Travels to the tropics: Deutschtum and Fedor Krause’s visits to Brazil

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Fedor Krause, the father of German neurosurgery, traveled to Latin America twice in the final years of his career (in 1920 and 1922). The associations and motivations for his travels to South America and his work there have not been well chronicled. In this paper, based on a review of historical official documents and publications, the authors describe Krause’s activities in South America (focusing on Brazil) within the context of the Germanism doctrine and, most importantly, the professional enjoyment Krause reaped from his trips as well as his lasting influence on neurosurgery in South America. Fedor Krause’s visits to Brazil occurred soon after World War I, when Germany sought to reestablish economic, political, cultural, and scientific power and influence. Science, particularly medicine, had been chosen as a field capable of meeting these needs. The advanced German system of academic organization and instruction, which included connections and collaborations with industry, was an optimal means to reestablish the economic viability of not only Germany but also Brazil. Krause, as a de facto ambassador, helped rebuild the German image and reconstruct diplomatic relations between Germany and Brazil. Krause’s interactions during his visits helped put Brazilian neurosurgery on a firm foundation, and he left an indelible legacy of advancing professionalism and specialization in neurosurgery in Brazil.


Article Information

Correspondence Mark C. Preul: Neuroscience Publications, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online April 5, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.12.JNS182063.

M.C.P. and E.G.F. share senior authorship for this work.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



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    Left: German delegates at Versailles in May 1918 listening to the Prime Minister of France Georges Clemenceau’s speech in the Trianon Palace Hotel, at which the peace treaty was handed to them, to be followed by the formal close of the World War. The German delegation was incensed by Clemenceau and requested amendments to the treaty, but the allies refused, threatening continuation of hostilities and a starvation blockade unless the Germans signed. Photograph from 1918 newspaper source Pathé News. Photograph is in the Oklahoma Historical Society via OKHub Pathe News, Photograph 2012.201.B1349.0896, Digital Public Library of America, (accessed June 7, 2018). This photograph is part of the Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection ( and was provided by the Oklahoma Historical Society to The Gateway to Oklahoma History, a digital repository hosted by the University of North Texas Libraries. Right: Mass German demonstration on May 15, 1919, in front of the Reichstag in Berlin against the Treaty of Versailles. From the Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, (accessed June 7, 2018). This work is in the public domain.

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    Left: Bernhard Nocht, likely with his wife, speaking with Phna Damrong Baedyagun, Secretary of the Congress on Tropical Medicine, in Bangkok in 1930. Nocht directed the Hamburg Institute from its opening in 1900 until 1930, steering it through the difficult postwar years into a period of great accomplishment, connecting the Institute with the world. From the Wellcome Collection: CC BY 4.0 ( Right: Prominent members of the Hamburg Institute for Maritime and Tropical Diseases, who spearheaded German medical and scientific recovery efforts, in 1925. Front row, from left to right: Friedrich Fülleborn, Bernhard Nocht, Gustav Giemsa. Back row, from left to right: Henrique da Rocha-Lima, Peter Mühlens, Erich Martini, Eduard Reichenow, Manfred Mayer. Friedrich Fülleborn arrived at the Hamburg Institute in 1901 and was in charge of teaching. He succeeded Nocht in 1930 as director. Courtesy and with permission of the Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin (Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine), Hamburg, Germany, archives which retains the copyright.

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    An advertisement for Burroughs Wellcome & Co. from “The Lancet General Advertiser,” November 16, 1918, caricaturing the German chemical-pharmaceutical industry as a monster octopus crippled by St. George, with his shield displaying the Burroughs Wellcome & Co. logo. Note the many important compounds manufactured by the advanced German industry. From the Wellcome Collection: CC BY 4.0 (

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    Group gathered for lunch in honor of Fedor Krause. Krause is standing in the center holding flowers with Dr. Modesto Guimarães at his right. Photograph taken on the steps of the Palace Hotel, Petropolis, Brazil (today the site of the Catholic University of Petropolis). Photograph by Frank Nietzsch, Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro, June 27, 1920. In addition to Fedor Krause, other dignitaries include Modesto Guimarães, Oscar Weinschenk, José de Barros Franco, Abreu Fialho, A. J. Monteiro, Augusto de la Rocque, Vital Fontenele, Paulo Rudge, Artur de Sá Earp Filho, Hugo Silva, Paulo Figueira de Melo, Haroldo Leitão da Cunha, Artur Barbosa, Ticiano Tocantins, Artur Cruz, Armando Martins, Gabriel Bastos, Sílvio Leitão da Cunha, Vicente Amorim, Galdino Ferreira da Costa, Santos Junior, Luciano Kuntz, Antônio Romão Jr, and Joaquim Moreira. Photograph courtesy of the archives of the Museu Imperial, Coleção Museu Histórico de Petrópolis, Arquivo Historico, Notation: I-5-2-1-4-No. 193, (Museu Imperial de Petropolis, Instituto Brasileiro de Museus [IBAM], MinC [0238497/18]).

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    A: Fedor Krause at the School of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1922 (front row, sixth from right). Figure is in the public domain. Retrieved from Krause.12 B: Fedor Krause lecturing at the School of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1922. Figure is in the public domain. Retrieved from Krause.12 C: Drawings from the manuscript “Cysticerco do quarto ventrículo e possibilidade de sua retirada por via cirúrgica” depicting before (upper) and after (lower) the removal of multiple cysts from the posterior fossa. The illustrations by Max Landsberg, who was frequently in the operating room detailing Krause’s operations, demonstrate Krause’s planning for an appropriate publication that would be a significant educational contribution to Brazilian neurosurgery literature. Krause considered Landsberg’s illustrations to “truly portray the conditions as objectively presented to the eye of the observer. They are perfect.” Figures are in the public domain. Retrieved from Krause.12

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    Photograph of an event in the Terreiro de Jesus (Salvador, Bahia) in 1908. The Catedral Basilica do Sao Salvador da Bahia is in the middle left, while the corner of the Faculdade de Medicina da Bahia, where Krause lectured, is seen in the middle right. Figure is in the public domain,


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