The Poppa Guttmann Recognition and Celebration Project
at The National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville


The main notable events and achievements in the life of  Sir Ludwig Guttmann



Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann

  • 3rd July 1899:  Born in Tost, Upper Silesia, Germany
  • 1917:: Joined the Accident Hospital for Coalminers, Konigshutte as an orderly where he first encountered spinal injury and it’s deadly outcome
  • 1918: Began medical studies at University of Breslau
  • 1919: Moved to The Medical Faculty at Freiburg
  • 1923: Passed his finals with “almost a first”! Went back to Breslau and received his MD. Started training as Neurologist and neurosurgeon.
  • 1927: Married Else Samuel, his girlfriend from university days.
  • 1928: Appointed head neurosurgeon at State Mental Hospital, Hamburg
  • 1929: Son Dennis was born
    Returned to Breslau Hospital as senior neurosurgeon.
  • 1930: Awarded Venia Legende as Professor in Neurology
  • 1933: Daughter Eva was born
    Jews sacked from gentile hospitals and banned from treating gentiles Guttmann started neurology at Breslau Jewish Hospital.
  • 1934: Jewish Medical Association formed.  Guttmann became chairman.
  • 1936: Appointed Medical Director of Breslau Jewish Hospital.
  • 1939: Arrived in England at the invitation of The British Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, now known as CARA.  Appointed Research Fellow at Nuffield department of Neurosurgery in Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford. Member of Senior Common Room at Balliol College
  • 1941: Asked to submit papers to The Research Council on Surgical aspects of spinal cord injuries and Rehabilitation after injuries to the nervous system.
  • 1943: Asked to open a Spinal unit in preparation for the second front and granted permission to practise even though not naturalised.
  • 1944: Selected Stoke Mandeville hospital and opened The Spinal Unit.
  • 1948, July 28th: First Annual Stoke Mandeville Games for the Paralysed.
  • 1951: Unit named by government as The National Spinal Injuries Centre
  • 1952: First International Stoke Mandeville Games with Dutch competitors. Subsequently always run every July
  • 1960: First International Stoke Mandeville Games held abroad coinciding with The Olympic Games in Rome. 400 paralysed men and women from 23 countries took part in The Olympic Stadium. The Paralympic Games were born.
  • 1960: He founded The British Sports Association for the Disabled
  • 1961: He founded The International Medical Society of Paraplegia
  • 1966: Received his Knighthood
  • 1967: Retired from The National Spinal Injuries Centre
  • 1976: Received The Fellowship of The Royal Society
  • 18th March 1980: Died following a coronary thrombosis in late1979.









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The Poppa Guttmann Trust
Charity Number: 1134644
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