memories

Jean Bousquet

I was reading through my e‑mails, as I do everyday, when I came across the incredible news: “Professor Andrzej Szczeklik died this morning”. I could not believe what I was reading as he was so fit and so active. I met him recently and he seemed in very good health, but I shortly received several other e‑mails confirming this very sad news. I then started to think about how much I would miss him.

Andrzej was the prototype of a gentleman. He was extremely well educated, and one of his most important publications was the book Catharsis: on the Art of Medicine. This book “was the exciting product of an erudite physician who is sensitive to the nuances of his profession and to its ancient humanistic origins”.1 He was fluent in French and this is why I have written the title in this language.

However, I would like to give you my personal view on this unique human being. In the late 1970s, when no one was speaking about polish medicine (not even Allergology), I read a remarkable paper on aspirin hypersensitivity that had been published in the British Journal of Medicine.2 This paper was very inter­esting and innovative as it showed that aspirin – but not all non‑steroidal anti‑inflammatory drugs – could induce asthma. He was even suggesting prostaglandins as a putative mechanism. That same year, he published a paper in Nature.3 I then became very eager to meet this Polish scientist who had produced such important publications. About two years later, I met a very elegant person who was remarkably fluent in both French and English. He was extremely polite and was almost excusing himself for being so brilliant. However, what astonished me more than anything was his persistence in his thinking. He was among the first to understand that tartrazine and other nonsteroidal anti‑
-inflammatory agents do not cross‑react with aspirin in patients with aspirin‑induced asthma. He was fighting “big” names in the US, but his data were absolutely correct. He confirmed his proposals by scientific studies and did so with extreme elegance.4 He even remained a very good friend of his US colleague who was invited to Krakow for the very last invitation he had in his life.

I think that this story describes Andrzej’s behaviour. I know that whilst he was publishing these breakthrough studies he was also deeply involved in the changes that were occurring in Poland. Although he never talked with me about his political involvement, I have been told how important this was at the level of the Krakow University and the entire country.

I had the pleasure of meeting Andrzej many times, especially when he was leading the GA2LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma European Network) group in Krakow,5-9 and I was invited to a symposium this year, which showed that although retired he was still extremely active.

On a more personal standpoint, I would like to tell everyone how Andrzej tried to help everybody, and particularly the young Polish people who were in France during some of the dark days of the Polish history. He really helped and gave extremely important advice. For these people, he was a true hero.

Andrzej, you were one of the very few who will have an impact not only on medicine but, more importantly, on human beings. We shall miss you forever.

Sven‑Erik Dahlen, Barbro Dahlen

After a short period of cardiac illness, the heart of Andrzej Szczeklik ceased to beat on the morning of Friday, 3 February 2012. This ended the life on Earth of an extraordinary man, but his legacy will prevail. Driven by a relentless curiosity and a compassion for science, his life achievements are manifold and substantial in diverse areas. Among respiratory physicians and allergo­logists, he will be remembered as the world‑leading authority on aspirin‑asthma. At this juncture, it is particularly ironic that Andrzej Szczeklik should be recognized among cardio­logists due to his publication of a number of key basic and clinical findings relating to diagnosis and treatment of thrombosis and cardiovascular disease. Current and future generations of Polish medical students and specialists will remember him as Editor of the very modern textbook of internal medicine, which is continuously updated with the most current scientific evidence. For some laymen, his name will be associated with the authorship of two fascinating books integrating profound knowledge on humanities, art and science into thoughtful perspectives on history, society, and above all, the life of human beings. We understand that for many people in Poland, Szczeklik will also be remembered for his contributions to academic and societal freedom at times when many black shadows made life difficult.

Born in Krakow in 1938 as the son of the eminent Polish Professor of Internal Medicine, Edward Szczeklik, it may be more than coincidental that young Andrzej, mostly known as Andrew outside Poland, developed a deep commitment to the improvement of the health of his fellow humans. He received his basic medical training in his home town, Krakow, followed by a 1-year inter­nship at Monmouth Medical Center, New Jersey, in the United States in the early 1960s. Back in Poland in 1963, he moved to the Academy of Medicine in Wrocław where he obtained his PhD in 1966 (“The activity of serum aminopeptidases in the diseases of liver and biliary tract”) and continued to work as an inter­nist. In 1972, he moved back to Krakow to become the chairman of the University’s Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and in 1989, he became chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow. Andrzej Szczeklik was always in the forefront of the inter­national scientific community, much due to his prolific reading as well as regular exchange of ideas with colleagues all over the world. He also trained abroad on many occasions, including monthly stints at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and University of Uppsala, Sweden, as well as at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, United States. In the years 1985–1989, Andrew Szczeklik was a visiting professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sheffield, UK, King’s College School of Medicine, London, UK and Hochgebirgsklinik Davos­‑Wolfgang, Switzerland. During 1990–1993, he was elected the Rector (President) of the Copernicus Academy of Medicine in Krakow, and then Vice‑Rector of the Jagiellonian University for Medical College (1993–1996). Although he had formally been retired from his clinical duties for a few years, he continued to be a very active and passionate leader of the research team in Krakow that arguably is the inter­nationally most recognized Polish centre within Respiratory Medicine and Allergology. From 2006 until present, he held the position of Vice‑President in the Polish Academy of Sciences and Arts. During the time of Pope John Paul II, also from Krakow, Szczeklik was a member of the scientific advisory committee of the Vatican.

The movement back to his hometown Krakow initiated a scientifically very productive period in the early 1970s when, in particular, the seminal demonstration of the mechanism involved in aspirin­-intolerant asthma was made.1 This is Szczeklik’s most cited original paper. In this paper, published in the British Journal of Medicine in 1975, eleven patients with previously reported or documented intolerance to aspirin were challenged orally at different occasions with rising doses of eight different analgesic drugs. Indomethacin, mefenamic acid, flufenamic acid, and phenylbutazone triggered bronchoconstriction in therapeutic or lower doses, whereas even high doses of salicylamide, para­cetamol, benzydamine, and chloroquine were tolerated. The propensity of the drugs to elicit adverse reactions correlated directly with their ability to inhibit prostaglandin bio­synthesis in vitro. These results unequivocally demonstrated that the intolerance reaction was related to inhibition of prostaglandin bio­synthesis. Sadly enough, even today there are occasional deaths due to failure among health professionals to recognise that the intolerance is a class effect of all nonsteroidal anti‑inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that inhibit the cyclo‑oxygenase (COX) reaction. Such unfortunate subjects may have been given ibuprofen as an alternative when they have reported intolerance to aspirin. Furthermore, this original study also showed that patients with NSAID intolerance generally tolerate salicylates and para­cetamol (acetaminophen). This has much later been explained by the discovery that these two NSAIDs are only weak inhibitors of the COX‑1 isoenzyme, which is now recognised as the target of drugs that elicit the intolerance reaction. Accordingly, Szczeklik and his team have alone2 or in collaboration with others3 shown that aspirin/NSAID‑intolerant asthmatics tolerate selective COX‑2 inhibitors.

It should be appreciated that this first demonstration of the relation between prostaglandin bio­synthesis and clinical reaction truly was translational medicine before the term was coined. That seminal study, as often is the case, occurred in a very creative environment. And so, the group included a pharmaco­logist, Ryszard Grygewski, also from Krakow. Gryglewski had trained with Sir John Vane in London and had been a member of the team which in the beginning of the 1970s discovered that the common mode of action of anti‑inflammatory NSAIDs was to inhibit prostaglandin formation. This was one of the reasons why Sir John was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1982 for the discoveries on prostaglandins and other compounds, together with Sune Bergström and Bengt Samuelsson from the Karolinska Institutet. Szczeklik had long been intrigued by the clinical features of aspirin intolerance, which were incidentally first described in the Polish city of Poznan a few years after aspirin had been introduced as an analgesic.4 Together with Gryglewski, it was now possible to design the pivotal study to test the hypothesis that the clinical reactions were related to the anti‑inflammatory properties of the drugs. The pharmaco­logic effects of the drugs on prostaglandin bio­synthesis in vitro were assessed by bio­assay on the rat stomach strip. This was at that time the state-of-the-art method for measurement of prostaglandins. The prostaglandins were generated by incubating bovine seminal vesicle microsomes with arachidonic acid, also the best available method. The clinical response was evaluated in challenge protocols which Szczeklik developed. Moreover, it should be recognised that this was a demanding provocation study where eleven subjects were challenged each with different NSAIDs on up to eight occasions.

Szczeklik has also contributed to studies associated with the other main reason for Sir John being awarded a Nobel Prize, namely the discovery of prostacyclin as an antiplatelet vasodilator. Thus, together with Gryglewski he performed the first intravenous injections of prostacyclin (PGI2) in humans and reported in The Lancet5 and other journals on the beneficial effect of PGI2 on the peripheral circulation in arteriosclerosis. Altogether, many out of some 650 publications that Szczeklik authored concerned effects of eicosanoids and other messenger molecules such as nitric oxide on haemostasis and cardiovascular responses, aiming to gain a better understanding of cardiac and vascular diseases.

Szczeklik and his team have over the past 35 years performed a step‑wise dissection of the key mechanisms in aspirin/NSAID‑intolerant asthma that have taught us most of what we know about this enigmatic syndrome. So far, the best explanation of the pathophysiology in aspirin‑intolerant asthma, namely that the patients for some reason are particularly dependent upon the ability of PGE2 to stabilise mast cells, rests considerably on the observation that inhalation of PGE2 blocks the aspirin‑induced bronchoconstriction in aspirin‑intolerant asthma.6 Although we still do not understand why this “PGE2‑dependence” develops in this particular group of patients, it is clear that inhibition of PGE2 formation with NSAIDs has detrimental effects and is associated with mast cell activation.7

Aspirin‑intolerant asthma is arguably the most well-defined phenotype of asthma. With an adult onset and a preponderance among women, subjects characteristically suffer from chronic rhino‑
-sinusitis and nonallergic asthma where ingestion of aspirin and other NSAIDs will induce broncho-
constriction. The natural history and much of the clinical features of aspirin‑intolerant asthma have been established by a pan‑European project that Szczeklik initiated in the 1990s. Together with, in particular, his long‑time close collaborator, Professor Ewa Niżankowska-Mogilnicka, Szczeklik had the vision to create a database of aspirin-intolerant asthmatics from all over Europe and take advantage of the emerging computer technology. There were, however, many steps between the vision and the completion of the project. For example, the personal computers were at that time still at a very primitive stage and there were many hurdles on the road to completion. The team struggled on and in the end data from 500 patients were collected. This is the largest collection of subjects with aspirin‑intolerant asthma ever systematically characterised. Despite origins from 16 centres in ten European countries, the clinical picture of aspirin‑intolerant asthma was remarkably homo­genous.8 As inclusion in the study required provocation verified diagnosis, one recurrent impression acknowledged by most that have worked with aspirin‑intolerant asthma was in fact verified in the study. Thus, surprisingly, 15% of the patients in the study were unaware of intolerance to aspirin and learnt about it only after having provocation tests performed. In fact, this happened also when Szczeklik visited Japan. On his first visit, his hosts said that they rarely saw these patients, but when they started to do provocations after his visit, the prevalence of aspirin‑intolerant asthma turned out to be as frequent in Japan as around other centres with the experience of the syndrome. After that many important contributions to our knowledge about the syndrome have been made by colleagues in Japan, as well as in other Asian countries.

Following the AIANE experience, Szczeklik has almost every year during the past decade arranged a very friendly gathering in Krakow of clinical and basic scientists with an inter­est in aspirin‑intolerant asthma. This HANNA (European Network on Hypersensitivities to aspirin and other NSAIDs) meeting was initially partly funded by the European Union supported GA2LEN network of excellence for asthma and allergy, but with time Szczeklik covered most of the costs himself. The meetings were very inter­active and always managed to bring in participants that had new findings and ideas to share. We will now certainly miss Andrew much at future meetings, but we are convinced that they will continue in his spirit, and piece by piece the mysteries of aspirin‑
-intolerant asthma will be unraveled.

