kolff: de colve: IX: 2

kolff family coat of arms

Summary in English from De Colve IX - 2004 (2/2)

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Szymborska Szymborska is a poet. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. Apart from poetry she wrote more, of course, such as a weekly column in a Polish newspaper. A column about book reviews of books that are usually never reviewed. Think of books with titles such as 'How to Cook Vegetarian', or 'How Bats See', etc. This is how she came across 'The Patients' by Jurgen Thorwald (Krakow, 1994), and in it she found an article on Willem Kolff (CBB XVI1h). For us, and for many people in the Netherlands, the USA and elsewhere, he is well-known for his works and inventions, such as the artificial kidney. But for many others he is not, and so it is the case in Poland, as we will see. So she devotes an article on Willem Kolff in her book Lektury Obowiazkow; by the way: she does this on some other Dutch matters as well. The year 2003 has seen the Willem Kolff-Festival at Kampen and for this reason this view of the famous Szymborska was included in De Colve. Szymborska on Willem Kolff:
Willem Kolff. Who is he? A politician, a singer actor international bandit? How many names do we have crawling around us all the time? They enter through one ear and leave by the other. Most of them we do not remember the following day. We don't worry about that. Willem Kolff is a name, perhaps still known to some specialists, but further to no one. Even though the name deserves a place in the collective memory. Kolff was a Dutch medical doctor who invented and constructed the first artificial kidney. This machine (...) is until today the only relief for those waiting for transplantation. [She continues about his hard time during his first experiments, in occupied Netherlands beginning of the 40s of the 20th century, at Kampen; and how he used materials that were available, the hardship with occupant Germans sniffing around everywhere; how he worked for the survival of mankind, which was at that time not important, because, as she writes, the importance of the survival Third Reich prevailed. After Kolff left, with his machine to the USA where he continued to improve his invention.] It is meanwhile not possible to count how many people how many thousands of people thank their lives *[to Kolff] The book of Thorwald is, as the title indicates, devoted to the patients, but in its course it speaks about the doctors. And so I came across Willem Kolff and for some reason or another I could only write about him. Moreover, because in our Great General Encyclopedia there is not even one small entry devoted to him.
See also: Links: De Colve and History Persons 6