards thermal baths, especially towards the one in Hévíz. From 1932 dr. Károly Moll became the chief physician of Hévíz Thermal Bath and St. Andrew's Hospital. His doctor’s office was in villa Ella.
Dr. Károly Moll gained reputation for himself and Hévíz in the field of European balneology with his hard work in recognizing and examining the bath’s beneficial effects. Dr. Vilmos Schulhof and dr. Károly Moll became good friends. Following the principles established by dr. Vilmos Schulhof they developed together the medicinal bath’s therapy in Hévíz. Dr. Károly Moll participated in several scientific conferences, he was a member of the National Peloid Committee (medicinal mud). In the 1920s and 1930s he continued his dedicated work promoting scientifically the medicinal bath in Hévíz. In 1939 he became the general secretary of the Balneology Association; 1943 he moved to Hévíz for good and became the director of the sanatorium for rheumatologic diseases. In 1950 he was appointed to be the deputy director of the State Medical Bath Hospital, and head physician of the rheumatology department.
In 1953 the traction bath (or weight bath) therapy was developed in Hévíz. The traction bath that was developed by him made the medical bath in Hévíz more famous not only in Hungary but also abroad; the traction bath therapy was presented in scientific literature as well as the cure for back pain, spinal disc herniation and sciatica. Dr. Károly Moll retired in 1968; then he ran his private practice. He achieved significant results in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. He worked hard to develop the medicinal bath in Hévíz, and to promote the water’s therapeutic effect not only in Hungary but also abroad. He was given many prizes for his work; the town of Hévíz awarded him posthumously honorary citizenship, and one of the city’s squares was named after him.

Dr. Mrs. Károly Moll, dr. Ilona Hoffman (1909-2008)

Wife of dr. Károly Moll, dr. Ilona Hoffman, first female physician of Hévíz was born on the 5th of August in 1909 in Keszthely. She received her medical degree at the Erzsébet University of Pécs in June 1934. From 1934 she worked in Hévíz every summer. The first female rheumatologist of the medicinal bath met dr. Károly Moll in 1934 during her summer work as a medicinal bath physician and in 1935 they got married. She joined her husband in the Hungarian State Railways Hospital in Budapest. That was the only rheumatology department in Hungary, where rheumatology could only be studied. She spent three years at the clinic of general internal medicine, then two years in the rheumatology department. From 1941 she worked in Sanatorium Szieszta, then after the war they settled down in Hévíz for good. She worked as chief physician of Postás Üdülő until her retirement.

Dr. Ödön Schulhof (1896-1978)

Dr. Ödön Schulhof (1896-1978) rheumatologist, radiologist and balneologist was born in Budapest on the 20th of March 1896. He lost his parents at an early age, and then he was raised by his brother, Vilmos. Vilmos and Ödön were half-siblings to each other, as they shared the same father (Samu Schulhof) but different mothers. Vilmos was 22 years older than his brother, and as a young graduate physician all of a sudden, he had to support his younger brother. For Ödön he not only meant his brother, but he also replaced his father. Vilmos’s personality and vocation had a great impact on Ödön, thus he also became a medical doctor. He received his medical diploma at the Budapest Medical University in 1918. He started his medical practice as an intern at the university’s 1st internal medicine clinic, where his colleagues appointed him the secretary of trade union. This public appearance had its throwback, thus after the downfall of the Republic of Councils in Hungary he had to leave the university clinic. He went abroad, and from 1919 until 1923 he worked in Berlin, where he worked at the radiology institute and orthopedic clinic. His expertise in these two areas proved later to be extremely productive. He returned to Hungary in 1923, and recommenced work at his brother’s Zander Therapy Center in Hévíz. He was familiar with Zander therapy, since as a student he had already worked in the institute in 1912. As a result of his experiences in Hévíz, balneological-rheumatological work became his life goal. Dr. Ödön Schulhof the younger brother of dr. Vilmos Schulhof was the longest practicing physician in Hévíz, and he was the first Hungarian physician to specialize in radiology, who performed detailed bone and joint X-rays as well. After World War II, the medical management of the medical bath was practiced by dr. Ödön Schulhof, who had his doctor’s office in the Zander Therapy Center. He worked there until 1948 as a radiologist and as a physician specialized in physical therapy; he became head of laboratory diagnostic examinations and he was at first his brother’s colleague, later his deputy and successor. After 1945 he re-established and managed the Hungarian Balneology Association. In the National Institute of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy (ORFI), where he was scientific director for a long time, he established the training of treating rheumatism and its related illnesses. He was among the first, who urged the therapeutic use of Hungarian thermal waters and medicinal baths. In many of his printed publications in balneology, physical therapy and rheumatology, he paid particular attention for the scientific research of Lake Hévíz.