Jacek Hawiger

Upon hearing the stunning news about Andrzej Szczeklik’s untimely death, I was overwhelmed by its suddenness. I learned from Andrzej’s wife, Maria, and daughter, Ania, how he was in the thick of things until his last days, planning the next Symposium, preparing his next book, and arranging the next trip. He was a patient in his beloved “Klinika”, the 2nd Department of Medicine of the Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow. “Klinika” was his brainchild and work in progress ever since the communist authorities assigned Andrzej in 1972 to the Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology while some of us, his peers, were getting junior faculty positions in Poland and abroad. Andrzej had chosen to stay in his native Poland and by espousing the philosophy of “Organic Work” had turned around his “Post”, the old dilapidated Tuberculosis Hospital, into a modern marvel of Internal Medicine; he became its Chairman in 1989. By overcoming huge barriers, he transformed grim wards into functional patient rooms; a new wing was built with diagnostic and research laboratories furnished with the state of the art equipment; a new lecture hall and conference rooms were added, where Andrzej’s guests from European and American universities were sharing advanced concepts and techno­logical breakthroughs. A new cadre of students and fellows was rigorously trained to become highly accomplished physician-
-scientists and scientists. They include, among scores of others, Ewa Niżankowska-Mogilnicka, Anetta Undas (Editor-in-Chief of this Journal), Marek Sanak, and Jacek Musiał, Andrzej’s successor as the Chairman of the 2nd Department of Medicine. Among thousands of patients from all walks of life, treated and studied by “the Professor” and his younger colleagues, were world-renowned writers, philosophers, editors, and moviemakers.

Andrzej’s vision for clinical research foreshadowed the present-day emphasis on translational studies. Sidney Brenner, the 2002 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery of messenger RNA, has called, in his lecture on “The Next 100 Years of Biology”, for the exploration of the vast range of genetic diversity that exists among human beings to understand better the complex function of the human body. He admonished his audience at Vanderbilt University in 2006: “Skip the mouse models. Go directly to humans”. This was already well practiced by Andrzej Szczeklik and his cadre of younger collaborators. They conducted with Ryszard Gryglewski the first human studies of prostacyclin, developed a new para­digm of aspirin-induced asthma, and studied new para­meters of susceptibility to coronary atherothrombosis.

The dizzying pace of advances made in the diagnosis and treatment of major diseases requires protocols tested in well-controlled multi-center studies. Andrzej was a strong believer in the application of the scientific method to human disease as the basis for evidence-based medicine. Again, transferring this newly emerging state-of-the-art knowledge base to thousands of practicing physicians, some located far way from academic medical centers, was of great concern to Andrzej and his colleagues. Thus, Medycyna Praktyczna was born with Andrzej as its Godfather and Piotr Gajewski as a founding Editor. Piotr and his team have built a learning platform for thousands of practicing inter­nists in the form of the monthly Medycyna Praktyczna (Practical Medicine). This remarkably effective initiative to elevate the science and practice of medicine in Poland has expanded from a monthly journal of Internal/General Medicine into bimonthly editions of Pediatrics, Surgery, and half a dozen other specialties.

Among all modern amenities in his beloved “Klinika”, Andrzej Szczeklik was particularly proud of one item, the white piano. He was himself an avid piano player, raising the spirits of experts from all over the world participating in Symposia organized by him during the darkest years of Martial Law. In “Klinika”, the white piano was primarily for patients to listen to uplifting music played by Andrzej and his musician-friends. Some of them belong to the legendary bohemian group holed up in the Piwnica pod Baranami. This avant-garde of satire, poetry, and music viewed Andrzej Szczeklik as one of their own. Indeed, literature, art history, and music were as facile to Andrzej as new concepts in bio­medicine and the intricacies of the human genome and human nature. These attributes exude from the pages of two uniquely elegant books that search for the soul of medicine, Catharsis and Kore. The latter features a beautiful picture of his granddaughter, Zosia. She and other grandchildren, as well as Andrzej’s children, form the core legacy of his extraordinary life. The city of Krakow and European Medicine will not be the same without the iconic Andrzej Szczeklik.

Stephen T. Holgate

Andrew Szczeklik has made so many outstanding contributions to medical science that it is difficult to know where to start. There will be many references in this series of vignettes to a wide range of Andrew’s activities including his extraordinary contributions to medical education in Poland and his love for experimental medicine and translational research. His time as a Visiting Professor with John Martin in Sheffield (now at University College London) in the mid 1980s, and the times he spent at the Burroughs Wellcome laboratories with Sir John Vane, served to stimulate a research career focused on understanding the mechanism of aspirin in cardiovascular disease. Even early on in his medical career, Andrew displayed a remarkable thirst for new knowledge. This took him to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the Karolinska Institute and University of Uppsala in Sweden, all of which fuelled his inter­ests in inflammation and the chemical mediators responsible. With his inter­ests in cardiovascular disease, platelet function, and thrombosis, he was soon to develop a deep inter­est in arachidonic acid meta­bolites especially prostanoids.

Perusal of his many peer‑reviewed research publications and books illustrates how, throughout his illustrious career, he utilised knowledge from one medical speciality to add new light on another. His experience with prostacyclin for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension (1980), unstable angina (1980), and ischaemic ulcers (1985) are major contributions to medical science, but it is his fascination with asthma associated with aspirin intolerance (AIA) that has especially endured. Indeed, simply mentioning the term AIA produces immediate images of Andrew toiling away with his colleagues Richard Gryglewski, Marek Sanak, and Ewa Niżankowska-Mogilnicka to uncover the underlying mechanisms behind this unique subtype of asthma.

Over 60 publications on aspirin hypersensitivity spread over Andrew’s entire career illustrates his total commitment to pursuing its mechanisms and treatment. Original research demonstrated distinct eicosanoid patterns at baseline and following aspirin challenge. He developed and refined oral aspirin and inhaled lysine aspirin challenges as diagnostic tests. He uncovered both leukotriene D4 synthase and human leukocyte antigen genetic associations with AIA. A great confirmatory step forward was the clear demonstration that patients with AIA responded well to treatment with zileuton, a 5‑lipoxygensae inhibitor, and montelukast, a selective cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 1 antagonist. However, probably his greatest contribution was the discovery that AIA was linked to reduced prostaglandin E2 production by asthmatic fibroblasts and epithelial cells and that this deficiency lay at the feet of a preponderance of cyclooxygenase 1 activity. To test such a hypothesis, he showed that patients with AIA could tolerate treatment with selective cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors such as rofecoxib. Thus, the complete pathway was now exposed with aspirin, a nonselective cyclooxygenase inhibitor, inhibiting cyclooxygenase 1, reducing PGE2 synthesis in the airways, thereby removing the “brake” on exuberant contractile cysteinyl leukotriene production by inflammatory cells in the asthmatic airways.

My small contribution to this story was in the form of a wonderful collaboration that Tony Sampson and I had with Andrew and K Frank Austen in Boston when uncovering increased cysteinyl leukotriene C4 synthase activity in mast cells and eosinophils in the airways of AIA that was associated with increased airway and urinary leukotriene levels. However, since I also had a long‑time inter­est in inflammatory mechanisms in asthma and the role of eicosanoid mediators, Andrew’s and my paths frequently crossed since the mid 1980s especially in the field of prostanoid meta­bolism and the effects of the mast cell prostaglandin, PGD2, whose meta­bolism and effects I studied.

The description I offer of Andrew’s pursuit of underlying disease pathophysiology applies just as much to his huge contributions to understanding inflammatory and thrombotic aspects of cardiovascular disease. For these lifelong studies, he also used combinations of epidemiology, experimental medicine, and clinical trials not only to expose novel disease pathways but to test their disease relevance functionally. It is this remarkable dexterity as a clinical scientist paying absolute attention to experimental and analytical detail that marked Andrew out as a very special clinical scientist and in no small part is this mix of talents that enabled him to make so many contributions for patient benefit.

Andrew and I have attended many scientific meetings together at which he was both scientifically stimulating and tremendously good company that was reflected in his great love of music, classical and contemporary literature, and history. It was a very special pleasure for Sven‑Eric Dahlén and I to feature Andrew as a guest lecturer at our 1997 symposium “SRS‑A to Leukotrienes: the Dawning of a New Treatment”, where he first laid out his ideas on the eicosanoid imbalance theory of AIA. It was also a huge pleasure for me to welcome and give the citation for Andrew as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1998 as one of his very many awards. Andrew introduced me to Poland’s academic community in the most pleasant way by asking the Jagiellonian University to bestow upon me an honorary doctorate and for the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences to accept me as an Overseas Member.

How do I remember Andrew? – a true gentleman who was both brilliant and humble, a man who expressed so much humanity; he was a friend to so many, a man who must have fought so many battles quietly and without fuss to become a true leader not only of scientists but in setting an example to inspire so many. It has been an absolute pleasure to have known such a kind, charismatic, and productive person.

Hieronim Jakubowski

I have crossed my scientific path with Professor Andrzej Szczeklik about a dozen years ago. As basic scientist with training in physical chemistry, bio­chemistry, microbiology, molecular bio­logy, and molecular genetics, I never expected that my research in the area of fidelity of the genetic code translation and protein bio­synthesis accuracy would lead to clinical studies of human disease. But this did happen and here is a story of how I was privileged to meet Professor Andrzej Szczeklik.

In the 1990s, a product of methionine meta­bolism – homo­cysteine – was recognized as a new risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which generated a lot of inter­est also in the mass media. At that time, one of my projects attempted to answer a question regarding why homo­cysteine is not a protein amino acid. I realized that the fundamental mechanisms that prevented access of homo­cysteine to the genetic code must be responsible, at least in part, for the toxicity of homo­cysteine to the cardiovascular system. As I have quickly learned, Professor Szczeklik has had related scientific inter­ests and was studying the role of homo­cysteine in blood clotting and arterial stiffness.

My first meeting with Professor Szczeklik in 1998 was indirect, through his coworkers, Marek Krzanowski and Barbara Domagała, who presented their homo­cysteine‑related human studies at the 2nd Homocysteine Conference in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, at which I presented my basic science studies of homo­cysteine editing in cultured human cells. After seeing and hearing Professor Szczeklik’s group presentations, I realized that by combining efforts of our research groups, we can faster achieve answers to the questions regarding the mechanism(s) underlying the pathogenicity of homo­cysteine that we both were asking. After the meeting, I wrote to Professor Szczeklik and proposed that we collaborate in the area of homo­cysteine research, particularly on the aspects involving human subjects to whom I did not have access. He responded immediately and invited me and my wife to visit Krakow and his clinic; what struck me in his response was his youthful enthusiasm.

I finally met Professor Szczeklik in person at the Department of Internal Medicine in Krakow in the summer of 2000. We talked for several hours in his office on topics ranging from our scientific inter­ests and how and why each of us embarked on a scientific career, to medicine and issues facing physicians who want to pursue scientific research in order to understand etiology of human disease, which would allow them to provide more effective treatments for their patients. Professor Szczeklik was one of such rare physicians – scientists. After listening to my seminar on a mechanism underlying pathophysiology of elevated homo­cysteine, which I proposed a few years earlier, we talked more about areas of common scientific inter­ests, considered a collaboration, and I invited the members of his group to my laboratory at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, which Professor Szczeklik enthusiastically gave his blessing to. As we were leaving the Clinic for “Pod Aniołami” restaurant, Professor Szczeklik proudly showed me the surroundings of his Clinic (including the panorama of the city from the top roof) and, in a nice little garden in the front of the Clinic, a statue of Piotr Skrzynecki, a well‑known citizen of Krakow famous from the Piwnica Pod Baranami cabaret. Professor Szczeklik’s pride was justified because he was instrumental in erecting the statue. During the lunch at “Pod Aniołami”, Professor Szczeklik remembered his experience of coming to the United States as a young doctor for a post‑doctoral studies to enrich his scientific knowledge. I was astonished to learn that his American experiences from mid 1960s were quite different from my experiences as a post‑doc in America about a decade later. After lunch, Professor Szczeklik gave me a lightning tour of the Old Town with highlights including the Residence of Archbishops, in front of which people used to gather during the dark days of communism to listen to spirit‑
-lifting sermons delivered by Cardinal Wojtyła.

In the inter­vening years after my first personal meeting with Professor Szczeklik, we continued our scientific contacts through his collaborators, Anetta Undas, Barbara Domagała and Wojciech Sydor, whom I have met at the Homocysteine Conference in Sorrento, Italy, in July 2001. In February 2003, I visited Professor Szczeklik at his Clinic in Krakow again and had similarly pleasant experiences of his company. During the visit, I acquired a copy of Professor Szczeklik’s book Catharsis: on the Art of Medicine with the Author’s dedication. While reading the book, I found several topics that we discussed during my visits. This book confirmed my original impression of Professor Szczeklik as an exceptional physician, scientist, and humanist. In 2003 and 2004, two members of his group, Anetta Undas and Barbara Domagała, came to work in my lab at the New Jersey Medical School. Both visits were fruitful and resulted in excellent publications. Anetta Undas brought her experiences from my lab where she studied human N‑homocysteinylated‑protein auto­antibodies, to Professor Szczeklik’s lab, where she creatively pursued this area of research. These positive experiences provided an important motivation in maintaining and expanding my contacts with scientists in Poland and accepting professorships and establishing my research programs at the Institute of Organic Biochemistry and at the University of Life Sciences in Poznań.

