Prof. Stefania Jablonska – the first woman in the board of the ILDS
Prof. Lidia Rudnicka
Polish Dermatological Society
WCD 2023 AMBASSADOR FROM POLAND, EUROPE
Stefania Jablonska (1920 –2017), was one of the worlds best known dermatologists of her time. She was valued by many dermatology experts for her intelligence, her research achievements, broad clinical knowledge and willingness to help young dermatologists in achieving their goals.
She was the first woman and the first dermatologist from eastern Europe elected to serve in the board of the International League of Dermatological Societies. In 2000 she was awarded by the ILDS with the certificate in appreciation for her lifetime achievements and contributions to international dermatology and for her impact upon European dermatological education.
For a transient moment, professor Stefania Jablonska shared her life story via the Internet:
Her father Emil Emanuel Ginzburg, PhD in economics, graduated from the University of Dorpat (Estonia) and her mother Bella Krasucka, was a dermatologist, educated in Berlin.
Stafania Jablonska (born was brought up by a German woman, She knew German well, and wrote in Gothic. As a child she was browsing through her mother’s dermatology atlases and medical books, both German and French.
She went to School in Warsaw, Poland. About her education Stefania Jablonska wrote “My whole life was a pursuit of learning, in which I resembled the heroine of I. B. Singer’s book – Jentl, famous for the wonderful role of Barbara Streisand. As a girl, Jentl could not be admitted to school, so she decided to study disguised as a boy, renouncing her personal life and her own happiness.” Prof. Jablonska was the first woman to achieve several significant positions in dermatology. She was perceived by many as a feminist role model. However she herself was not a feminist. She admired and promoted intelligent, hardworking scientists, regardless of gender.
She studied medicine in Warsaw, Poland. After the outbreak of the war and the occupation of Warsaw (1939), the University of Warsaw was closed. She moved to Lviv, where the University was active until the German Nazi army entered (June 30, 1941), and on July 4, eminent Lviv professors were summoned to a meeting at which they were murdered (Massacre of Lwow professors). She then moved to the University of Frunze, where she completed medical studies with honors in 1942.
About her first marriage she wrote: “From 1936 I was associated with the Jablonski family after my engagement with Pawel, the relationship with him became the most durable in my life. The biggest tragedy was that he died before our official wedding. Regardless of my fate, this relationship remained the only true one for the rest of my life. I only use the surname Jablonska and all my scientific papers are signed with this surname”
In 1946 she started working at the Department of Dermatology, University of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland. This building in the Koszykowa Street in Warsaw became her second home for live. Here she received her PhD, her professorship and became chairman of the department. She was the head of Warsaw and Polish Dermatology for many years and was considered a highest authority in dermatology long after she has retired.
She was an exceptionally active dermatologist and researcher both in Poland and internationally. She was the author of over 1000 publications with significant achievements in investigating the pathogenesis and new diagnostic techniques in autoimmune bullous diseases, connective tissue diseases and HPV-induced oncogenesis.
For her work and achievements she was awarded with several national and international awards, including the Robert Koch International Award (1985), Rose Hirschler Award for Women (1992), Alfred Marchionini Gold Medal (1992), Gold Medal of the Austrian Dermatological Association (1999) and EADV Award for Scientific Achievements EADV (2007). She was the honorary member of multiple dermatological societies and honorary president of the Polish Dermatological Society.
In everyday live she was a minimalist. Living in a small apartment full of books, medical journals, articles and typed sheets of scientific work in progress. She had a small house at the lake in Skepe village in Poland, where she was working on publications during vacation time.
She will be remembered as an exceptionally intelligent women with a concrete personality, dedication to education and promotion of young dermatologists, who never refused to help others.
To celebrate the memory of this exceptional dermatologist, The Stefania Jablonska Medal was established as highest award of the Polish Dermatological Society for outstanding achievements in dermatology. On the occasion of its 100-th anniversary the Polish Dermatological Society awarded with the Medal to Jean Bologna (USA), Henry Lim (Canada) and Suzanne M. Olbricht (USA), Marek Haftek (France/Poland), Andrzej Kaszuba (Poland), Andrzej Langner (Poland) and Anna Sysa-Jedrzejowska (Poland). The Award Ceremony, planned for May 2020, was postponed until after the pandemic.
Prof Stefania Jablonska (1920 –2017)
Prof Stefania Jablonska was a dedicated promotor of young dermatologists. Here, celebrating the PhD degree of Lidia Rudnicka in 1992 in Warsaw, Poland.
Planning for the World Congress of Dermatology in Munich, 1967. Seated, left to right: Wermer Jadassohn, Jose Gay Prieto, Stephanie Jablonska, Robert Degos, Marcial L. Quiroga, and Sven Hellerström. Standing, left to right: Louis Brunsting, Felix Sagher, Marion B. Sulzberger, Franco Flarer, Spartacus Lapière, J. Ramos e Silva, Gordon MitchellHeggs, Clarence Linvingood, Carl G. Schirren (President of the Organizing Committee), and Donald M. Pillsburry (image from Ossama Abbas and Abdul-Ghani Kibbi: International League of Dermatological Societies 2013; published online https://ilds.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ILDS-A-History.pdf)
The Professor Stefania Jablonska Medal