Dr. Ferenc Mikolics (1897-1964)

Dr. Ferenc Mikolics was born on January 29, 1897 in Söjtör, Zala County, into a farming family. He started secondary school in Zalaegerszeg. After completing grade 6, he had to join the forces in 1915. Soon he got injured and while being treated, he graduated in 1917. He entered the College of Veterinary Science in Budapest in 1918, where he got a veterinarian certificate in 1922, then in 1923 he received his doctor’s degree in veterinary medicine. He also completed the University of Economics and the Economics Academy in Keszthely as well. He gained professional experiences during study visits on abroad, thus he visited many universities and scientific institutions in Europe. With his contribution the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis from the southern waters of North America) was introduced into the ecosystem of the lake in Hévíz in 1939 to eradicate the larvae of the malaria mosquito. In 1935 the village of Hévízszentandrás was obliged by the Minister of Agriculture to hire a veterinarian. This decree was quickly fulfilled by the municipality; at a city council meeting held on May 16th 1936 dr. Ferenc Mikolics was appointed to perform this task. Dr. Mikolics performed the examination of food hygiene at the spa, but in case of need he also cured the pets of the village, which he usually did for the farmers free of charge. We cannot talk about Hévíz's health system in the 1950s and 60s without mentioning dr. Ferenc Mikolics, who was the veterinarian of Hévízszentandrás from 1938 and then of Hévíz. Dr. Mikolics became interested in human medicine after the war. Soon his home in Hévíz became a place of worship, and even his fellow physicians, hospital physicians and university medical professors also sent their patients to him. The products made by him excellently cured fungal skin diseases, asthma and high blood pressure. Dr. Ferenc Mikolics, a veterinarian of Hévíz, without a diploma in human medicine healed thousands of patients (patients with asthma or skin and joint diseases) with his own medicines (and with medicines by the pharmacist Milánkovics), which was proved by the hundreds of thank you letters sent from healed patients. Patients arrived from England, America, France, Sweden, Vienna, Moscow and even from South Africa, Cape Town. Dr. Mikolics accepted money only for the costs of the medications, and he paid patients’ "leftover” gratuity to the Council's treasury. In 1955 he was permitted by the Ministry to perform medical research on psoriasis at the rheumatology hospital. In the same year the Bázakerettye oil company employed him as a dermatologist. In 1956 he got an author’s certificate for his innovative Sulphur wrap therapy for treating muscle and joint pain. Due to his medical activity without a diploma in human medicine the Health Science Council and Health Department of Veszprém County Council reported him. Dr. Mikolics was banned from the hospital’s and medical bath’s laboratory. On 25th September in 1958 raised charges against him due to quackery were dropped by the court of Keszthely. In 1961 he succeeded in patenting his pharmaceuticals for fungal skin diseases. The accusations, however, did not stop in the press against dr. Ferenc Mikolics, of which everybody could read. The debate with the Ministry of Health sickened the physician, and in 1960 he resigned from his council membership and died a few years later, in October 1964.

Dr. Béla Dobrossy (1904-1955)