I have chosen perhaps an easy path to carry out my scientific research at an American medical school, which brought me a lot of satisfaction. When I visited my old home country in the past and met and talked to Polish scientists, most of them were curious whether I would consider returning back to Poland. Professor Szczeklik was a rare exception and did not bring this subject. In our private conversations, we did not question our choices – his to pursue science at home in Poland and mine to exploit the opportunities offered in scientific research in the United States. I believe that Professor Szczeklik was as happy with his choices as I was with mine. We both achieved a high degree of satisfaction in our scientific pursuits, he at home in Krakow and myself in the USA and Poland. We both understood that, in addition to a rigorous education, it required a focus and a lot of determination and persistence to achieve success in one’s scientific endeavors, regardless of the af­filiation. Professor Szczeklik had those qualities and successfully used them to pursue his goals in the science and art of medicine. Given the limited resources available to Polish scientists, particularly in the past when Professor Szczeklik was embarking on his scientific and medical career, it is remarkable that he was able to organize his Clinic and carry out innovative research that was recognized also outside Poland. His success proves that a high quality scientific and medical research can also be carried out in Poland and provides a motivation for aspiring young doctors – scientists.

I was deeply saddened to learn that Professor Szczeklik passed away on 3 February 2012.

Franciszek Kokot

It was an icy February day. I was sitting in my office preparing my presentation for the forthcoming 37th Congress of the Polish Society of Internal Medicine, which was scheduled for April 12–14, 2012. Suddenly, the telephone rang and I immediately recognized the voice of my friend, Peter Gajewski, the nearest collaborator of Professor Andrew Szczeklik. „What happened? How can I help you?” I asked Peter. After a while of complete silence Peter said: „Francis, I have a very bad message for you – Andrew died this morning”. There were no more questions and answers. This message completely para­lyzed my voice. I was sitting immobilized at my desk while 50 years of friendship with Andrew flashed through my brain. This friendship started in the early 1970s, when Andrew, a young doctor, worked on the diagnostic value of gamma­‑gluatamyl­‑transpeptidase and cobalt activated acylase together with Dr M. Orłowski and A. Szewczuk. As I too was inter­ested in clinical enzymology, our friendship strengthened from year to year. Beginning with 1979, he became the author of a chapter in the textbook of internal medicine, which was edited by me during the next 25 years, and which, after 8 editions, was replaced by a large textbook – Internal Medicine under the editorship of Andrew, and which in an updated version appears every year since 2005. His medical textbook is complemented by two literary masterpieces – Catharsis: on the Art of Medicine and Kore: on sickness, the sick, and the search for the soul of medicine, which were already published in several foreign languages.

Andrew was not only an experienced teacher but also a leading scientist in the field of aspirin asthma, well known all over the world. He was awarded the degree of doctor honoris causa by five universities, the honorary membership of more than ten inter­national scientific societies, and numerous esteemed inter­national honours and distinctions.

His sudden heart arrest left thousands of be­reaved patients, for whom he always was the source of hope. Countless doctors, scientific workers and inter­nists lost their teacher, who, by his personal example, showed, how to fight on behalf of common welfare, beauty, and truth in the increasingly deceitful world. Andrew was the icon and conscience of Polish medicine and especially inter­nal medicine, which he covered with glory all over the world.

Andrew bereaved so many of his dedicated coworkers and friends. They will remain in grief for a long time because they have lost an unattainable teacher, brilliant physician, and scientist, philosopher, and writer. We do well know how difficult it was for him to follow consequently selected paths of his life. Also for these reasons, we had great respect, esteem, and opinion for him.

Medicine became the love of his life. Although this love was sometimes a hard­‑fought victory or was followed by a Good Friday, he was never in doubt that every Good Friday is followed by a festive Resurrection.

Peace to your memory.

Eugeniusz J. Kucharz

The name Szczeklik has been well known to Polish medical students for the last half of the century at least. It also applies to me. When I was a third‑year medical student, one of my course requirements was to thoroughly study the basic handbook on the introduction to clinical medicine, the book on physical examination, and bed side diagnostics authored by Professor Edward Szczeklik, the father of Professor Andrew Szczeklik. This book, which the students nicknamed “The Small Szczeklik”,1 was the fundamental source of knowledge for numerous generations of Polish students of medicine. The last course of my medical education required that all students be studying “The Big Szczeklik”,2 a two‑volume handbook of inter­nal medicine also edited by Professor Edward Szczeklik. A year before my graduation, I received a new, enlarged, and updated edition of “The Small Szczeklik”;3 the book was authored for the first time by two authors: Professor Edward Szczeklik and his son, Andrew. It was probably the first time I had come across the name of Professor Andrew Szczeklik. Obtaining the new edition of the book was not easy at all. Due to a limited edition of printed copies, which resulted from restricted access to paper materials at the publishing house, only a few of those lucky ones were able to get the book and could pride themselves on owning it. Including me. When I reach back in time, I remember that many of us, medical students just before graduation, were craving the Szczekliks’ book and, thus, were looking for any connections with the staff at bookshops. I am pleased that the current generation of medical students in Poland listens to these memories as if they were a fairy tale.

In the late 1970s, I was working in the field of clinical bio­chemistry, and although my scientific inter­ests focused on the connective tissue meta­bolism, just as all my colleagues who also were young research workers, I was impressed and proud of great discoveries made by a Pole, Professor Andrew Szczeklik, in the area of prostaglandins and their role in the development of atherosclerosis as well as clinical application of prostacyclin. Each piece of news which was published by newspapers or broadcast by the radio or television was discussed in details in the laboratory I was working in. When I cast back my mind, I am still experiencing the same thrilling excitement we had in those days. Finally, Poles made an astonishing contribution to the world’s medicine after so many years of not being significantly visible.

The turn of the 1970s/1980s brought about meaningful political changes. The Solidarity Union was founded in 1980 and, a year later, was crushed down by brutal martial law imposed by the authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland. After years, I learnt that Professor Andrew Szczeklik actively participated in the movement of freedom and suffered persecution because of his actions. In the dark days of the martial law, the 16th International Congress of Internal Medicine took place in the neighboring country, Czechoslovakia (Prague). It presented an extraordinary opportunity to participate in a world meeting of inter­nists at relatively low costs and within “the iron curtain” area. It had taken several months and a number of applications before I received a permission to go abroad carrying a passport with a stamp inside stating “Valid for Czechoslovakia only”. I went to Prague to take part in the congress. The only invited lecture to be delivered by a Pole was the lecture on prostaglandings and atherosclerosis presented by Professor Andrew Szczeklik. I still remember the mesmerized audience listening to the lecture and taking in every word that was said, and I keep in mind both the soft voice of the lecturer and the unusual figures illustrating the lecture:4 the prostacyclin was depicted as an angel and thromboxane as a devil. It was probably the first time I had seen Professor Andrew Szczeklik in person.

Three years later, I moved to the United States. In 1986, The Lancet5 published my short letter on the forgotten priority of Edmund Biernacki to discover the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Two weeks after the publication of the paper, I received a congratulations letter from Professor Andrew Szczeklik. For me, a still young researcher in those days, it was a pure joy and honor I cannot express in words.

Upon my return to Poland, in 1991, I was elected secretary general of the Polish Society of Internal Medicine. Since the election, and particularly in the period of my presidency at the Polish Society of Internal Medicine (2004–2008), I would meet Professor Andrew Szczeklik on numerous occasions. I never ceased to be impressed by his ability to judge problems with consideration of all existing circumstances and factors, by his peaceful attitude towards all people and a great wisdom. Meeting Professor Andrew Szczeklik always constituted an intellectual pleasure. He was a modest man. When I was preparing a bio­graphy of his late father (Professor Edward Szczeklik), which was to be published in the Polish Archives of Internal Medicine,6 I asked him to review the manuscript. He agreed and made it with unusual modesty. I was surprised to notice that his small corrections took a form of kind proposals to alter the manuscript.

In the last two decades, we would meet on the occasions of conferences and meetings of the Society. I participated in the ceremony of conferring Professor Andrew Szczeklik the title of an honorary degree at the Medical University of Silesia in Zabrze. I feel honored to be a coauthor of his great book, Internal medicine,7 and that my translation of the Hippocratic Oath8 was appreciated by him and was mentioned in his book, Kore.9

In February 2012, during the proceedings of the Second Systemic Sclerosis Congress in Madrid, I received a text message, “Professor Szczeklik passed away”. This heartbreaking news was so tragic that I could not believe it. I immediately called up a friend of mine back in Poland and asked him to verify this information: “Check it please, it may be a spam”. Unfortunately, it was not …

When Professor Anetta Undas, the editor‑in‑chief of the Polish Archives of Internal Medicine turned to me with a request to write a few words in memory of Professor Andrew Szczeklik, I hesitated. Neither was I his close coworker, nor his disciple, but when I took more time and reflected on it, I realized that it is outstanding personalities such as Professor Andrew Szczeklik that inspire and significantly influence even those who are not their close or everyday collaborators. In fact, I owe so much to Professor Andrew Szczeklik. His personality radiated a unique value that encapsulated a real essence of medicine, i.e., the will and ability to treat a human being, an individual that is unique both as a human spirit and a very complex human body.10 Medicine is changing quickly, new findings substitute old theories, but medicine is something more than science. It is the art of healing a suffering individual. And yet, this simple statement, so difficult to be put into everyday practice, was the foundation of the entire professional life of Professor Andrew Szczeklik, not only a great physician, but also a great man above all. I feel grateful for being given the chance to meet, listen to, and discuss diverse topics with Professor Andrew Szczeklik. I am sure that he undoubtedly had a substantial influence upon my personal development as well.

Professor Andrew Szczeklik enjoyed music and took particular pleasure in playing the piano. I believe that he is now listening to angels’ music accompanied by warm memories, thoughts, and prayers of uncountable patients, physicians, and friends coming up from so many places from here, the Earth.

Non omnis moriar.

Kenneth G. Mann

One of the privileges we enjoy as members of the scientific community is inter­action with many brilliant and versatile individuals. When I was a reviewer for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, I came to know and befriend Jacek Hawiger. We were both committed to extending the boundaries of science career opportunities both in the United States and around the world. At the time, I was heavily involved in the inter­national science enterprise as a member of the Council of the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis (ISTH).

Jacek, a Polish ex‑patriot, maintained a strong relationship with the faculty of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Jointly with the faculty, he organized a symposium that included Yale Nemerson from Mount Sinai Medical School and myself. The meeting was in Szczawnica – a mountain resort in the south of Poland, where we went by bus. We stopped for beverages (mostly beer) and continued towards the resort for scientific and social meetings. I particularly remember hiking in the mountains with several students and enjoying a picnic with fresh lamb seasoned with evergreens. Later, during the party, I came to know a number of faculty including Andrew Szczeklik and he introduced me to a number of his protégés. Andrew was clearly a champion for his students and he sought opportunities in the West to expand their scientific career and experience.

I received two gifts, an honorarium in Polish zlotys, together with a very nice leather bound bottle of vodka. The zlotys were donated to Solidarity; the vodka mysteriously disappeared while I was out of town (I suspected my four sons and their friends but never found out).

I traveled home via Krakow and Warsaw. On one occasion, I ate at a restaurant in Warsaw, which offered an extensive menu with numerous pictures of the dishes. After browsing the menu carefully, I was informed by the waiter that my choice was “not available today” and neither the five other selections. Finally, I asked the waiter what was available today and he said “chicken”.

When in Poland, I also had limited experience with respect to the oppressive nature of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet domination of the country.

At the Warsaw airport, my passport and travel documents were investigated by the guards. Those exiting were exposed to a circuitous path that did not permit a visual sighting of what was ahead. Upon arriving at the desk, I was scrutenized by a  uniformed individual who evaluated my passport and visa stopping from time to time to look at me and at my papers. This minor encounter with the political system existing at that time was surely intimidating.

