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Summer School at Schloss Wiepersdorf

MHB students explore medicine in other epochs

Neuruppin, 4 August 2023

The Brandenburg Cultural Foundation invited the 8th-semester cohort of MHB medical students to this year’s summer school on fundamentals of medical mindset and action to Schloss Wiepersdorf in the region Niederer Fläming. Prof. Dr. Andreas Jüttemann (history of medicine), the current holder of the institution’s scholarship, organized a 3-day stay there for his MHB students. It was the first time for the region to host the annual MHB event which usually takes place at one of the MHB locations.

As part of the course on medical mindset and action, participants addressed various topics and specifically explored medicine in the period of Romanticism. According to Andreas Jüttemann, it is important for prospective physicians to know about treatment methods in former times. Subsequent to the first cholera epidemic in Brandenburg in 1831, for example, the region introduced a drinking and wastewater system at an early time, and Prussia passed the first laws on protection against infection.  

Authentic sites of medical history

The range of topics to choose from included the situation of medicine in the last years of the GDR, analogous to the key research interests of the cultural foundation. Other projects covered the incidence in Brandenburg of cholera, syphilis and typhus early in the 19th century, West German experiments with medication,  and methods used in the GDR to deal with HIV in the 1980s. Moreover, Prof. Jüttemann organized excursions to the Stolzenhain bunker complex of Soviet troops in the forests near Wiepersdorf, a storage facility for nuclear warheads during the Cold War. Another destination was the former military hospital near Jüterborg, once one of the largest garrison hospitals in the region. Jüttemann is convinced that the original sites convey a better sense of medical history than PowerPoint presentations and historical texts. The Summer School also contained practical elements. Prof. Dr. Roland Reinehr, medical director of the Herzberg/Elster hospital which cooperates with the MHB, invited the seminar participants to a crash course in endoscopy and a guided tour through the modern facilities of the Elbe/Elster clinic.    

The baroque manor house Wiepersdorf was built around 1735 and in the possession of the von Arnim family from 1780 onwards. Bettina and Achim von Arnim married in 1811 and moved to Wiepersdorf in the country shortly thereafter. Bettina von Arnim would become one of the most renowned writers of the Romantic period (early 19th century). After World War II, the Soviet occupiers ousted her descendants. As decreed by the GDR authorities, the East German association of writers took charge of the house which became quite popular with GDR writers – Anna Seghers among them – as a temporary residence. Following German reunification, the Foundation Kulturfonds took over the Wiepersdorf property in 1990, and the German Foundation for Monument Protection played a committed part in renovating the castle ensemble in later years. In 2019 the State of Brandenburg established a cultural foundation as a public law undertaking which receives annual subsidies.    

End of semester at Schlosspark Wiepersdorf

The foundation operates the Wiepersdorf property for the explicit purpose of supporting scholarship holders from the fields of art and science. The organization sponsors art, culture and science by means of an interdisciplinary and international residency program. It awards work and residency scholarships as well as group scholarships to foster exchange across disciplines, regions and national borders. A current focus is on the history of the manor house and involves exhibitions and events on the period and mindset of Romanticism and on East-West-German history.  
8th-semester medical students are in the decentralized stage of their studies where encounters with fellow students from other locations have become rare. So this year’s summer school participants very much appreciated their time together at the end of term, after exams, in the pleasant environment of the castle and spacious grounds.
  
For MHB student Janis Pehl, the Summer School 2023 in Wiepersdorf was a highly successful and stimulating event after a challenging examination period: “It was exciting to learn about Brandenburg’s medical history, to discover correlations between history and my own attitude and actions today and in future, and to sense the implications of current political developments.”

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© 2024 MEDIZINISCHE HOCHSCHULE BRANDENBURG Theodor Fontane
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