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Waldemar Haffkine and Future Microbiologists

Updated on October 10, 2018
Mykola profile image

Mykola has teaching experience in French and English for 35 years. He is interested in excursion as the method of teaching.


The foreign languages may be necessary and useful in the future successful career of a doctor.

The tasks for students:

.1. To motivate themselves for learning two and more foreign languages;

.2. To understand that future careers have three essential compounds. There are special knowledge, common culture and strong convictions with the will to success.

The tasks for teachers:

.1. To use bright materials from biography of Waldemar Haffkine;

.2. To open for students a new field of special medical terms in foreign languages.

.3. To form their different worldviews.

.4. The biography is proposed to study as the scientific conference of future doctors, bacteriologists.

Young Doctor with Microscope

A Famous Bacteriologist Waldemar Haffkine

H.W. Longfellow

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And while departing leave behind us,

Footprints on the sands of time

Gymnasium of Berdiansk

W. Haffkine was studying in Berdiansk, man's Gymnasium. He was graduated from this establishment in 1879.

If you meet with the analytic table about the composition of pupils in accordance with their origin and religion, you can see a great diversity.

There were pupils of Orthodox church and also of Catholic, Judaic, Armenian-Gregorian ones, etc. This diversity of religions and languages promoted his interest to languages. In addition, in school timetable there were ancient languages, Greek and Latin, the modern languages such as French and German.

In this plan Berdiansk is a specific town.

The Building of Gymnasium

The Berdiansk Museum of Local History, the Wax Figure of W.Haffkine

The First Student, University of Helsinki, prepares the doctors and practitioners

Dear Sirs,

W.Haffkine appreciated any language.

It might be native or foreign, in the life of individual or nation. In his article “A Plea for Orthodoxy” he paid attention to the language in the formation of young citizen. Especially, when its vocal and auditory apparatus determines the originality of the culture.

W.Haffkine and Languages, Example of Linguistic Personality

Degree of Possession
Ivrit (Modern Hebrew)
Fluently, Native language
Was learning
Was learning
Was learning
Ancient Language
Ancient Greek
Was learning
Ancient Language
Was learning

The future doctors may use Latin as the basis for learning two and more European modern languages.

The First Student Continues

A Fateful Meeting

Dear Sirs,

I'd like to point out a real fateful meeting for W. Haffkine with Lord Dufferin. The matter was that in 1892 L.Pasteur wanted to pass a field research on population of Russia, but didn't receive the permission from the tsar's government. Then he paid attention to Siam.

In that case, L.Pasteur was consulted by Hirman, a French resident of Indo-China, that Haffkine would meet a lot of difficulties in Siam. Hirman met Haffkine with Lord Dufferin, British Ambassador to France and a former Viceroy of India (1884-1888). Lord Dufferin helped Haffkine to make acquaintance with Lord John Kimberley, Secretary of State for India. In his turn, he received Haffkine very warmly, and permitted him to reach any region of India for inoculating local residents by anti cholera vaccine. There was under condition that all process ought to be voluntary. That voyage was supplied by the funds of W. Haffkine and his friends.

There was before India, Haffkine showed a series of techniques on injecting in the pathological laboratory of Professor A.Wright, London, and the Army Medical School at Netley. Moreover, I want to say that R.Kipling's poem " One Viceroy resigns" was dedicated to Lord Dufferin .

W.Haffkine Bites a Bullet, The Second Student, University of Barcelona, the Medical Department keeps a perfect balance between knowledge and activity

Dear Sirs,

A very interesting period of Haffkine's life for me is to consider in detail. This is a Mulkowal accident. There was the event where W.Haffkine bit a bullet. On October, 30, 1902, 107 persons were inoculated against the plague. It happened at the village Mulkowal in the Penjab.

19 inoculated died with symptoms of tetanus. All dead persons were vaccinated from the same bottle 53N. The Plague laboratory made the vaccine in Bombay. The commission of Government of India consisted of different persons. There was Sir Lawrence Jenkins. He was the Chief justice of Bombay. Lieutenant Colonel Bomford IMS, Principal of Medical College, Calcutta was present. Also, it included Major tradespeople, RAMC, Director of the Pasteur Institute at Casuali.

The members of Commission thought that W. Haffkine violated the production procedures. A strong demand for plague vaccine in Penjab was the addition of carbolic acid (concentration 0,5 %). W.Haffkine omitted it, having used a method at the Pasteur Institute in Paris since 1900. He made the water- agar medium sterilized with heat.

On April 16, 1903, the Commission reported to the Indian Government. Tetanus was the cause in the vaccine. Thus, it accused the Bombay laboratory in violation of the production process.