Andrew and I engaged subsequently scientifically through one of his protégés, Anetta Undas. Anetta came to the United States supported by a Fullbright foundation fellowship and began working on homo­cysteine modifications of factor V. Homocysteine is associated with thrombotic disease. The results of Anetta’s studies, while a fellow in my laboratory, showed the incorporation of homo­cysteine into factor V. This chemical modification inhibited the subsequent inactivation of the product factor Va by activated protein C, a major regulatory element of the coagulation system suggesting a rationale for the homo­cysteine‑thrombin connection.1 Subsequently, upon Anetta’s return to Krakow, my laboratory assisted the Szczeklik laboratory in the studies of blood coagulation and fibrinolytic products in the blood exuding from microvascular wounds produced in the forearm of volunteers. These studies initially were directed to the use of statin drugs. The resulting paper2 was the first to show that in addition to cholesterol-lowering effects of statins, these drugs produced a direct anti-
coagulant effect by suppressing thrombin generation and enhanced protein C activation. Subsequent studies using the same model systems showed anticoagulant effects associated with low-
-dose aspirin.3-5 This highly visible research was highlighted by dealing with statin drugs and aspirin in blood coagulation.6,7 The cooperation of Anetta Undas and Andrew Szczeklik resulted in 24 published papers.

Overall, the professional and social inter­actions initiated by Jacek Hawiger and Andrew Szczeklik established a firm bond between the program at the University of Vermont and the research program in thrombosis and hemo­stasis initially developed by Andrew and now by Anetta Undas and her colleagues at that institution.

My good friend and colleague, Desire Collen, was enormously successful in both the scientific and economic realms, as a result of the development of tissue plasminogen activator as a treatment for cardiovascular occlusions. Desire created a foundation that contributed resources to the ISTH to develop the “Reach the World” prize championed by Andrew and Jacek Hawiger. The resource, initially supported by the Collen Foundation, provided opportunities for investigators from economically disadvantaged parts of the world to attend the ISTH meetings and to be incorporated and to allow their incorporation into scientific fields associated with thrombosis and hemo­stasis. Andrew, by then a member, of the Council of ISTH took a major role in the development of this program.

Science has no national boundaries. However, intellectual contributors may be inhibited, but not suppressed, by economic and political oppression. The maintenance of Polish academic science foundations is illustrated by Andrew Szczeklik’s efforts to support his protégés during the oppressive political environment in Soviet Poland maintained at the Jagiellonian University.

John Martin

It was the first week of martial law, December 1981, and I found myself in Krakow by a circuitous route.

I had met Richard Gryglewski, Professor of Pharmacology, in Moscow earlier that year and been invited to give a lecture on a prearranged day, not knowing that General Jaruzelski would make my visit most memorable.

The meeting in Moscow also had been memorable. Without it, I would not have met Andrew. The story starts when I received an invitation to attend the World Heart Federation conference in the Russian capital in the summer of 1981 (I would not have met Andrew there as he would never have gone to Russia, such was his Polishness). Sir John Vane, Nobel Laureate and friend of Richard and Andrew, had heard of my trip to Moscow. He asked if I would take a white powder secretly in my pocket and find Richard Gryglewski. I immediately said yes, knowing I would relish the adventure no matter what the powder was. It turned out to be the first synthesis of prostacycline, the hormone discovered by Richard while he was working at the Wellcome Foundation Research Laboratories in London. It was difficult finding a Pole in Moscow in the time of Breznev, but after much detective work I knocked on a hotel room door which was opened by Richard: “I have come from London with something for you,” I said. Later, Richard told me that his first thought was “The KGB are speaking very good English nowadays”. We became friends and Richard invited me to come to Krakow to give a lecture later in the year.

Next happened an event which had delighted Andrew when I related it. After leaving Richard’s hotel I went straight to the British Embassy, on the other side of the river from the Kremlin. I got out of the taxi and realised I had forgotten my passport, which was necessary to get through the Russian security. In front of the embassy were about one hundred troops. Emboldened by the vodka I had drunk with Richard Gryglewski, I strode to the officer in charge and withdrew my National Westminster Bank credit card from my pocket and presented it to his face as though it was a message from Her Majesty. He saluted and parted the troops for my entry to the embassy. When I related this to Andrew he laughed: “You see, we can defeat the Soviet Union!”

I had arranged the date of my visit with Richard Gryglewski. It was a few days hence when my secretary told me that the last plane for Warsaw was leaving the next morning. I asked her to telephone Krakow. There were no telephone lines so I could not ring and cancel my visit. I had promised to give a lecture so I had to go. And so began my love affair with Poland.

The plane from Warsaw to Krakow was great fun. Militia stood in the aisle with truncheons drawn. To go to the toilet, you had to put your hand up and be escorted by a militia man and leave the door open. Of course I delighted in exercising this privilege. On reaching the Krakow airport, there were no telephones or taxis. I started walking towards Krakow and was soon picked up by a civilian car. However, he left me in the Market Square, which was dark with grey buildings and deserted apart from a line of military armoured vehicles. I presented the piece of paper containing Richard Gryglewski’s address to the soldiers sitting on the first tank and asked for directions. And so, for the second time, I surprised Richard with a knock on his door. I gave my lecture and since I was a clinician and Andrew Szczeklik was a clinician, he introduced me to an excited audience of between 200 and 300 people. He later told me that under military law, no more than three people could gather together in one place. Next day he organised a collection of small amounts of petrol to get enough to send me by car to Zakopane. I walked from there up to the Black Tarn under Rysy, which in the past Andrew had climbed from the Czech side. Thus started my friendship with Andrew; one of the half dozen most important in my life. And when I stood by his coffin in St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow, my total intricate relationship with him felt as if it existed independently of me and independently of his death (as the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus would have understood). So perhaps this is life after death: the existence of our relationship independently of our physical bodies.

The funeral in the Basilica was an effortless integration of all aspects of society – government, university, health service, Solidarity, the people, and probably many patients. Further west in Europe, such expression of social solidarity has been lost.

A warm memory of Andrew is his sabbatical in Sheffield University where he stayed happily with his family. The headmaster of the school where his boys were to learn inter­viewed Andrew and Maria. He apo­logised to them with great sadness that from that term on, the school would no longer be allowed to use the cane. Andrew and I recalled this with hilarity on many occasions. It gave him insight into the fall of the British Empire. While in Sheffield, Andrew did experimental work with me and became expert in giving anaesthetics to rats whilst I operated. After one of these sessions, we walked through the university animal laboratories and saw monkeys watching the news on television. Andrew asked “why are the monkeys watching Independent Television News”? The reply, “Because the BBC news doesn’t start till 6 p.m.”. On many occasions, we laughed together remembering this Englishness. Andrew became licenced to practice medicine in the UK and I suggested that he should consider staying in the West permanently. “No” he said, “I must return to Poland, no matter how difficult it is”.

He was a man of sensitivity in poetry and music. We went together to a Promenade concert in the Royal Albert Hall to listen to Britten’s War Requiem. He had perfect musical pitch and complained that he found it painful that the composer had not resolved a particular phrase. He was also deeply understanding of art. Once, on my birthday in New York, I took a group of inter­national friends attending a conference to see my favourite painting: a very large red canvas by Barnett Newman with a few vertical thin white or yellow lines. I explained to my friends what it meant to me. They looked at each other with incomprehension and disbelief; the Australian, the Frenchman, the Dane, and the Englishman were all unmoved. But Andrew, the romantic Pole, understood. Andrew and I looked at the name of the painting: “Vir Heroicus Sublimis”. And we were united in an understanding of art and the destiny of man, the heroic and sublime.

Andrew was also courageous, as were most members of Solidarity. Once, on New Year’s Day, we were walking in the mountains above Zakopane. In a high valley, we found ourselves in deep powder snow up to the top of our thighs. It started snowing heavily. “Let’s go back” I said. “No, let’s go on”. So Andrew was a more courageous man than I was. We did go on with Andrew leading me through a wonderful Tatra experience and then back to dinner cooked by Maria.

He played jazz on the piano and drank vodka but was also mystical. On a later visit to London, he lived in my house. What a pleasure it was to return home and hear Andrew playing Chopin on the piano as only a Pole can play it.

He told me that when he returned from America as a young doctor, he prayed to God to send him someone for his life. “And then I met Maria, sent from God”. And Maria understood the importance of angels. They were a mystical couple together.

Andrew was all these things but he also had a loneliness within, a loneliness I recognise within myself and perhaps you, the reader, recognise it within yourself too. But Andrew’s loneliness was profound. That is why he looked towards the horizon – that is why he continued walking in the deep snow.

But he was also attached to the present in medicine. His patients loved him. At the cemetery I was near the back of the hundreds in the crowd. Beside me an old man, simply and poorly dressed, tugged at my sleeve. With tears in his eyes he spoke to me about something important to him. I told him I spoke no Polish. But I knew it was about Andrew that he spoke and I knew that he was a patient. We looked at each other and smiled, each remembering Andrew.

Thus passes one of us; a doctor and a lonely mystic.

Jacek Musiał

It was not an easy task to perform bio­medical research in Poland in the 1970s. But it was in 1972 when Associate Professor Andrzej Szczeklik came to Krakow to become the head of the Department of Allergology of the local School of Medicine. I joined the Department a year later and started my professional career in a small ward on the top floor of an old hospital building. The first move of the 34‑year‑old head of the Department was to transfer a small cellar room into a research laboratory. We were seeing patients in the morning and then in the afternoon we learned about lab methods, or spent several hours in the medical library to read foreign medical journals that were hardly available at the time. We also browsed the “Current Contents” where by using key words we were able to find scientific articles of a particular inter­est. Then we were taught to use preprinted postcards to ask authors for most relevant reprints. Xerox copies were a luxury with a limited number of copies reserved for the heads of the departments.

It required a lot of determination and effort to start research in those times. A young Professor Szczeklik was always the first in all these activities. During communism, the value of a dollar was enormous. A small bottle of a simple chemical reagent for the lab use could cost more than our monthly pay, but let us not speak about lab equipment. Some of those bottles came in the professor’s pocket from the rare trips to the Western Europe, being usually a gift from the scientists Andrzej Szczeklik visited during those trips.

In the late 1970s, Professor Szczeklik brought from England one of the first versions of the Born’s aggregometer, a relatively simple device to measure platelet aggregation in patient’s plasma. It required the help of the Rector of the University of Science and Technology and its engineers to bring the device to life, and to manufacture hand‑made silicone‑coated glass cuvettes and plastic‑covered stirring bars necessary to perform the tests. Of course, in the United States and in Western Europe, you could simply buy all that stuff. At that time, we already knew about the possible role of platelet thrombi in the pathogenesis of myocardial infarction and the inhibitory action of aspirin on platelet function. And thus my research began, which later developed into a doctor’s thesis. Most importantly, we were keeping pace with similar research going on in the United States and Western Europe.

But to run a competitive research center, it was not enough to furnish the lab with relatively simple devices. Methodology was much more important. At that time, platelet function abnormalities were thought to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and its acute complication – myocardial infarction. It was (and still is) necessary to learn more complicated laboratory methodology abroad. This meant finding money for such scholarship. Again, this was a “mission impossible” if you did not have contacts in the Ministry of Health. Professor Szczeklik decided to contact a Polish researcher, who had left Poland 10 years earlier, and established himself as a chief of the lab specialized in platelet research at the Temple University in Philadelphia. The scientist was Professor Stefan Niewiarowski. He understood the problem quite well and this way in the beginning of 1979, during a snowy and cold winter, I left Poland (by plane for the first time in my life!) and landed in Philadelphia. Professor Szczeklik knew, I am sure, that this one‑year postdoctoral fellowship would not only enrich our lab with new methodology but also teach his assistants ways and means to conduct modern research. This is how we started an important section of our studies devoted to thrombosis and hemo­stasis in the 2ndDepartment of Internal Medicine. Soon, an antiplatelet and vasodilatory prostanoid – prostacyclin – was for the first time administered to men (that is – ourselves!) and the results were published in The Lancet. We were on top. Currently, that is in 2012, after all these years and many obvious changes, thrombosis and hemo­stasis still remain the center of our research.

Personally, I think that those remarkable efforts to create a scientific environment in such difficult times paved the way to the present worldwide position of Professor Szczeklik in bio­medical research.

