prof. MUDr. Lubomír Hanzlíček, DrSc.
v instituci:  1961 - 1981

Prof. Hanzlíček was one of the greatest minds in our medicine. He went down in our history as an unforgettable great man, expert par excellence, psychiatrist who in many respects had no parallel. Prof. Hanzlíček was born in Pilsen on 22nd February 1916. He studied medicine at Charles University in Prague. After the closing of universities in 1939 he was dragged off to Sachsenhausen concentration camp by occupants. Upon his return he worked as a railroad worker, in evenings teaching at a language school. In 1943 he started working as a librarian and documentarist for Interfarma. After earning his M.D. in 1945 he commenced his military service and worked with the Czech UNNRA unit in Hamburg. In 1947 he entered Prof. Mysliveček’s Psychiatric Clinic as an assistant. After a short time in Bohnice Mental Hospital he became senior doctor in Dobřany Psychiatric Hospital. He chose to work in the severe cases ward and radically humanised dealing with patients, modernised therapy and researched intensely the development and possibilities of psychotics’ rehabilitation and psychotherapy. As a great senior doctor he was able to enthuse students, doctors and nurses alike, with his ideals of reforming psychiatry.

With advent of psychopharmaceutical era he energetically delved into psychopharmacology and biological psychiatry in general. In 1958 Prof. Hanzlíček became Senior Lecturer at Continuous Medical Education Institute, Psychiatry Clinic, before long submitted his candidate’s thesis and in 1961 with much help from J. Prokůpek and O. Janota and together with a small group of colleagues founded the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague. In the same year he earned his habilitation and two years later became Doctor of Science. Although the Scientific Board of the Faculty of Hygiene at Charles University nominated him for professorship as soon as 1972, he waited for appointment until shortly before his death, which occurred on 20th January 1982 following a stubborn illness.

Prof. Hanzlíček was attracted to the deepest mysteries of psychoses all his life, approaching them from all angles, from biological methods to unrivalled interviews with chronics recorded on videotape. Despite being a biological psychiatrist, Prof. Hanzlíček was fascinated by psychotherapy and was familiar with works of Freud, Fromm-Reichmann and others. He asked junior doctors to study them, sent them to psychotherapeutic training and urged them to get to know their selves in Jungian meaning. In PRI he initiated an extensive research programme in the field of social psychiatry. As a polyglot he was unparalleled among psychiatrists, fluently speaking 8 languages and reading in 16. Prof. Hanzlíček left us original books on monitoring biochemical changes in the course of convulsive and comatose therapy, psychiatric aspects of toxoplasmosis, changes in ADP:ATP ratio and pyknotic index of leukocyte nuclei in psychotics (and patients treated with antidepressives, neuroleptics and nootropics), the monograph "Biological Psychiatry of Psychoses" and most importantly the unique "Encyclopaedia of Psychiatry" of 3000 pages, not counting the index of hundreds of important psychiatrists, subject index and appendices. Prof. Hanzlíček was a superb teacher and original lecturer, whose students and disciples still appreciate his highly humane and friendly attitude, which helped him pass on his rich experience not only in psychiatry, but also in philosophy of life and learning. In this province his abilities were inexhaustible.

Prof. Hanzlíček revered classical music, admired Beethoven’s titanism, Wagner’s heroism, humbly listened to Bruckner’s symphonies. Prof. Hanzlíček was a genius. A giant. But in a crowd he felt alone. His robust character was just the other side of his shyness, disappointment with people and awareness of futility of all human enterprise.

After his removal by communist regime from the position of PRI‘s director in 1981 he tirelessly toiled on finishing his Encyclopaedia, refreshed his Japanese and continued working. Until the last moment he kept meeting his closest friends and colleagues. Professor Hanzlíček undoubtedly belongs to those remarkable personages of Charles University, who were denied academic glory. His shyness and peculiar attitude towards authorities, rituals, honours and formalities are also to blame. Following international trends he anyway got ahead of his local contemporaries by many years. Lubomír Hanzlíček was university professor par excellence, a scholar of whom Charles University can be proud of.


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