2013 issue 1


Volume 22, issue 1

Review article

Leon Wernic as a supporter and promoter of eugenics

Teresa Rzepa1, Ryszard Żaba2
1. Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej, Wydział Zamiejscowy, Poznań
2. Katedra i Klinika Dermatologii, Uniwersytet Medyczny im. Karola Marcinkowskiego, Poznań
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2013; 22 (1): 67–74


Objective. In this article we present the work of Marek Leon Wernic, MD, well-known in Poland and abroad as a venereologist and popularizer of eugenics.
Review. M.L. Wernic (1870-1953) was a Polish physician specialist in dermatology and venereology who advocated the principles of eugenics and healthy lifestyle. The major scientific achievements of Dr. Wernic were in the following three fields: venereology, eugenics and health system organization in Poland. He believed eugenics to be a convenient method of solving such social problems as hereditary diseases, prostitution, and crime. He published many scientific papers in Polish professional journals including “The Medical Journal”, “Review of Dermatology and Venereology”, “Medicine”, “Eugenics in Poland”. He was a Board Member of the International Union Against Venereal Diseases, President of the Polish Dermatological Society Warsaw Branch, Deputy President of the International Eugenics Union, co-founder and President of the Polish Eugenics Society, a honorary member of the Kalisz Hygiene Society. He was deeply committed to introducing in Poland legislation targeted on eugenics, and to requirement of mandatory serologic tests for syphilis in the case of marriage planning couples, pregnant women, and children. He also strived to implement generally available free of charge STD testing and treatment in Poland.
Commentary. Debate on some eugenics methods serving to improve the quality of life in the community seems to be still valid.

Address for correspondence:
Teresa Rzepa
Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej, Wydział Zamiejscowy w Poznaniu
ul. gen. Tadeusza Kutrzeby 10, 61-719 Poznań
tel. 61-8584363; e-mail: trzepa@univ.szczecin.pl