Polish Nobel Prize winners – who are they and where do they come from?

“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” – Ronald Reagan
Those who curiously look for Polish Nobel Prize winners will find out that determining the country of origin of those geniuses is not an easy thing. This is due to the power clashes between the titanic neighbors of Poland and historical border shifts that took place in the region inhabited by Polish people.

A screenshot presenting Polish Nobel Prize winners, taken from Wikipedia

A screenshot presenting Polish Nobel Prize winners, taken from Wikipedia

Economics

2007, Leonid Hurwicz

Hurwicz was born in Moscow to a family of Polish Jews, who returned to Warsaw after his birth. Hurwicz and his family experienced persecution by both the Bolsheviks and Nazis, becoming a refugee when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. His parents and brother got arrested and sent to Soviet labor camps. Hurwicz graduated from Warsaw University in 1938. Then he  moved to London, Switzerland, Portugal and finally in 1940 he emigrated to the United States.

He won the Nobel Prize for: “for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory.”

Click below to listen to a short interview with Hurwicz:

http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=760

The gate of Warsaw University

The gate of Warsaw University from which Hurwicz graduated

Physics

1903, Marie Curie

She was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of theRussian Empire. She studied at Warsaw’s clandestine Floating University and started her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work.

She created the theory of radioactivity (the term was coined by her), invented the techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and discovered two elements, polonium and radium.

She won the Nobel Prize twice and shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and with physicist Henri Becquerel.

Historical Polish banknote that shows Maria Sklodowska-Curie

Historical Polish banknote that shows Maria Sklodowska-Curie

1907, Albert A. Michelson

Michelson was born in Strzelno, Province of Posen in the Kingdom of Prussia (now Poland) into a Jewish family. He moved to the US with his parents in 1855, at the age of two.

Click below to read his Nobel Lecture titled “ADVANCES IN SPECTROSCOPY”:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1907/michelson-lecture.pdf

A photo from Strzelno ( source: http://rozanski.li/?p=9 )

A photo from Strzelno- Michelson’s birth place ( source: http://rozanski.li/?p=9 )

1992, Georges Charpak

He won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing a device to sift through the billions of hurtling subatomic particles liberated by collisions in atom smashers, opening the way for discoveries on the nature of matter.

Georges Charpak was born in 1924 in Dąbrowica in Poland (now Dubrovytsia, Ukraine) to a Jewish family. His family moved to Paris when he was 7 years old. He began his studies in mathematics at the Lycée Saint Louis (Paris) in 1941. However, the outbreak of World War II forced him to flee Paris under a false identity. He joined the resistance and in 1944 he was deported to the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. He was released in 1946 and obtained French nationality in the same year. In 1945 he entered the Ecole des Mines (Paris), where he studied engineering, specializing in the steel industry. He obtained his degree in 1948. In 1949, he became a pupil of Frédéric Joliot Curie at the Collège de France and obtained a research position at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). He obtained his PhD in nuclear physics from the Collège de France (Paris) in 1954, with a thesis on the emission of very low energy radiation associated with the disintegration of nuclei.

Following his meeting with Leon Lederman, Georges Charpak joined CERN in 1959, where he worked first in the Synchro-cyclotron division (SC), then in the Nuclear Physics division (NP) (1961), and the Experimental Physics division (EP) (1976). After his retirement from CERN he continued to work in the Particle Physics Experiment Division (PPE), the Accelerator Technology division (AT), and the Large Hadron Collider division (LHC).

He was part of the group that in 1961 precisely measured the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon (g-2), predicted by QED. He worked mainly on the development of new techniques for particle detection. In 1968 he invented the multiwire proportional chamber (a gas-filled box with a large number of parallel detector wires, each connected to individual amplifiers), for which he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1992. This invention, and Charpak’s subsequent developments, launched the era of fully electronic particle detection. His detectors are also used for biological research and could eventually replace photographic recording in applied radiobiology. Georges Charpak was also involved in other research; for example, he worked on fossil sound and the use of neutrino beams to search for oil deposits. Georges Charpak retired from CERN in 1989, and with some other physicists founded, a firm called “Biospace” to provide researchers in biology with innovative imaging tools based on his discoveries in high-energy physics and particle detection.

Parallel to his core research, Georges Charpak was involved in many other activities. His main commitments were the reform of science education for children (in 1996 he developed the “La main à la pâte” (“hands-on”) project) and the popularisation of science in general, protests against colonial wars, defence of Soviet dissidents, and the fight against nuclear weapons. Georges Charpak was a member of the French Academy of Sciences from 1985 and a member of the scientific committee of the Institut d’oncologie cellulaire et moléculaire humaine (IOCMH) in the University of Paris XI.

( source: http://library.web.cern.ch/archives/CERN_archive/guide/experimental_physics/division/isacharpak )

Physiology or medicine 

1901, Emil von Behring

“for his work on serum therapy, especially its application against diphtheria, by which he has opened a new road in the domain of medical science and thereby placed in the hands of the physician a victorious weapon against illness and deaths”.