Ewa Niżankowska-Mogilnicka

My first meeting with Professor Andrew Szczeklik has remained in my memory to this day. It was a sunny winter day in February 1972. I was just finishing my studies at the Faculty of Medicine, being mainly inter­ested in cardiology and inter­nal medicine in general, and I was looking for a job at the time. Dr Jerzy Szczeklik, now Professor of Cardiology, who was a tutor of our students’ scientific group, told me that his brother Andrew was going to obtain a post as Head of the Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Krakow. He strongly advised me to go and meet Andrew at a job inter­view. “He’s an extremely brilliant man” – he said. I already knew that Andrew Szczeklik’s scientific inter­ests were very broad, in allergology and cardiology alike, so I decided to see him without any delay. During a one‑hour conversation, he asked many questions about my studies, my plans for the future and my scientific inter­ests in cardiology. It was a very friendly meeting. At the end he said: “Ewa, you can start work here as a volunteer immediately. Then, we’ll see.”

A few months later it turned out I was the first assistant he employed after moving from Wrocław to Krakow. Even today there are very few people in Poland who understand medicine as thoroughly as he did, in both general and specialist fields alike. Therefore, I regarded the opportunity to work with him as an intellectual adventure and an extraordinary privilege.

He was a very hard‑working and dedicated person, who spent days and nights in the clinic. In addition to imparting his extensive medical knowledge to his students, he also taught us the importance of having empathy and showing compassion when counselling patients, some of whom where on their deathbed.

As a boss, he was extremely demanding, but very helpful and willing to share his knowledge and skills. His inter­est in our achievements motivated us to self‑development. I had the privilege to publish scientific papers prepared jointly with Professor Szczeklik and to share the research process with him. The professor’s great passion for science was coupled with a para­doxical conviction of the frailty of research deliverables and results of our efforts. He knew that due to the progress of science many things we take for granted today will soon be undermined, put in parentheses and replaced by more contemporary, stronger arguments.

Being such an eminent scientist and a man devoted to experiential learning, Professor Szczeklik taught us at the same time that science is only a part of cognitive knowledge, and that medicine based on scientific data does not only rely on rigid observance of guidelines and recommendations. He showed us that patient treatment should be based not only on scientific data and the clinical situation but also on the patient’s preferences and system of values and on our individual experience and skills.

Many people consider Professor Szczeklik a humanist since he wrote Catharsis and Kore, two outstanding and beautiful books that touched upon art, music, philosophy, and literature. But for those who knew him better, he was a true humanist mostly because he was unrivalled in incorporating the humanist perspective into medicine in Poland. He viewed illness as a disruption of the cosmic harmony, and ascribed to the physician the role to restore this harmony and to attune the patient to the rhythms of the universe.

For that reason he was trusted by the luminaries of Polish culture. Among his patients were the Nobel Prize winners Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska, the composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and the journalist Jerzy Turowicz. Ordinary patients wrote him letters of thanks, whilst the artists performed for him at the annual name day ceremony at the Piwnica pod Baranami cabaret.

Almost 40 years passed since my first meeting with Professor Szczeklik and many things have changed. I have become a professor of medicine at the Jagiellonian University and a member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. A few weeks ago, Professor Szczeklik’s health worsened and he was hospitalized in our intensive care unit. I visited him almost every day. We talked about current research programs, future plans, and he felt a little bit better, smiled a lot and he truly believed that he would make a rapid recovery.

The last time I met Andrew was on a sunny day in February. The next day in the morning he died unexpectedly. He left us an unwritten testament not to lose the human perspective in pursuit of scientific facts and not to forget about the soul while trying to heal the body.

Marek Sanak

Salicylic acid has been used since thousands of years as antiph­logistic, antipyretic, or pain relief remedy. The formula was mainly concocts of willow bark or myrtle (wintergreen) oil. A German chemist, Felix Hoffman, when looking for a better substitute of sodium salicylate for his father who suffered arthritis, rediscovered acetylsalicylic acid in 1897. He was fortunate that Bayer company, which he worked for, decided to marked this product around 1899. The origin of the commercial name, Aspirin, was inter­esting. Spiric acid is an alternate name to salicylic acid because of its presence in spirea shrubs. “A” came from the acetyl group. The inter­est of the company in a new painkiller was due to the fact that the previous product which hit the market turned out highly addictive. Its name was Heroin. Adverse reactions, precipitated following ingestion of aspirin, were described as early as in 1902. A French physician, Fernand Vidal, described a triad of asthma, nasal polyposis and aspirin hypersensitivity in 1922. The natural course of the syndrome was further refined by Samters and Beers in 1968. This syndrome is currently recognized as a particular phenotype of asthma. It affects up to 15% intrinsic asthma subjects. There is also a cutaneous syndrome, aspirin‑triggered urticarial/angioedema, which is much less predictable in its course.

In 1975, Andrew Szczeklik, Richard Gryglewski, and Grażyna Czerniawska‑Mysik published in the British Medical Journal1 their report on oral provocations of 11 asthmatic subjects manifesting hypersensitivity to aspirin. They demonstrated a cross‑reactivity between aspirin and other non‑steroidal anti‑inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), namely indomethacin, mefenamic, and flufenamic acids and phenylbutazone. Interestingly, salicylamide, para­cetamol and two other now discontinued antipyretics turned out well tolerated. For the first time, a consistent relation has been demonstrated between in-vitro para­meters of  NSAIDs potency and the provoking dose which decreased the lung peek expiratory flow. One of these laboratory para­meters was inhibitory concentration 50% which inhibited the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in a bio­assay using microsomal fraction of bovine seminal vesicles for PGE2 bio­synthesis and the rat stomach strip as a sensor. The comparison of the drugs was controlled by a second para­meter. In a drug‑binding assay, a small fluorescent tagging molecule was displaced from the albumin by a drug. Providing simplicity of these laboratory assays, results were impressively coherent. There was a significant positive correlation between the highest tolerated dose of the drug and its concentration inhibiting PGE2 bio­synthesis, even when compensated for binding of the drug to the albumin. This report was published only a few years after Sir John Vane’s observation that aspirin‑like drugs inhibit prostaglandin synthesis,2 and one year before the first purified preparations of arachidonic acid cyclooxygenase enzyme were obtained. Thus, the cyclooxygenase theory of aspirin‑induced asthma was born contemporary with the major discoveries in the field of arachidonic acid meta­bolism. In the following 35 years Andrew Szczeklik, though highly active in many others fields of medical research, remained fascinated with the phenomenon of asthma hypersensitive to aspirin and other NSAIDs. When I joined his team in 1995, he initiated a novel molecular bio­logy laboratory in a modern facility building, an extension to the old community hospital on the Skawinska Street at the Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz. There, in 1972, Andrew Szczeklik became the Head of the Clinic of Allergology, later renamed to the Department of Medicine. This was the time of a fast advancement in human genetics. In 1996, stimulated by a publication on cloning of the leukotriene C4 synthase gene3 we screened DNA from patients with aspirin hypersensitivity and described a common genetic variant, which seemed associated with the disease.4 Andrew Szczeklik was proud of this discovery because of the award he received during The Lancet’s conference on The Challenge of Asthma in Tours, France, 1997. This was one of the first non‑coding polymorphisms located in the promoter region of the gene, which functional associations have been replicated in the following years. The polymorphism has an impact both on bio­synthetic capacity of cysteinyl leukotrienes and clinical response to leukotriene-modifying drugs. From the perspective of time, the magnitude of the association was probably overestimated by the selection of the most severe asthmatic subjects; however, it remained detectable in several studies on cysteinyl leukotrienes dependent phenotypes. Cysteinyl leukotrienes, another class of arachidonic acid meta­bolites (eicosanoids) of 5‑lipoxygenation pathway, were incriminated for mediating bronchoconstriction since their very first discovery in the model of guinea pig lung. Andrew Szczeklik’s team confirmed that urinary excretion of the end meta­bolite leukotriene E4 is a useful and robust marker of aspirin hypersensitivity.5 But it was also noticed that an unexplained inter­action existed between eicosanoids originating from a separate meta­bolic pathways, i.e., 5‑lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase of arachidonic acid. Inhibition of cyclooxygenase activity resulted in overproduction of cysteinyl leukotrienes. Clinical experiments, in which a water soluble aspirin was instilled into segmental bronchi, demonstrated also a simultaneous decrease in the topical PGE2 bio­synthesis, as measured in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.6 The first attempt to explain this reciprocal changes of the two eicosanoid classes was really a mechanistic one. Perhaps, the intracellular substrate due to cyclooxygenase inhibition was shifted into an alternate pathway of arachidonic acid 5‑lipoxygenase, and further downstream into cysteinyl leukotrienes bio­synthesis. This possibility has not been falsified definitely yet. However, clinical evidences suggested that highly selective cyclooxygenase‑2 inhibitors, coxibs, were well tolerated by aspirin‑hypersensitive asthmatics, despite a significant decrease in systemic bio­synthesis of PGE2 following the administration of these drugs. When systemic bio­synthesis of PGE2 was monitored by measurements of urinary meta­bolites of this prostaglandin: 13, 14‑hydroxy, 15‑keto‑PGE2 and tetranor‑PGEM, another unexplained discrepancy was observed. Administration of celecoxib suppressed urinary meta­bolites of PGE2 and did not precipitate bronchoconstriction. But administration of aspirin was a trigger for dyspnea; however, these asthmatics continued to have their urinary PGE2 meta­bolites elevated.7 Since average oral dose of aspirin precipitating asthmatic attack was less than 200 mg, lack of depression in systemic PGE2 bio­synthesis could be explained by a rather weak inhibitory effect of aspirin on both cyclo-
oxygenase isoenzymes. However, overproduction of PGE2 noticed using measurements of the urinary excretion of these meta­bolites was puzzling on the whole organism level. At the same time of oral aspirin challenge, an increase of cysteinyl leukotriene E4 in urine was the expected bio­marker of hypersensitivity reaction. These results were definitely against the intracellular arachidonic shift, but also questioned the validity of cyclooxygenase theory of aspirin hypersensitivity.

During the last decade, there was a tremendous progress in laboratory methods used for identification and measurement of eicosanoids. Because of their lipophilic properties and a chemical structure similar to each other, a chromatography‑mass spectrometry turned out to be the only method adequate for the research purposes. Andrew Szczeklik equipped his laboratory with a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry instrument in 1996. Measurements using this apparatus required a skillful preparation of samples because analyzed molecules had to be modified chemically – derivatized by esterification or etherification – to acquire volatile properties. The laboratory staff spent several weeks in Nashville and New York to learn the tricks and tips on measurements of eicosanoids in bio­logical samples. This was possible only due to personal contacts and friendship of Andrew Szczeklik with the best experts in physiopathology of eicosanoids: James Sheller, Colin Funk, and John McGiff.

To illustrate the progress in analytical methods of eicosanoids one can compare bio­assay used by Richard Gryglewski in 1975, the capacity of which to produce PGE2 in vitro was around 1.5 mg/ml, with the lowest detection level of the measurement achieved with GC‑MS, which equals 0.3 pg/ml. This was a 5 billion-fold increase in the sensitivity of the method. Similar advancement was obtained using another analytical platform acquired by Andrew Szczeklik in 2007. This was a modern high‑perfomance liquid chromatography – tandem mass spectrometer. The instrument enabled us to measure precisely not only cysteinyl leukotrienes, but also about 40 other eicosanoid meta­bolites in a variety of bio­logical fluids. Thanks to the European Community support and once again personal contacts with a prominent Norwegian specialist in asthma and pulmonology Kai‑Haakon Carlsen, all these analytical methods were rigorously exercised and validated. This also created some new opportunities to study local bio­synthesis of eicosanoids within the lung. During regular breathing a small fraction of epithelial lining fluid of the lung is admixed into the air and forms an aerosol. These particles of fluid have diameter below 1 µm, but can be condensed together with a water vapor using a simple cooling device. The obtained fluid is named an exhaled breath condensate. Within 15–20 minutes of breathing as much as 3–4 ml of the condensate is collected, which contains admixture of nonvolatile molecules present on the lung epithelial surface. The main obstacle for assessment of the exhaled breath condensate content is a dilution with water, which is unpredictable. We managed to compensate for a variance of the exhaled breath condensate dilution by a simultaneous measurement of a free and abundant saturated fatty. Several tests showed that palmitic acid has a constant concentration in epithelial lining fluid, and the acid can be used to correct for the dilution factor.8 Using this method, we demonstrated that alterations in meta­bolic profile of eicosanoids created a distinct handprint of aspirin exacerbated respiratory disorder. Not only 5‑lipoxygenase pathway seemed upregulated but also 15‑lipoxygenase meta­bolites were elevated. Moreover, overproduction of PGD2 and PGE2 meta­bolites in the lung of aspirin hypersensitive asthmatics was present without any aspirin provocation and despite their stable clinical condition. Some new classes of eicosanoids, such as lipoxins, seemed also downregulated in these patients; however, our analytical platform has been still imperfect to measure them precisely.9 The next task was to monitor changes in the profile of eicosanoids from the exhaled breath condensate during aspirin provocation. These results were collected within the last year. Although we discussed them with Andrew Szczeklik, the manuscript was published just a few days before his death. To our disappointment, no significant changes in eicosanoid levels were noted following aspirin precipitated bronchoconstriction, when compared to the pre‑challenge levels.10 Some previous observations, such as elevated concentration of PGE2 meta­bolites, were confirmed in the exhaled breath condensate. It seemed that either cysteinyl leukotrienes were released into bloodstream rather than to the epithelial lining fluid, or their rise on the systemic level resulted from bio­synthesis within subepithelial layers of bronchi. We have noticed also some inter­esting regularities in appearance of additional eicosanoid molecules, which we try to characterize now. Andrew Szczeklik had foreseen the need for a continuous pursuit of novel eicosanoid mediators. He submitted a grant application for a better class of mass‑spectrometry platform. This application had a great chance of success because the call was addressed to the most prominent researchers. Within the last decade he was the top one in the field of aspirin hypersensitivity and the leader in the Polish national ranking of bio­medical research scientists.

