ß 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 143A:112 – 113 (2007) In Memoriam Hans-Rudolf Wiedemann (1915–2006) How to cite this article: Spranger J. 2007. Hans-Rudolf Wiedemann (1915–2006). Am J Med Genet Part A 143A:112–113. Hans-Rudolf Wiedemann was born and raised in the North-German Hansestadt Bremen. After the early death of his mother, a close relationship developed between him and his father, a critical and cosmopolitan medical practitioner and humanitarian, whose deep and long-lasting influence on his son is literarily documented in their correspondence during the Hitler regime [Wiedemann, 1988a]. Hans Rudolf started his medical education in Freiburg, where he met Hans Spemann, famous zoologist, who received the Nobel prize in 1935 for his discovery of the developmental field. From Freiburg he went to Munich, Hamburg, Lausanne and finished medical school in Jena. Due to a refractory intestinal disorder that lasted throughout his life, he was exempted from military service in World War II and worked as a resident under Jussuf Ibrahim in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Jena. After the end of the war he accepted an appointment as senior consultant in the children’s hospital of his hometown Bremen and, in the fall of 1946, as chief consultant at the Children’s Hospital of Bonn University directed by Otto Ullrich. In 1952, at the age of 37 years, he became director of a large municipal children’s hospital in Krefeld from where he moved in 1961 to serve as head of the Children’s Hospital of the University of Kiel in North Germany until his retirement in 1980. His scientific career started in 1942 with work on what is known today as ‘‘hereditary spherocytosis.’’ After his move to Bonn, Otto Ullrich, a fine clinical geneticist, became his teacher, mentor, and close friend stimulating and supporting his life-long interest in constitutional errors of development. Collaboration between the two men persisted beyond Ullrich’s life. In 1987, 7 years after his own retirement, Wiedemann re-studied a patient described by Ullrich in 1930 with what is now known as ‘‘Turner syndrome,’’ proved her 45,X constitution when she was 68 years old, and thus confirmed graciously that his teacher had described the condition long before Turner [Wiedemann and Glatzl, 1991]. Tenaciousness was one of Wiedemann’s characteristics. He never forgot a patient, not only because of his superb memory and sophisticated, albeit FIG. 1. Portrait of Hans-Rudolf Weidemann. Reprinted with kind permission of Springer Science and Business Media, from the European Journal of Pediatrics 133:75–76, 1980. sometimes chaotic filing system with meticulously arranged piles of charts and radiographs, but also because he established with his patients a personal relationship of empathy and mutual trust. Wiedemann was a brilliant clinician with an outstanding power of observation, never missing a *Correspondence to: Jürgen Spranger, University Kinderklinik, Langenbeckstr. 1, Mainz, Germany 55131. E-mail: email@example.com DOI 10.1002/ajmg.a.31587 American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A: DOI 10.1002/ajmg.a 113 IN MEMORIAM detail (think of the ear crease in patients with the EMG syndrome), but never losing or failing to discern the general pattern. Combining these virtues with a keen interest for the unusual, strict intellectual discipline, a Prussian sense of duty, helped by a classic writer’s dexterity, all spiced by a sound portion of ambitiousness, led to a large scientific oeuvre, reflected to this date by more than 110 citations in OMIM and a number of syndromes that bear his name including the Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome, Wiedemann–Rautenstrauch syndrome, Stüve–Wiedemann syndrome, and Genée– Wiedemann syndrome. For other newly delineated disorders he found such conspicuous names as Kleeblattschädel syndrome or Proteus syndrome. He was the first to report the increased incidence of limb defects later shown by Widukind Lenz to be caused by thalidomide and, together with his pupil Marlis Tolksdorf, to introduce granulocyte analysis as an instrument for sex determination. The names of Lenz and Tolksdorf stand for the vast number of clinicians and scientists with whom he corresponded and the many students and associates who he personally recruited, formed, engaged, and trusted. Hans-Rudolf Wiedemann was more than a physician. He loved and lived for his family. And he was one of the old breeds of physician-humanists. He wrote poems [Wiedemann, 1994], collected, edited, and published autographs dealing with poetry [Wiedemann, 1987], children [Wiedemann, 1983], great natural scientists and physicians [Wiedemann, 2001], Thomas Mann’s mother-in-law [Wiedemann, 1988b], to mention only a few. All of these books were written and published after his retirement at the age of 65 years giving testimony to mental vitality to which he devoted one of his last treatises [Wiedemann, 1995]. Hans-Rudolf Wiedemann was a great physician, scientist, teacher, father of his family, friend, and humanist. Duty was his joy. Jürgen Spranger* University Kinderklinik Mainz, Germany REFERENCES Wiedemann H-R Kinder. 1983. Autographisches zum Thema Kind. Hansisches Verlagskontor Lübeck. Wiedemann H-R. 1987. Zweihundertfünfzig Gedichte aus drei Jahrhunderten. Hanissches Verlagskontor, Lübeck. Wiedemann H-R. 1988a. Briefe im Hitlerreich. Politische Aussagen zwischen Vater und Sohn. Ed Graphische Werkstätten Lübeck. Wiedemann H-R. 1988b. Thomas Manns Schwiegermutter erzählt. Drägerdruck Lübeck. Wiedemann H-R. 1994. Längs des Wegs. Gedichte eines Kinderarztes aus fünfzig Jahren. Dräger, Lübeck. Wiedemann H-R. 1995. Langlebigkeit und geistige Vitalität. Drägerdruck, Lübeck. Wiedemann H-R. 2001. Briefe grosser Naturforscher und Ärzte. Drägerdruck, Lübeck. Wiedemann H-R, Glatzl J. 1991. Follow-up of Ullrich’s original patient with ‘Ullrich-Turner’ syndrome. Am J Med Genet 41:134–136.