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History

 
In year 1993, the Provincial Neuropsychiatric Hospital of Oskar Bielawski in Kościan celebrated its jubilee existence.
In this year passed a century since the earlier Provincial Corrective Institution for Juvenile was changed into the Provincial House for Mad and Idiots - the second such institution in the territory of Poznań Great Principalities.

The Corrective Institution did not begin the rich history of this place since it was originally a Bernardino Monastery that was established in 1456. The buildings were mostly demolished when the Prussians quitted the monastery. Today people can admire sumptuous remainders that were adapted for the needs of the hospital. One of the worthy attentions is a chapel, a remainder of the church presbytery, in which at present masses are celebrated every Sunday.

In the first period of existence this Institution was primarily used to care and supervise patients with chronic diseases. This situation changed after a few years when the hospital built extensions, which enabled patients with acute diseases, juveniles with mental retardation and epileptics to be admitted as well.

By year 1901 the Institution already contains 700 mentally ill and 200 mentally retarded patients. One year's maintenance for cost of one patient is Marks 380.39.


In the Institution grounds existed a school for young people which provided them 16 to 26 hours per month on education lessons such as: reading, writing, accounts, history, religion, geography, singing, gymnastics and craftsman works.


The first hospital manager in Kościan was doctor Alfred Dluhosch. In 1911 Ludwig Scholz succeeded him for the position and was followed by a medical doctor Carl von Blomberg ( in years 1913 to 1920 ), who possessed the title of baron.

After recovery of independence in year 1919, the hospital was renamed The National Psychiatric Institution in Kościan. At this time there was only 110 patients admitted.

Gmach główny w latach 20.
Budynek główny w latach 20. XX w.

After dr Blomberg`s management, dr Christoph who was German resumed the responsibility. At this time the municipal authorities reflected over the liquidation of the hospital. During this situation in the period of Silesian resurrections, a military hospital under the command of dr Józef Dirbach was established.

In year 1924 the intention of liquidation was dismissed and in the same year agreements among authorities in Poznań and Lwów mutually agreed to accept patients from crowded psychiatric institutions in Małopolska. This was due to the increased number of patients that rose to 450 people.

In year 1928, the hospital began to function using electrical equipment ( earlier oil-lamps were used ) with the help of its own power station.

On 24th October 1929, doctor Oskar Bielawski was embraced as the director of Psychiatric Institution in Kościan, who is at present the patron of our hospital. He was 38 years old at the time. He closed down 40 isolation rooms, in which restless and aggressive patients were isolated. This action was a big success. Hence, introduced in Kościan the so-call open door system which made him a pioneer of transforming closed institutions into sanatorium character institutions. The high walls and bars in the windows were removed and usage of straits jackets was discouraged. He affirmed that: "The lesser the doctor sleeps, the better the patient's condition".

In year 1931 the hospital management began to organise the sanatorium section. Besides during his ten years directorship, dr Bielawski organised in year 1935 a printing-firm in the hospital campus and began publishing "The Psychiatric News". He also founded the scientific periodical "The Psychical Hygiene".

In 1930`s, therapy included: malaria, prolonged baths, insulin shock therapy, electro-shock therapy, anaesthetisation and hydrotherapy ( Żniniewicz method ). In Kościan the hospital also introduced the system of family therapy. One profited from field activity such as football, craftsman's workshops ( occupational therapy ), gym hall and theatrical hall. The hospital also had at its own disposal a complex of physiotherapy.

With the hospital growing activities, the number of patients rose to 750 and simultaneously in year 1934 the institution became economically self-sufficient. The First Panslavonic Congress of Neurologists and Psychiatrists took place partly in Kościan. With that opportunity doctor Bielawski organised The First Polish Exhibition of Psychical Hygiene.

In August of 1939, the threat of war caused some patients to leave and some removed from the institution by their families. The number of patients reduced to 200 people. A part of the staff was mobilised to the Polish Army and doctor Bielawski became a doctor of The National Defence Battalion "Kościan".