It is uncertain which direction the future research on aspirin hypersensitivity will take. We are continuing studies on novel eicosanoids possibly involved in the mechanism of aspirin‑
-triggered bronchoconstriction. A generous gift of Andrew Szczeklik to us was his latest project. This is a joint research plan that involves the leading Swiss institute in research of asthma and allergic diseases – SIAF in Davos. Aspirin hypersensitivity has many features of persistent inflammatory disorder of the respiratory tract. The syndrome is acquired and progresses from upper respiratory symptoms to asthma accompanied by a chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis. The hypothesis of a persistent viral infection leading to aspirin‑induced asthma was put forward by Andrew Szczeklik almost 25 years ago.11 During our study on rhinovirus infections in asthma, we described persistent rhinoviral RNA signatures in aspirin-hypersensitive asthmatics.12 Within the same frame of Swiss‑Polish collaboration, again supported by the European Community, we will employ much more sensitive and robust methods of detection of respiratory viruses developed by Krzysztof Pyrć from the Jagiellonian University.13 Cezmi Akdis who is a director of SIAF and our collaborator in this project offered his expertise in studies on innate immunity and immunoregulation in aspirin hypersensitivity. We will try to establish a model of the disease enabling replication of clinical findings on the cellular and molecular level. Some previous experiments showed that primary cell lines of respiratory epithelia, fibroblasts, or peripheral blood cells continue to express phenotypic features of aspirin hypersensitivity ex vivo. Thus, the story on aspirin hypersensitivity seems to continue as designed by Andrew Szczeklik. What we were not prepared for, has been to find his pristine courage in struggling with the problem that evaded elucidation for almost a century.

Michael Schmitz‑Schumann

We used to call him Andrew. Andrzej was too much for a mid European tongue, living closer to the French language than to Polish pronounciation. Spelling and writing his family name correctly took years.

It all began in December 1978 – high mountain area during deep snowy winter, Davos, Zauberberg, Deutsche Heilstätte, Sanatorium of Hofrat Behrens, Hochgebirgsklinik Davos‑Wolfgang in Switzerland, refuge and well-known chest hospital of inter­national reputation, especially for patients with a disease we now call severe asthma. Therapy at that time was almost nonexistent, except for systemic steroids in nearly lethal doses. A young medical doctor met his Polish colleague on the occasion of a symposium on aspirin-induced asthma, a distinct subgroup of that syndrome. On stage, an attractive and charming Polish professor, qualification in inter­nal medicine, allergo­logist, already a name in some rare types of asthma and idiosyncrasies that I never heard about, splendid appearance, fluent English, scientific lecture of superb quality, slides of top layout and design, discussion with my Swiss colleagues in Italian and French. He even apo­logized for badly understanding and not speaking German! Good joking Polish intellectual, really? My God! That’s who I wanted to be when I grew up and eventually became an adult scientist.

Since Andrew strictly pointed out that I could not start from the top and my former medical director and head of Hochgebirgsklinik was inter­ested in scientific results, I was sent to work and we ended up in a close cooperation with the Copernicus Academy of Medicine and Andrew Szczeklik. Our joint inter­est was nonallergic asthma and aspirin-induced asthma and everything that had to do with the syndrome using the selected patient groups we had in Davos. The target was to clarify stepwise the pathophysiology, bio­chemistry, clinical picture, and the natural history on the basis of a nationwide and then European database, later called AIANE. Together, we developed diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that are still the basis of clinical work worldwide. The results gave rise to numerous scientific symposia, publications, and books. Doing all this, Andrew had this admirable attitude of bringing people together, lightening up their minds, stimulating their work, and focusing their activities, although we were separated by the iron curtain.

In hospital and laboratory, we had a wonderful time. Being an open-minded, helpful, and friendly character at first sight, Andrew was one of the hardest and most disciplined workers I ever saw when it came to real work. His striking ideas and many fruitful discussions always lead to a result, a project, the future.

Coming to Davos every year, Andrew Szczeklik soon started to bring his family with him which means a fully packed Polish car with his wife Maria and three little children of about 2, 6, and 10 years-old arriving after about 15-hour trip in Davos. We became friends more and more and after work we spent a nice time in our house in Davos. We shall never forget about his wife Maria telling us about queuing the whole day in different places of Krakow for getting the basic food for her family. As far as we could contribute, we helped the Szczeklik family a little by sending parcels with all the things that they were missing during these hard times in Poland.

When coming to Davos, Andrew’s wife – Maria – would always pack the car full with her growing family and later, when the situation in Poland slowly improved, she would smuggle some Polish delicacies.

Passing the border, Andrew never knew what his wife had packed between the shoes, clothes, and skiing equipment. One day after his arrival, he asked my wife where he could probably buy a “jet bag” in Switzerland. “A what?”, asked my wife, since she had never heard about this before. “This is a kind of a coffin you put on top of the car to be able to carry much more luggage with you,” he said. And so we organized a jet bag and the Szczeklik family had less difficulty with the packing.

It was a wonderful and particularly intensive time that we could spent together, watching the children grow up and become impressive, strong personalities. We also have good memories of our visits to Krakow, both for business and private meetings. Andrew was so proud to show us around this historical town. Visiting Krakow regularly for about 25 years, we were more and more surprized to see how greatly it developed, becoming the modern centre of the Lesser Poland with a wonderful historical heart.

In summary, science in Andrew’s life was one side of the medal, the other was a man devoting himself to art, political and social affairs, and – in the last years – more and more to philosophical questions and theses. The portrait of Andrew would not be complete without seeing him in his private life, in his believes, in his country, in his city, in his family, in his church, which all seemed to me the centre and the soul of his family. All this left a deep impression in my memory.

Besides his merits in medical sciences, this kind of catharsis was the duty of his life and in the end – his great achievement. It will be the legacy of a brave, dedicated, and a wise patriot.

My wife and I are proud to have known him. Thank you for being our friend. Bye, bye Andrzej!

Jacek Spławiński

A light mist hung over the Salwator Cemetery, each breath was icy cold, at 18°C below zero, the frozen ground did not want to receive Andrzej. We would also like to keep Andrzej among the living. The sun, although hindered by the mist, brought some warmth. Together with Janek Ciećkiewicz we came out to the front so that no one would block us. And there we stood, upright, as if frozen by the cold, in the company of faint rays of sunlight, and listless because of Andrzej’s sudden death.

It seemed as though only yesterday we were sitting at Janek’s “studio, together with Andrzej and two male and female colleagues from the group, in a room separated from the kitchen by a staircase, at the Grey House in the Market Square. The kitchen was adjoined to Janek’s apartment and to the office of his father, who was a doctor. On Janek’s desk, there were several bottles of wine, which could easily be hidden behind the davenport because the kitchen door creaked, the landing was too wide, and the “study” door did not open easily. Neither at Andrzej’s place nor at mine, did we have such convenient conditions, and Janek’s father, contrary to Andrzej’s father, who worked in Wrocław, or to mine, who was far away in Zakopane, would almost always put a bottle of wine on the empty desk and the davenport’s backrest would conceal other bottles. After an hour, he would come to check whether we were not emptying that bottle too quickly. The trouble was not to have empty bottles confused and leave the one which was given to us on the desk. Our conversations, in the company of our female friends, were about assistants, professors and examinations, as well as the mountains because the three of us, we were fascinated by the Tatra mountains. Actually, at first there were two of them, Andrzej and Janek, and I joined them during the first year of medical school. We could talk endlessly about the mountains, arguing about routes and trails, about details, such as whether the footbridge over the lake was before or after a shrine and which one of us walked faster on the frosted spruce lying over the stream. From time to time Andrzej tried to switch the conversation to the topic of genetics. We just learned (and it was actually after the death of the Father of Nations) that Mr. Lysenko was wrong and that a clergyman from Moravia discovered genes by crossbreeding pea. For Andrzej it was a fascinating discovery (although one that was made years ago) and, after we had drunk many glasses of wine, he tried to explain to us how significant it could be for medicine. What was more fascinating for us was that our party professors were personally withdrawing their manuals contaminated with Lysenko from bookstores. Unnecessarily though, since their attempts to instill the teachings of Michurin and Lysenko in us had never been successful for various reasons, to say it in a guarded manner.

The following year in June, together with Andrzej we set off to Belgrade on a Peugeot motor scooter to do a 2‑month student inter­nship. Andrzej was always a top student (well, almost always because due to our get‑togethers in the Grey House, he failed pharmacology) and for that reason he was also a top candidate for the inter­nship. After a two‑week drive, our Peugeot did not want to go uphill so we had to push it through the whole of the Low Tatras, we arrived to Belgrade with a huge delay. The drive was uneventful for use because at the ages of 19, it was nothing special for us to sleep on hay or somewhere in the fields in the territory of Czechoslovakia, or – and this actually was an adventure – at luxury hotels in Hungary. We stayed at those luxury hotels because it was 1957 and all Hungarians that we met, bar none, wanted to repay us for Poland’s help during their struggle with communism. People who were strangers to us would have us over for fancy dinners, a priest with a sacristan would wash our motor scooter, orchestras at different restaurants would play a national anthem especially for us, in which Andrzej (a conservatory student with a perfect pitch) invariably recognized one of the Polish folk songs, titled Szła dzieweczka do laseczka. A real obstacle for us was to cross the first border in our lives between worker‑peasant nations and the countries condemned to capitalism, that is a border between Hungary and Yugoslavia. For an hour and in front of a customs office we conferred with Andrzej on how to fill out the forms we were given. On the top of each form, there was information saying that all blank spaces should be filled out truthfully, and below, in a font twice as large and in capital, bold, black letters there was a phrase: „SMRT FASZISTIMA” (“DEATH TO FASCISTS”). We were wondering whether they would kill for any attempt to carry prohibited goods and we were afraid that discovering contraband could mean “SMRT” (“DEATH”), especially that we both were opponents of communists. Therefore, when finally there was no customs examination and with a great relief we crossed onto the Yugoslavian side, I decided to ask a question, even though Andrzej begged me not to: „I beg you, don’t ask about anything, let’s just go!” I addressed it to customs officers who were taking to pieces, screw by screw, a Moskvitch car with Hungarian plates, asking them why they were inspecting that Hungarian car like that. A customs officer emerged from under the Moskvitch, he turned out to be tall and strapping, and he said solemnly and in a deep bass voice: „It’s a grandmaster Szabo returning from a chess tournament where he won 100 000 dollars and he doesn’t want to declare a single cent.” He looked at Andrzej, who was already getting on the motor scooter, then he also surveyed me and added: „Your friend has a camera in his field jacket and you’re smuggling «edelweiss», but you’re students and you need to live on something.” In that moment, to the great amusement of the customs officer, Andrzej fell off his seat and I slumped onto the office threshold, a vision of death looming over us for giving false information on the “SMRT FASZISTIMA” form was indeed so para­lyzing.