For two years Haffkine had been writing long letters to the India office. Letters were in English. He proved that the contamination of bottle 53 N happened while injecting. His behavior was of great dignity. The Gazette of India published the inquiry, Calcutta, on the 1 December 1906. As a result, the failure of Commission was evident, new important facts appeared. The inoculating officer Dr. Elliot stated that the bottle of vaccine didn't smell.

As known, the tetanus being in water-agar of a vaccine bottle more than 26 days would make a hard specific odor. Narindar Singh, the assistant swished the forceps in the carbolic lotion. Then, he pulled out the cork. But the sterilization must be produced:

Through the flame of a spirit lamp.

No doubt, it was a violation. Ronald Ross, Nobel Laureate in 1902, wrote a letter to Times, 29 July 1907 to exonerate Haffkine. 10 famous bacteriologists signed this document. W.Haffkine confirmed the Oath of Hippocrates not to give a lethal drug to anyone.

One of the Strongest Obstacles for Doctors Was and Is Religious Rites

Meat Broth, The Third Student, University of Munich, the Medicine Faculty has Extra Modern Facilities

The interesting moment for me in the history of science is following. Haffkine worked out a method of growing Bacteria of Pasterella Pestis in meat broth. He proposed and used a layer of molten ghee or coconut oil under it.

Those bacteria were growing in the form of threads, from the top to the bottom of the bottle. Now we know it as “Haffkine’s Stalactites”. Haffkine killed the bacteria heating them after fortnight of growing. As a result, the vaccine was ready, vaccine of Haffkine against cholera and plague.

Technical moments are as follows:
GROWTH IN MEAT BROTH to which a minute quantity of sterile coconut had added. It did by means of a platinum needle, 37-5 C*, 48 hours. Stalactites well- marked.

Haffkine's Stalactites

The Truthful Summit of Glory

The summer of 1899 became the truthful summit of glory for W.Haffkine. Haffkine laboratory's official opening happened on the 10th of August, in Bombay, region Paral. It was located in the ancient building of the former Governor.

As a result, the body of the laboratory included 8 doctors, 14 assistants and writers, and also one special engineer, 21 servants. Limfa Haffkina had been sent to many countries The laboratory could produce every day approximately 10 thousand of doses. W.Haffkine was appointed the General Director of the Bombay Laboratory.

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The Oath of Hippocrates and Modern Times

The Foundation of W.Haffkine

There is a foundation left by W.Haffkine. Its aim is to help young scientists. It is activated till our days.

The Ecclesiastic Testament W.Haffkine Formulated in His Last Letter

“ I placed in the bank money in the form of securities. Percents from these means is to be given to the Fund for studying Judaism. There is assistance as subventions for yeshivot and primary religious schools (Talmud-Tora) in Poland, Galicia, Romania, Litva, Hungary and other countries of Eastern Europe... I consider my duty to underline that this material assistance in no way can serve as means for pressure on yeshivot concerning to changing the order or content of studies.

For example, I suppose such subjects of natural science as physics, chemistry, biology, geology, cosmosgraphy, to be useful application to the essential program of yeshivot. Leaving this school, pupils wouldn't be dazzled by achievements of the secular school and would't obliterate with ease a great importance of knowledge received in the yeshivot."

It would be good and useful if the pupils of yeshivot were taught to some craft, similar to the work of watch master or goldsmith as in ancient times our blessed sages were doing.

A deciding guarantee for existence of Jewish congregations in all times is that they put award ecclesiastic leaders. Esteem and worship of them were based on their great knowledge of Tora. Reputation of rabbies is immutable for millions Jews despite any destruction and desruption.

Religious schools, only they prepare the ecclesiastic leaders, are centers of traditional moral education for many generations of Jewish people."

The Talmud about Labor

The Talmud indicates that labor is an ethical commandment even apart from its practical value: “He who enjoys the fruits of his own labors is greater than the man who fears God”

Conclusion: The Newer Oral Killed Cholera Vaccines, Fight Continues; The Fourth Student, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Practical Medicine and Clinical Res

Dear Sirs,

Cholera remains a global health problem nowadays. The seventh cholera pandemic spread from Indonesia to other countries. It was arisen by El Nor stain in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America. In 2013, it marked 400,000 cases and over 4000 deaths in 1991 [WHO, 2013].

It depends on unsanitary conditions in slums, especially on contaminated drinking water. The cultural Eastern phenomena intensify this disease as well. It says about different fairs, pilgrimage, some religious rites. The problem of knowledge of foreign languages need to decide. This is the necessary condition for successful communication. It would say, there are the same problems with which W.Haffkine was conflicting in XIX century.

W.Haffkine understood the meaning of globalization for a doctor without Internet and planes.

He knew foreign languages which opened for him the whole world. Kaleidoscope of personalities and events confirms it

For me, he is a real prototype of the present world citizen, future doctor, bacteriologist.

The Citizen of the World

Limfa Haffkina


What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name derived from a person.

© 2017 Mykola


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