The neurologist and the polemist, a Dutch brotherhood : Wim and Menno ter Braak
Bastiaan C. ter MEULEN, Marie Claire Y. de WIT, and Bart C. JACOBS
Glancing over a Dutch neurologists’ resume: Jan Willem Gijsbertus “Wim” ter Braak (1903-1971) had it all. As a resident he was trained by the famous Brouwer. He collaborated with the neurophysiologist Rademaker and during several years he worked as a clinical neurologist in The Hague. He came to Rotterdam shortly after World War II. Ter Braak founded the Department of Neurology at the Rotterdam University Hospital (currently: Erasmus-MC) in 1967.
We reflect on this extraordinary medical career and also on the particular relationship he had with Menno ter Braak (1902-1940). His brother Menno was a polemist, a “writer at war”, who as a most critical journalist took a leading role in the public opinion of the 1930s. He is best known for his opposition against the rise of National Socialism, not only in Germany but also among his fellow countrymen. On May 14th 1940, 4 days after the German invasion of The Netherlands, Menno died as he had planned beforehand, but under mysterious circumstances. His brother Wim played a crucial role in this tragedy, which we will try to disclose.
Tenth Annual Meeting of the International Society for the
History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) and
St. Andrews, Scotland, 2005