Ladislav Král

* 1921  †︎ 2021

  • “I enjoyed it a lot because infection medicine has the most research of all. It’s connected with microbiology, virology, parasitology. The development of antibiotics is also connected to our subject. When a new antibiotics was created, we immediately tried to get our hands on it. The work was very complex, I was often at the ends of my wit.”

  • “I spent my childhood in Říčany near Prague because my father was a state official. At first he worked at the customs office. He married Emílie from Petrovice, where I was also born. But then they lived in Říčany, where he worked as a supervisor of pension inspections. I lived there until I was seven because my father died of chronic leukaemia in 1928. Mum moved to her parents in Petrovice, that’s where I grew up afterwards.”

  • “The medical library in Hradec Králové naturally offered the complete Czech and Russian literature. Only occasionally did they have some important English magazine. But they were in such demand that it was almost impossible to get to them anyway. Western medicine was getting somewhat ahead of us. The Russian literature was rubbish, and also, it focused on a slightly different subject. It kept on about dysentery and Asian infections, which were of no interest to us. We couldn’t gain much from that. But they did occasionally touch on something from the English literature because at least some of the people there had [access to] it. But it got better in time.”

  • “During the Protectorate I was a farm hand. Mum had an acquaintance at the employment office in Kostelec, and the lady advised her against getting me employed as an office clerk for example. Because at the time I was already at risk of [being sent to] forced labour in a factory in the Reich. So I was a manual labourer and I worked for my grandfather. I also helped out at the town hall. The mayor always paid me a hundred crowns a month.”

  • “As a medic I practised under Professor Brtlík, a well-known children’s doctor at the children’s clinic in Prague. The building used to stand next to Nusel Bridge, but it’s been demolished since then. I was told to go to Liberec to the children’s clinic of the local regional hospital. I spent a year and a half there at the infection ward. I wanted to do paediatrics, but the hospital director Doctor Dub, when I was introducing myself, said: ‘Lad, I don’t have any free spot at the children’s ward. You’ll have to do pathology.’ But that wasn’t exactly the subject of my dreams. He offered me some other wards, and then said: ‘You wanted to do paediatrics, so go to the infection ward, there’s a free place there.’ The head doctor there was the excellent Doctor Hásek, he was a student of the renowned Professor Procházka from Bulovka Hospital. It was an enchanting period for me because he was so kind. He was always willing to give advice, he’d even come at night. I grasped the issue of infectious diseases there. Because the border region was full of newcomers, Slovaks, gypsies, who were often missing vaccination. All of the typical children’s infections that were fading out inland were rife there.”

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    Hradec Králové, 27.08.2013

    duration: 01:38:12
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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My wife told me that it seemed I actually loved medicine more than her

Ladislav Král in 1960s
Ladislav Král in 1960s
photo: Archiv Ladislav Král

Ladislav Král was born on 17 May 1921 in the village of Petrovice, which lies about 25 kilometres from Hradec Králové. He spent a part of his childhood in Říčany near Prague, where his father worked as a supervisor of pension inspections. After his death Ladislav and his mother and older sister moved to Petrovice, where he attended lower primary school. He gained further education at the town school (upper primary school) in Týniště nad Orlicí, and then switched to the third junior year of Rašín Grammar School in Hradec Králové. He graduated in 1940. In his youth he was chief of the Sokol sports association in Petrovice, he was also a member of YMCA in Hradec Králové, he played the violin and was also active in amateur theatre. Later on he was a member of the dance orchestra in Třebochovice and in Hradec Králové. During the war he worked as a farm hand on his grandfather’s farm. At the same time he held the post of secretary at the town hall. It was his job to allocate the compulsory quotas of submitted agricultural produce, together with the counting of cattle and poultry. In 1945 he applied to the Faculty of Medicine in Prague. To enable his application to be accepted, he joined the Communist Party. He left the party in the late 1960s. He graduated in 1951. After his studies he was given a place in the Liberec hospital, in the Department of Infectious Diseases. He focused on this area of specialisation for his whole life. During his compulsory military service he was allocated to the military infection clinic in Hradec Králové. While there he focused on infectious diseases that affect the nervous system. He gained second degree certification for infectious diseases and gained the position of assistant. In 1970 he became permanent head doctor and remained in that position until his retirement in 1982. He worked another eight years as a children’s doctor at a health clinic in Luže-Košumberk.