On 1st September doctor Berezowski remained in Kościan and ordered to release the patients, but only 76 persons left. The German Army invaded Kościan on 7th September and turned a part of the hospital into a military hospital. In October the institution bore the name "Landesheilanstalt Kosten". In this time the decisions of the hospital were influenced by Joseph Kaplan - chief of the German secret police in Kościan. He decided about appointments of personnel and manner of treatment to patients. The Germans` bad treatment from the first days of their occupation resulted in the height of death-rates. From the period of 7th September 1939 to January 1940, 67 patients died. Patients were exterminated and between 15th to 22nd of January 1940, 534 patients were murdered. They were first stupefied with morphine and scopolamine injections and gassed in special car chambers at the forest nearby Jarogniewice. The bodies were buried in collective graves. Lately documents were found that showed from 9th February to mid March 1940, 2750 ill Germans and Jews were executed in the identical manner. The Germans simultaneously tried to remove any traces of crime, heaping up among other things fictitious graves that were shown later to families as the burial ground of the deceased from natural reasons.

In 1940, the decision to quarter 400 German soldiers in the hospital buildings were made. Later a German military school of infantry was created.

After the recovery of independence it was necessary to begin restoration, because all of the hospital was plundered and devastated. Due to firm determination and sacrifices of doctor Bielawski and his staff by 2nd April 1945 the first department was opened.

After much consideration on which doctor Bielawski had time during imprisonment in the officers` prisoner-of-war camp, decided to reform the psychiatry in Kościan. Repairs, renovations and adaptations were made to the German palace in nearby Wonieść and was opened as a department to treat neurosis. In 1948, the first sanatorium for children with neurosis, defects of pronunciation and of character was established in Spławie. In the following year of September 1949, the institution received the name - State Sanatorium for the Nervously Ill.

The department for alcoholics was opened in Siekowo in year 1950 and a department for boys in Mościszki in year 1954. The department for girls was established in 1955 in Cichowo. At the same time the School of Neuropsychiatric Nursing was created in 1953.

In April 1957, doctor Bielawski was retrenched from the hospital by the influence of the local communistic party.

After the 50th year, introduction to chlorpromazine treatment in psychiatric medical care was a huge success.

From 1955, a new manager doctor Krystyna Kuczewska was employed in the hospital. She established a rehabilitation ward for treatment of spine diseases and two departments for largactil treatment. This rehabilitation department also received a swimming pool and gym hall.

By 1960 the Sanatorium possessed 745 beds and in this year gave treatment to 4004 patients. Six years later the number of beds increased to 900. The hospital employed many outstanding consultants, namely professors from the Medical Academy in Poznań. The personnel in this agency underwent active participation in scientific life and was visited by many scientists and professors from abroad.

The name of the Sanatorium in Kościan was changed to The Province Hospital for the Nervously and Mentally Ill in year 1970.

Doctor Kuczewska resigned as manager of the hospital in year 1974 due to health problems and her duties were taken over by doctor Maksymilian Talar in 1975.

In spite of administrative changes in 1975, in consequence of which the hospital was found to be in the territory of Leszno province, it did not change the area of the hospital activities. The hospital was still obliged to provide services for inhabitants of all provinces of Leszno, Poznań and Kalisz. Activities in the range of neurological services became limited to the province of Leszno.

The dependencies treatment department began in 1985 in nearby Czarkowo, while in 1986 the only Wilekopolska department to treat children with neurosis was closed in Cichowo.

The Hospital for the Nervously and Mentally Ill in Kościan was authorised by the Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry to entitle individuals to specialisation leaderships in the sphere of psychiatry, neurology and rehabilitation. The specialists of neurology, psychiatry and psychology were employed as well in the Province Clinic for Outpatients Treatment.

During the long and rich history of Kościan hospital, many transformations occurred. However always one's own statutory assignments executed on high, professional level thanks to the return honesty of workers. Through the rotation of transformations in the last years and reformation of medical services in the Republic of Poland, doctor Marian Zalejski now performs as the manager of this hospital today.

In elaboration, the text used was taken from the book titled "One Hundred Years of Psychiatry in Kościan, 1983 - 1993" by doctor Henryk Florkowski.