With the 1st of January 1952 the thermal bath and hospital for rheumatology was divided from the Spa Association by the Ministry of Health, and State Thermal Bath of Hévíz was set up under the surveillance of the Ministry of Health and its administration. Dr. Dobrossy considered his duty to change employees’ commercial-based point of view due to the Hospitality Company (Vendéglátó Vállalat) to a healthcare-based approach. Phonendoscopes and microscopes were introduced into the previously hotel-resembling buildings symbolizing the medical work that started in the hospital. The institute was responsible for the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with musculoskeletal disorders, occupational diseases, bone dislocations and fractures. The first director of the hospital, dr. Béla Dobrossy was appointed, who brought his balneological expertise gathered while working in Gellért bath in Budapest. The medical team of the institute consisted of 7 physicians: 3 chief physicians and 4 residents. The middle cadres and other workers had to do heroic work in favour of the patient care. Dr. Béla Dobrossy, Chief Medical Officer worked relentlessly hard in favour of the developments and modernization in Hévíz. The peak of his career was during the arrangement of the lake bath’s superstructure and environment. Dr. Béla Dobrossy proposed the Hydrological Society to meet in Hévíz every year. At these sessions the issues occurring with the thermal water were discussed in the first place. The first promotional brochure of the thermal bath in Hévíz belongs to dr. Béla Dobrossy and Ferenc Sobók, who in 1955 published a brochure containing necessary information in 31 pages about the formation of the lake, the composition of its water, its therapeutic effects, the climate of the lake, its flora and fauna, and the history of the bath. The enthusiastic work of the excellent organizer and indefatigable chief medical director of the medical bath in Hévíz was broken due to his sudden death in 1955.

Dr. Miklós Kun (1908-2005)

Following the death of dr. Béla Dobrossy on November the 1st, 1955 dr. Miklós Kun took over the administration of the State Medical Bath and Hospital.
Dr. Miklos Kun was born to a middle class Jewish family in Szeged on October 21st 1908. He graduated from secondary school in Budapest in 1926. He wanted to become a medical doctor, however Hungarian universities were closed for him due to the numerus clausus, thus with the help of his relatives he could enroll in the faculty of medicine in Prague and then he continued his university studies in Vienna. In 1932 he managed to return to the medical school in Szeged and ended his studies with a Hungarian medical diploma. He was offered a job at the Jewish hospital in Szeged. In 1937 he found a job in the psychological laboratory of the College of Special Education as a research fellow. His next job was the National Israeli Patronage Association. In the spring of 1942 it was the first time when he performed forced labour. He joined the illegal communist party in 1932. Under the Arrow Cross regime as a chief physician of the International Red Cross he set up children's homes in favour of the persecuted Jewish children. After the war, he was enthusiastically involved in rebuilding the country's healthcare. In 1945 under the command of the party he went to Debrecen, where he assisted in the Ministry of Welfare then he was appointed Head of the Department of Mother, Infant and Child Protection. He organized the reception and allocation of Greek refugees. Miklós Kun so successfully carried out his child protection work that in 1947 he was invited by the World Health Organization to lead the International Child Protection Department but Károly Olt, the minister at that time did not permit him to leave the country as he was an indispensable worker. In 1951 he was in disagreement with the leadership of the ministry, he ended his organizing activity, and worked at the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, then as coal miners’ physician in Várpalota and Ajka. In 1952 at the request of SZOT (National Trade Union Council) he organized trade union sanatoriums in Hévíz, and on the 1st of November 1955 he took over the administration of the State Medical Bath and Hospital. Dr. Miklós Kun, as a neurologist and psychiatrist introduced and further developed the neurological and psychiatric approach to the institute's medical work. Since then, there has been active physiotherapy established in the hospital as well. After the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 dr. Miklós Kun director of the hospital in Hévíz became tired of the political events, and asked for his reinstatement to Budapest back to a job in the psychiatry department. Upon his request, he was appointed Head of Department of the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, where he worked until his retirement on the 31st of December 1980.

Dr. Albert Pregun

In the spring of 1957 the Ministry of Health appointed a new leader dr. Albert Pregun, for the State Medical Bath and Hospital. Dr. Albert Pregun was born in 1914 in Zajta. He received his medical diploma in Budapest in 1939. He worked at the Herczog Clinic and then in Székesfehérvár, where he was appointed hospital director. From 1953 he was an employee of the State Medical Bath and Hospital, as a physician and rheumatologist. Dr. Albert Pregun director tried to do everything in favour of the hospital’s improvement. His medical team consisted of 5 chief physicians, 6 residents, two assistant physicians and two clinical physicians. He successfully helped improving patient care and increasing the number of medical staffs. In 1957 minor repairs were performed at a few buildings of the bath. The training of bath and spa therapists started under his administrative period. He launched a huge afforestation campaign at the territory of the institute.