In Belgrade all types of inter­nship were already taken, 4 students were accepted by a unit and after two weeks only the tuberculosis unit had free spots. Despaired, we went to drink some wine, paying with our last dinars. It was evident that our mothers’ care during the occupation in order to protect us from tuberculosis had all been for nothing. Late, in the afternoon and a bit crocked, we reported to Professor Grujic, who was responsible for the inter­ns from Poland. The Professor did not speak English but he was fluent in French, which Andrzej knew perfectly. Even though later on Andrzej spent years in the United States and England, one could always feel that his true love was for France, the French language and Paris. Andrzej’s French saved us (especially me since I did not understand a single word in French). The Professor was enchanted by Andrzej and his knowledge; he offered that we take part in an initiative involving vaccination against tuberculosis, which covered the whole Yugoslavia. We got a car, a supervisor and when we were about to set off to follow an American ambulance transporting vaccines, the Professor said: „You don’t have to assist with vaccination. You don’t have to see the vaccination process at all.” In that way, both Andrzej and I never learned how to vaccinate.

While traveling around Yugoslavia, we had a lot of time for discussions. Those were such times that our discussions, however naive, were not focused on cars, girls or soccer but they concerned exclusively the meaning of life and questions related to the existence of God. Andrzej was a true believer and he would refute my arguments about the evolution. „Do you mean to say, he would argue, that all your decisions, almost every move, the choice of studies, love… that you don’t have any free will and that small chemical particles make these decisions for you?!” Indeed, it was difficult to agree with a view which would suggest that I do not do what I want but exactly what my genes want me to do. „Do you mean to say, Andrzej persisted, that if there hadn’t been a proper bond between the amino group and carboxyl group, then you would have done something completely different with your life? Would you have been able to adopt a nationalistic or fascist outlook? Your gene, a small thread in a nucleus, stored on histones – did it really make you human?”

Pushing our motor scooter through the Low and High Tatras, we got back to Zakopane mid‑September. The inter­nship and the journey did wear us out. A porter at a hospital where my father worked not only did not recognize us but he even set Zakopane shepherd dogs on us. Afterward, Andrzej, who was incredibly ambitious, persuaded me to try to obtain an ECFMG certification because it was the only way for a student without “substantial” connections to get accepted for a medical inter­nship in America. Andrzej was working there for over a year and really hard, even though the word „hard” in that case was an euphemism – a whole week at a hospital (only on Wednesdays he would sleep at home) and every day he would hold consultations with a resident, which meant tests from each branch of medicine because a graduate in the United States had to have an excellent knowledge of radiology and have a good grasp of practical ophthalmology and laryngology. Intensive American education and the example set by his father, who brought Andrzej to his clinic, instilled in him a great sense of responsibility, laboriousness and an ability to focus because in Wrocław it was necessary to quickly and accurately examine the patients, describe tests, keep medical history and prepare reports in order not to make oneself unpopular with a professor or other inhabitants of Lvov, such as Professor Falkiewicz, who ran his clinic one storey above. At the same time, in a laboratory, Andrzej was conducting research on α1‑antitrypsin. However, Andrzej’s most important discovery was a girl from Wrocław with whom he came to Cracow one day, giving me and Janek a chance to meet his future wife.

Wrocław made us grow apart. It was only rarely that we would meet at the Św. Tomasza street and usually when there was no one at home. Andrzej would sit at the piano and play old tunes, more or less ambitious, such as Muskrat Ramble, St. Louis Blues, The Memphis Blues, C’est Si Bon, Blueberry Hill, Mack the Knife and Savoy Blues. Me and Janek we would bring wine and recollect various adolescent adventures that we had as students. Unfortunately, not all of them being something that one could be proud of or should retell. I do not know how about Janek but as far as I am concerned, this is definitely how I will remember Andrzej and for what I will love him: not as from this monument and not as a scientist and a doctor bathed in fame, but as an ordinary person, shivering with cold on a meadow at the Lake Balaton (our motor scooter conked out again), drinking wine and starting a conversation, which invariably involved questions like: “Tell me, what’s beyond the surface of it all? Is there anything that is constant and permanent? If there’s no such thing, then isn’t all that we name just an empty sound?”

His inter­est of the world brought about the combination of the education of an experimenter specialist and the knowledge of a dilettante philosopher. Andrzej was probably the last scientist rooted in the 19th century, who did not belong to smartly dumb contemporary scientists (Ortega y Gasset’s definition) and with the use of his knowledge he tried to fathom those areas in which his colleagues were ignorant. Remarkable erudition and the knowledge of antiquity allowed him to combine in his essays, especially in Katharsis, a very sophisticated specialty with questions asked solely by philosophers and which the scientists of the 21st century do not know how to ask. Modern scientists have specialized so much that they can only communicate through the impact factor, but the crux of their works remains obscure to them. It does not make any sense to ask them about the essence of the soul, they will not comprehend the question. Meanwhile, Andrzej, driven by his youthful sensibility, posed that question. Maybe he did not answer it completely but, more importantly, he could ask the question and leave it to us to search for the answer.

Anetta Undas

I met him in October 1988 as I was a newly elected chief of students’ scientific movement at the Medical Academy of Nicolaus Copernicus in Krakow. A friend of mine was actively involved in a students’ scientific activity at the 2nd Department of Internal Medicine in Krakow and encouraged me to come there. Professor Szczeklik, the head of this department, and his team had the reputation of being the best place to learn inter­nal medicine in the city. Professor Szczeklik’s courage and integrity in the years 1980–1989 as a member of the outlawed Solidarity Trade Union and an active supporter of the Independent Students’ Association, was also most important to me. After a few minute conversation, he asked me to join three other students doing experiments on fibrinolysis. To set up an euglobulin lysis assay at my spare time working in small rooms at level –1 at 8 Skawińska Street was my first scientific task. Thus, with some trepidation, I entered the field of research under the guidance of Professor Szczeklik. He was the right person, one of the best Polish scientists among clinicians and the senior author of original papers in top medical journals, while working with restricted resources in Poland. He proved “he could do it” and I knew that with him, I also can. And those first years were a life‑changing experience in my professional life. At those days, encouraged by the highly enthusiastic research environment provided by Professor Szczeklik, I quickly realized that doing science is fun and research is thrilling. A life‑long adventure has begun.

I was aware of the fact that a major field of scientific inter­est of Professor Szczeklik was aspirin‑
-induced asthma. Blood coagulation appeared to be just an additional field of expertise indirectly linked with asthma through aspirin, an old drug of many faces and still being discovered novel intriguing actions. I read the first papers from his group on myocardial infarction and thrombin formation. He wanted to continue research on antithrombotic aspirin’s modes of action beyond its antiplatelet effects, which has already been supported by a few important contributions starting from mid‑1980s. Professor Szczeklik implemented a model of microvascular injury, introduced by Margareta Thorgren in 1983 to measure thromboxane meta­bolites, to determine kinetics of thrombin generation following standardized skin incisions on a forearm by the use of a bleeding time device. We refined the original method and used it to test other hypotheses cropping up according to the rule that one answer leads to ten new questions.

I did my doctoral dissertation under his guidance in 1996 and its subject was the modulation of aspirin‑induced impairment of thrombin generation by plasma cholesterol levels. These studies led to the discovery of beneficial effects of cholesterol‑lowering statins on thrombin formation in response to vascular injury. The microvascular injury model was successfully used by Professor Szczeklik’s group to assess drug‑induced and genetically determined alterations in blood coagulation activated by microvascular injury. Professor Szczeklik was the first or senior author of several papers based on this methodology, including articles that appeared in the most prestigious journals, such as The Lancet, Circulation, Blood, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and many others. Most of these papers were focused on coronary artery disease and its therapy. By a quirk of fate, this cardiac disease claimed the life of this man who devoted a large part of his life to its exploration.

I think that it is for his enthusiasm and passion for medicine, science, and other facets of life that Professor Szczeklik will be remembered by all who have worked with him. If I were to choose one quality I consider most characteristic of him, it would be passion, which I shared and took delight in. If you know the joy of thrilling anticipation of a new finding, discovering something unexpected you are his soul mate. He was really able to transmit his enthusiasm and passion for science to many of his disciples. His desire to do more, better and something inter­esting was the driving factor in all his professional endeavors. Professor Szczeklik’s extraordinary enthusiasm and passion for science were an inspiration for all people who were fortunate to know and inter­act with him. His influence, the respect he garnered, and the success he brought doing research in hard times in Poland is the true proof of his achievements as a leader of a scientific team.

He used to wait till the late evening for the results of experiments or the final statistical analysis. This impatience to confirm or refute the working hypothesis in order to make next step on a path that has been started is inherent to scientific passion. He just could not wait to see if we were right or wrong in our concepts. His well‑known saying repeated by his coworkers was: “This has not to be done today, it could be ready tomorrow morning.” Indeed, if you are waiting for something inter­esting, important, for the final results or the final version of a manuscript you worked on, timing is vital. And I remember completing a database to 2 a.m. or drafting a manuscript till 4 a.m. (my record time). If we cannot finish our work promptly, we may see a similar investigation on the pubmed.gov published on‑line a week later and your findings turn out immediately to a report reproducing the original study.

Another facet of his attitude to scientific activity was patience whenever necessary. While preparing a revised version of the manuscript following additional reviewer’s comments, while sending the manuscript to the nth journal, while repeating experiments and designing new ones to figure out why the data obtained are inconsistent or odd. And he never required from his coworkers more than from himself, being actively involved at all stages of any project till the battle for a decent paper based on the results.

He have always had one foot in the clinic and the other in the lab. He taught us that clinical observation, every odd result, can be the primary inspiration in research. He knew that for physicians, the combination of clinical and laboratory work is most stimulating. In clinical work, he had a number of brilliant diagnostic and therapeutic ideas. His clinical acumen was second to none. He was good at solving diagnostic riddles in patients with rare disease manifestations or uncommon laboratory abnormalities and at seeing something unusual and important in some ordinary (to the rest of us) cases. Although he strongly supported the implementation of the current best knowledge in inter­nal medicine coming from the evidence‑based guidelines and textbooks, he knew that good clinical practice is to learn from real‑life “cases” presenting with multiple problems. He taught us that we cannot be good doctors without continued education, information from the latest trials and observations from the most recent issues of top medical journals. He used to make notes in a small booklet during ward rounds. Then on the next day, he came up with some new ideas on the cases helping make accurate diagnoses.

Professor Szczeklik was not generous on praises. Once he told me a story that happened in Great Britain. A couple had a son who did not say a word since his birth. At the age of 10, the boy suddenly said at dinner: ‘This soup is not salty”. Both parents were amazed and overjoyed. “You can speak”. They cried with happiness. “Why have you not spoken to us during the past years?” The boy replied. “Till today, everything has been fine”. He believed that everyone should have been working at his or her best. His strategy for paying attention to problems, mistakes, or shortcomings at work appeared at first hard to be accepted. Although I am still persuaded that “well done” spoken out in front of team members by a boss can work wonders, now I see his point, i.e., his belief that a scientist’s motivation and dedication ought to lie inside him or her and they should not depend on nice words, awards, appreciation, and acknowledgments. Doing investigations, both experimental and clinical, is tough and often disappointing. He was quite aware of it. I learnt from him how to be perseverant in dealing with negative reviews, to address sometimes harsh comments, and to cope with methodo­logical pitfalls. He persisted through obstacles and recovered from setbacks. He felt that without these features, one cannot be successful in science or in other professional activities.

He disliked watching TV. “A thief of time” he repeated. He admired Greek philosophers and writers, together with Greek mythology. Three years ago while sitting on the train, I saw him reading and taking down notes from Homer’s Odyssey. Most of us have forgotten Homer just as school days. I could see in his hands also contemporary literature, for example Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro. We talked on the plot of this science fiction novel and he was able to see in it uncertainties of the post‑genome era as well the traces of old myths. He also liked English poets, including Thomas Eliot and Seamus Heaney. He liked Dutch painting, in particular Rembrandt. In 1993, during the ISTH Congress in New York we walked for 4 hours to find the Frick collection and look at the Polish Rider. He believed that broad versatile inter­ests are needed to self‑develop, to understand more, to see more and to be able to do more in life. Everything around us, particularly art, could be an inspiration in work and life in general. He deeply believed that medicine and art are inter­related and might stimulate each other revealing new paths or novel ideas in all human activities. Few of us could look at in this way.

Professor Szczeklik did a lot to integrate his growing team, clinicians, researchers, and nurses. He liked to talked to people in his spare time, while walking along the corridor, and they knew that he was genuinely curious and concerned about their health problems or others. I think it endearing that for example, among the things that Professor Szczeklik thought important was having dinner with young colleagues at congresses held abroad.

