Between Wars and Revolutions

There are some little understandable reasons which took Neminsky away from Chagovets. But nevertheless there were no other works except mentioned above co-authored by great physiologists.  Neither are not known any interaction between them in following years. Neminsky came back to University shortly in 1918-1919 though not to Chagovets lab but to Lindeman’s. Later he worked in Polytechnics, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Agricultural Institute, Institute of Child’s and Mother’s Health – but never in Kyiv Medical Institute where Chagovets remained until his retirement in 1936.

Modern view on Mykhailivska square in Kyiv with a building of former Realschule. Author: Wadco2 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1914-1917 Neminsky continues to teach in gymnasium and Kyiv Realschule and in 1915 enters 3d year course of Medical Department of Kyiv University. While he graduated with excellent doctor diploma it was already 1917, the year of Russian and Ukrainian national revolutions.

It was also the 4th year of World War I and a lot of educated people entered volunteer organization called “All-Russian Union of Towns” which helped wounded and refugees of war to survive. Well-known people like singer Vertinsky, writer Paustovsky or archaeologist Biliashivsky was among others in this organisation. Volodymyr Neminsky joined “Union of Towns” as a volunteer doctor immediately after graduating and worked there till the end of the war in 1918. In 1918 he also starts research on mechanisms of fatigue in laboratory of pathology in Kyiv University, unfortunately, never published.

This was a time of frequent – 15 times in a 3 years – authority changes. Ukrainian Central Rada was overtaken by Bolsheviks in January, 1918 while German troops occupied Kyiv in March supporting Ukrainian government of general Skoropadsky. In December Germans retreated as the World War II finished and Skoropadsky fell under pressure of Ukrainian socialist Petliura. In February, 1919 Soviets enter the city again organizing massacre of their political opponents, including Volodymyr Neminsky’s uncle Nikolai. In August united forces of Ukrainian army and Russian “White” Army made Bolsheviks to withdraw Kyiv, but only to return in December again. In May and June, 1920 Kyiv was taken for a short time by union of Polish and Ukrainian armies, after which Soviet regime was established constantly.

For Volodymyr Neminsky it was a time of great dangers. Russian-speaking nobility of Polish-Ukrainian descent could be an aim to different forces. In this period he changes his name adding “Pravdych” possibly to hide his family relation to killed uncle. As epidemics of typhus spread Neminsky was mobilized by Bolsheviks in 1919 to fight it in Bacteriology Institute. He conducted wide clinical investigations which were not published as well as his other works of this period. Later in he was sent by Soviets to acting 12th Red Army as ordinator (doctor) of evacuation hospital. There he fell sick with typhus himself.

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This page is created as a part of European History of Neuroscience Online Projects and funded by FENS History Online Project 2016 grant. Author: Oleksii Boldyriev.

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