Dr. Ottó Strecker (1920-1989)

From June 15, 1959 the Ministry of Health appointed dr. Ottó Strecker the director of the State Medical Bath and Hospital in Hévíz. Dr. Ottó Strecker was born on January 15th 1920 in the village of Mosonszentjános. His father was an electrician. In 1939 he received his secondary school diploma at the Benedictine Secondary School in Győr, then in 1944 he got his medical diploma at the Pázmány Péter Medical University in Budapest. During his university years, he spent two semesters at the University of Jena, Berlin and Munich. His doctoral degree ceremony was on October 28, 1944. As a district physician he lived and worked in the village of Mosonszentjános between 1944 and 1950. In 1945 he was the only physician in the six villages nearby, who did not join the retreating Germans. He was available for the wounded of the German, the Hungarian and the Red Army as well. In recognition of his work, the Soviet Command awarded him a Red Cross Crescent Medal. After the war, he worked as a district physician in Burgenland at a district inhabited by Hungarians. He worked in Mosonszentjános as first occupational physician, MÁV (Hungarian State Railways) physician, physician working for the border guards, and in the political scene as the MKP’s (Hungarian Communist Party) organizing secretary. He has spent his first service years from 1st of January 1950 in the Pulmonology Hospital in Mosonmagyaróvár. In 1955 he was deputy commander of the Honvéd Hospital (Military Hospital) in Győr, then commander in 1956. During the Revolution the hospital served the victims of the gunfire in Mosonmagyaróvár. From 1957 to 1959 he was chief physician of the Rheumatology Department in the Military Hospital in Győr, where he worked as a military physician until he moved to Hévíz. He was also the communist party’s secretary. From 1945 he was member of MKP (Hungarian Communist Party), from 1948 member of MDP (Hungarian Worker’s Party) and from 1956 he was member of MSZMP (Hungarian Socialist Worker’s Party) party. Dr. Otto Strecker became the new director and started work with great commitment. He decided to renovate and modernize the entire medical bath and hospital during which it was open for the patients continuously. The renovation, the completion of the utility works, the new patient library, the preparation of the coffeehouse and restaurant for their use in winter were planned to be done in five years. By the end of the five-year reconstruction plan, a new 500-person winter bath were also included in the plan. “The rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders, regaining vitality and the ability to work have not only introduced a new method in healing, but also brought a new perspective, the essence of which is that the center of the cure is not the disease, but the sick man." – said Ottó Strecker. Along the daily healing work the head physician dr. Ottó Strecker, required the participation of professional trainings, and scientific researches from his doctors, which resulted in a number of excellent scientific dissertations by fellow physicians and by himself as well. Hévíz became an important basis of Hungarian balneological and rheumatological researches. Due to dr. Otto Strecker, underwater massage and ultrasound treatment were established and introduced in Hévíz. In the meantime, the medical director searched for the biochemical explanation of the lake's healing mechanism. Dr. Ottó Strecker, vice president of the Hungarian Society for Rheumatology, worked in the Balneology Society for a long time as a deputy-chairman, he was the chair of the Medical Section of the International Mud Congress; in 1964 he was given the title Excellent Physician, in 1968 he was awarded the Silver Degree of Work Merit, on 12 May 1969, the Home Secretary awarded him the Golden Grade Merit for serving the Homeland. In the '70s and' 80s, due to the large-scale water abstraction of the bauxite mine in Nyirád, the runoff of the lake in Hévíz was significantly reduced. The hospital director tried to intervene to reduce water abstraction, but he could not act effectively against the “strategically” important lobbying in heavy industry in the given political atmosphere. The problems were only exacerbated by the fact that on Monday, March 3, 1986, the central building of the lake in Hévíz completely burnt down at dawn. The director was blamed for lack of controls. After the decision, dr. Ottó Strecker resigned from the chair position of the Hungarian Rheumatology Association and vice-chair of the Hungarian Balneological Association and from the membership of the Hungarian Rehabilitation Society Professional College. Dr. Zoltán Balogh rheumatologist became appointed Minister of Social Affairs and Health, from March 1, 1987, as well as the head of the hospital in Hévíz. The burnt down bath’s buildings were reconstructed in 1988-89. Without any ceremony, the audience could take over the rebuilt bath wing on September 8, 1989. However, the former head of the hospital could not experience this lovely moment. A few days before the opening of the lake bath, on August 25th, 1989, Dr. Ottó Strecker, retired director of the State Thermal Bath and Hospital in Hévíz died at the age of 69.

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