When the Polish Archives of Internal Medicine (Pol Arch Med Wewn) has changed the publisher and the office has been moved to Krakow in 2007, Professor Andrew Szczeklik has become the Head of the National Scientific Board in this journal. He supported us in many ways and cared about the journal to the very end. I spoke to him on the phone for the last time just a week before his death. We chatted about many things, mostly about the future. Staying at the hospital, he still inquired about the impact factor of the journal and its current problems. I could do nothing but ensure again, based on our data from November 2011, that the estimated first impact factor of our journal will be around 1.3. I very much hope that the final value published in June 2012 would be satisfying to him. My last tribute to him.

Like all strong personalities not free of weaknesses, he has been loved or hated, and always respected. Nothing tepid, indifferent, or moderate has been associated with Professor Szczeklik. We all have taken something from him to build on our own qualities, careers and lives by agreeing with him or by opposing him. Tiny pieces of his charismatic personality in all shapes and shades will survive in all of us who have had this opportunity to know him and work with him and for him for a sufficiently long period of time. Hard to believe that he passed away… Now everything in my professional life will be different.

Jerzy Vetulani

Andrzej was such an exceptional person that, para­doxically, it is almost impossible to write about him in a way that would not be banal. For years he had been a constant element of Krakow’s life, a role model for many doctors, scientists, educators, and social workers. The candlestick on which he was placed is precarious, and a living person does not always feel comfortable in limelight. Andrzej, however, managed to keep his position, though certainly at the expense of great stress from time to time.

Andrzej’s exceptionality had been formed in a common way. He was a son of an eminent Polish cardio­logist and inter­nist, Edward Szczeklik. In Krakow it is easy to see how being a part of a “dynasty” pays off. In Krakow, a town relatively spared from war atrocities, families pass from generation to generation not just the genes, but also the whole family tradition. In this town we can meet exceptional people who were born in their family’s home, lived a long life, and died without changing the address. Growing in such a family, Andrzej – a very bright child, was from the beginning coached by his parents, particularly by mother, to be a successor of his great father, a role that he played later on with success. He was not a crammer or a model pupil – he was simply a young, especially gifted man, with a very wide scope of inter­est – science, arts, humanities, medicine, backpacking in mountains and so on.

I believe that it was the home environment and the genes which formed some particular feature of his personality, which, with some embarrassment, I would call sweetness of character. Andrzej was physically and spiritually constructed in such a way that almost every one of his acquaintances felt to be his friend. He had a captivating smile and an exquisite way of talking. Later on it became very important in his medical practice. He inspired confidence, rose hopes, cured by touch and words.

When in my mid‑thirties, at a time of great stresses, I developed very strong cardiac pains when walking. At the moment in which I was not able to reach a nearby tram stop without rest (particularly when the tram was approaching) I visited Andrzej in his clinic. He auscultated me, inter­viewed, and said: “I think there is no organic cause for the pain”. “Does it mean that I am going hysteric?” I asked. “You can call this this way, if you like” he answered and smiled one his healing smiles. The pains started to diminish rapidly. Within two days, I could kick the ball with my kids, within the week I could run for a tram. Andrzej healed me without any additional tests, even without ECG, I believe even without measuring blood pressure. I knew since than that he was a great doctor and not the evidence‑based‑medicine‑man.

For most of the people of Krakow, Andrzej was just a great doctor. People trusted in him. University professors (and their wives) called him instead of an ambulance. Many eminent, and much many more average people, were his patients. And even if their way ended in his clinic, they knew that they are passing away in the best possible manner. So the death of Andrzej is a great blow for his actual and potential patients.

But Szczeklik the healer is only one aspect of Andrzej. The second, more lasting, is Szczeklik the scientist. Like his father, Andrzej was a researcher and innovator. Participation in the development of medicine was an important matter for him. Possibly “scientometrics” is a slightly tainted field (particularly by some scientists), but it may yield some salient information. The Scopus database contains 523 positions coauthored by him. His first three papers were published in 1965 in Kardio­logia Polska, Polski Tygodnik Lekarski, and in this journal, Polish Archives of Internal Medicine. In this year, the year of his death, five publications have appeared, and quite a few are in press. His papers were quoted over 8600 times; six of them were cited over 200 times. The somewhat mysterious to laymen Hirsch index, calculated on the data from Scopus, is 54. So, in science argot, Andrzej is a “Scientist with a big h”. His scientific activity has been well recognized, and honored with several honorary doctorates and prestigious Polish and inter­national awards. I am not competent to evaluate his achievements, but I would like to remark that, in accord with the ethical principles of the 19th century scientists, Andrzej did not hesitate to start human experiments with new substances on himself. Together with his close friend, also a top‑rank scientist, Ryszard Gryglewski, they injected themselves prostacyclin to investigate its cardiovascular effects and safety for humans (both overdosed and became quite ill).

Caring for others, Andrzej did not care much about his own health. He was the first to appear in the clinic in the morning, the last to leave in the evening, visiting sometimes in the night. Rumors have it that if he only spared his strength a little bit in the last months of his life and agreed to take regular medical tests, there would be no need to write this note. But he was too busy with his patients and his clinic.

A healer and a scientist – this is still not a complete picture of Andrzej. He knew that both medical health and science require organizational frame, and he was actively constructing it. At the level of his clinic we could see its rapid modernization and development into a top cardio­logic center. At the level of Polish science we see his great contribution to the Polish Academy of Arts and Science (Polska Akademia Umiejętności – PAU), of which he was the vice‑president in the last few years, and in which organized “Paulette” – the Academy of Young Scientist, which till the last moment was the apple of his eye. Personally, I believe that his greatest achievement was the reunification of the Krakow Medical Academy with Jagiellonian University. This great idea, conceived by him and Ryszard Gryglewski, at that time the rector of Academy, and Aleksander Koj, the rector of the University, was possible only because Andrzej, who was going to be the rector of the Academy, decided not to take this prestigious post. The separation of medical studies from universities had detrimental effect on many aspects of education of future medical doctors, and was purposefully enforced during time of communist rule in Poland. Krakow, owing to the efforts of Szczeklik, Gryglewski and Koj, was the only Polish town in which the original unity of medicine, science, and humanities was restored.

The changes in the political system in Poland that permitted to unite the Medical Academy and the Jagiellonian University were not granted, but resulted from a successful fight with the communist regime. And Andrzej took an active part in this fight. Since the emergence of “Solidarity” Andrzej was its high‑spirited and faithful member (not common among professors of medicine), and fought hard. Because of that he was deposed from the post of prorector of the Medical Academy for participation in illegal demonstrations. And he did not care much about it. His strong political views – always for freedom, liberty and democracy – he expressed actively, also in recent times.

The last aspect that I will only touch lightly is Andrzej the Philosopher+ and Writer. He was a man of letters, with the vast knowledge of several cultures and philosophies, and a connoisseur of arts, particularly music. It was very important that this knowledge did not pass away with him, as Andrzej shared it with us in his two very successful books – Catharsis and Kore – which tackle the most important problems of humanity.

Every death rises strong demurral, particularly a premature death. If Andrzej could live at least as long as his father did, he would be with us for another 13 years, which – with his knowledge, diligence and love of life, would be very, very fruitful. We lost him too early, his children lost the opportunity of fine guidance, and the world will be not as good, as it could be. On the other hand – after a moment of reflection – quickly passing away at the top of intellectual capacities and almost full physical strength is – maybe – a better solution than living until deteriorating physiology takes out the joy of life. Those whom the gods love die young, and we remain with a deep feeling of loss.

J. Christian Virchow Jr, J. Christian Virchow Sr

Andrew Szczeklik visited the Hochgebirgsklinik Davos for the first time in 1978. At that time, the clinic was the largest center for chronic obstructive lung diseases in Western Europe. The cold war was still on. Professor Szczeklik, upon invitation by Christian Virchow Sr managed to attend the first of a series of focused meetings devoted to intrinsic asthma and especially aspirin‑induced asthma. He thanked for the invitation to the first meeting “looking forward to a fruitful co‑operation”, which indeed became true. At that time, leukotrienes had recently been discovered and Bengt Samuelsson was about to receive the Nobel Prize for this in 1982. In addition to leukotrienes, platelet-activating factor (PAF) and prostanoids were the most relevant and up-to-date molecules in the research on the pathogenesis of asthma. This was a puzzling field and new to many. Professor Andrew Szczeklik was invited to these meetings because of his recent publications with Professor Ryszard J. Gryglewski who both succeeded to publish science of highest quality despite the political and economic challenges in their country at that time.1 The common inter­est in the conundrum of aspirin‑
-sensitivity, which Andrew Szczeklik and Christian Virchow Sr at the Hochgebirgsklinik Davos Wolfgang shared2, led to a number of mutual projects as well as the establishment of a protocol for inhaled aspirin challenge,3 which is still used worldwide, including the Deptartment of Pneumology in Rostock, Germany. Andrew Szczeklik’s relentless inter­est in scientific progress led to several collaborations including an often cited multicenter study investigating the hypothesis whether food additives might cross‑react with aspirin in aspirin‑sensitive asthma.4 This study precluded the myth that tartrazine was in fact a trigger for aspirin‑sensitive asthma, a notion held until then. The study included 156 patients, not only from Germany but also from Poland and Italy, which were contributed by Professor Sebastiano Bianco from Milan. The main reason for this finding was the strict inforcement of the concept of double‑blind challenge,4 a method which was not unanimously accepted at the time but suggested by Andrew Szczeklik who understood the large variability of symptoms in aspirin-
‑induced reactions but also in aspirin‑tolerant patients. Andrew later co‑organised a number of meetings held in Davos together with Christian Virchow Sr. Andrew’s excellent network helped to attract not only the relevant leaders in the field, but also helped to identify future talents. His name, however, also attracted a large audience at each one of these meetings. He personally contributed to these conferences with numerous lectures. He also brought an aspiring, lovely, young lady from his laboratory with him who impressed everybody with her excellent clinical research in the field of aspirin‑sensitive asthma and with her language skills. Her name was Ewa Niżankowska-Mogilnicka who under Andrew’s supervision became a world‑known leader in the field, too. Andrew initiated inter­national research programmes and published many articles that are of relevance today. Some were written together with Donald Stevenson, another icon in aspirin‑asthma research who first described aspirin desactivation and also visited the Davos meetings. Andrew Szczeklik’s inter­est in platelets and their relation to asthma led to another publication5 that resulted from a longer stay in Davos with his family. In 1987, he was present (in full gear as a physician!) when Richard von Weizäcker, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany visited the Hochgebirgsklinik in Davos. The last publication coauthored by Andrew Szczeklik and Christian Virchow Sr was in the field of IgG subclasses, namely IgG‑4.5 Following the retirement of Christian Virchow Sr, this collaboration unfortunately ended. Andrew Szczeklik continued to publish an enormous amount of literature in the field, which was inspirational for a large number of scientist, young an old. His hypothesis of a viral origin of intrinsic asthma is not disproven today and remains vibrant. His inter­est in inter­national research increased even further with the fall of the iron curtain when travelling from and to Poland became easier. With his European network on asiprin‑induced asthma he organised regular meetings in the beautiful historic city of Krakow, to which Christian Virchow Jr, then researching the clinical effects of leukotriene‑receptor antagonists7,8 was invited and has returned several times. Andrew Szczeklik was always a wonderful host but also a wonderful guest. He could fascinate large crowds with his enthusiasm, and his positive attitude towards almost everything. His anectodes from the intellectual fight with the communist regime in everyday life but also in the cabaret are legendary. Good vodka and science was not exclusive for Andrew, and listening to his wisdom and his experience was always enlightening. It was a wonderful pleasantly surprise to see such an inspiring person come from behind the walls that divided Europe once and to work hard to overcome this divide, long before anybody dreamed of this really happening. It has been a great pleasure and privilege to know Andrew Szczeklik and it is with great sadness that his enthusiasm and friendliness will not be around anymore. The last advice he gave me when I asked him about the Auschwitz‑Birkenau Memorial he told me I should not go there: “It will only make you sad” he said. Instead of visiting this place of the most monstrous atrocities, I should much rather go and see the Collegium Maius, the historic building of the University and the Medical Faculty and admire the origins of science and culture in this place. I did follow his advice and can only pass it on. At my first visit to this Collegium, there was no picture of Andrew but I am sure next time there will be one. He deserves to be listed among the greats of Krakow.