Emil Adolf Behring was born on March 15, 1854 at Hansdorf, Deutsch-Eylau as the eldest son of the second marriage of a schoolmaster with a total of 13 children. Since the family could not afford to keep Emil at a University, he entered, in 1874, the well-known Army Medical College at Berlin. This made his studies financially practicable but also carried the obligation to stay in military service for several years after he had taken his medical degree (1878) and passed his State Examination (1880). He was then sent to Wohlau and Posen in Poland. ( for source and further reading go to http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1901/behring-bio.html )

Poznań is famous for its events on the picturesque market square.

Posen- in Polish: Poznań was the workplace of Emil Adolf Behring for a few years

1908, Paul Ehrlich

Paul’s father was a distiller of liqueurs and the royal lottery collector in Strehlen, a town in the province of Lower Silesia, now in Poland. His mother was the leader of the local Jewish community. After elementary school, Paul attended a secondary school in Wroclaw, where he met Albert Neisser, who later became a professional colleague. As a schoolboy he became fascinated by the process of staining microscopic tissue substances. After obtaining his doctorate in 1882, he worked at the Charité in Berlin as an assistant medical director under Theodor Frerichs, the founder of experimental clinical medicine, focusing on histology, hematology and color chemistry.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1908 was awarded jointly to Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov and Paul Ehrlich “in recognition of their work on immunity”.

( source: http://www.magazynrowerowy.pl/index.php?id=1048&backPID=1001)

Ehrlich’s hometown Strehlen- Strzelin ( source: http://www.magazynrowerowy.pl/index.php?id=1048&backPID=1001)

1950, Tadeus Reichstein

Reichstein was born into a Jewish family at Włocławek, Poland. He spent his early childhood at Kiev, where his father was an engineer. He began his education at boarding-school in Jena, Germany.

Together with E. C. Kendall and P. S. Hench, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1950 for their work on hormones of the adrenal cortex which culminated in the isolation of cortisone.

He also discovered the process of obtaining vitamin C, which is still called with his name.

(source: http://www.garnek.pl/pamela5/7887896/wloclawek-plac-wolnosci )

Reichstein’s hometown- Wloclawek (source: http://www.garnek.pl/pamela5/7887896/wloclawek-plac-wolnosci )

1977, Andrew V. Schally

“I was born in Wilno, Poland on November 30, 1926, being of Polish, Austro-Hungarian, French and Swedish ancestry. My father, a professional soldier trained in the military academies of Vienna, Austria and St. Cyr, France, had to leave his family when the Second World War broke out to fight with the Allied Forces. My life and outlook were influenced by the harsh childhood which I spent in the Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, but I was fortunate to survive the holocaust while living among the Jewish-Polish Community in Roumania. I used to speak Polish, Roumanian, Yiddish, Italian and some German and Russian, but I have almost completely forgotten them, and my French in which I used to excel is also now far from fluent. In 1945, I moved via Italy and France to England and Scotland.” (from http://www.nobleprize.org).

The title of his Noble lecture was: Aspects of Hypothalamic Regulation of the Pituitary Gland with Major Emphasis on Its Implications for the Control of Reproductive Processes

Literature

1905, Henryk Sienkiewicz

Prize motivation: “because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer”

Sienkiewicz is a key Polish epic writer and his novels are a must-read for school children and teenagers in contemporary Poland. Many of his epics were used as scripts for movies, including international productions such as the 2001 version of In Desert and Wilderness directed by Gavin Hood, and 1951 version of Quo Vadis directed by Mervyn LeRoy, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Sienkiewicz on the Polish banknote from1990

Sienkiewicz on the historical Polish banknote from1990

1924, Wladyslaw Reymont

Prize motivation: “for his great national epic, The Peasants

“To sum up, this epic novel is characterized by an art so grand, so sure, so powerful, that we may predict a lasting value and rank for it, not only within Polish literature but also within the whole of that branch of imaginative writing which has here been given a distinctive and monumental shape.” – From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

Reymont on the historical Polish banknote from 1993

Reymont on the historical Polish banknote from 1993

1978, Isaac Bashevis Singer

Prize motivation: “for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life”

Singer’s father was a rabbi, a spiritual mentor and confessor, of the Hasid school of piety. His mother also came from a family of rabbis. The East European Jewish-mystical Hasidism combined Talmud doctrine and a fidelity to scripture and rites – which often merged into prudery and strict adherence to the law – with a lively and sensually candid earthiness that seemed familiar with all human experience. Its world, which the reader encounters in Singer’s stories, is a very Jewish but also a very human world. It appears to include everything – pleasure and suffering, coarseness and subtlety. We find obstrusive carnality, spicy, colourful, fragrant or smelly, lewd or violent. But there is also room for sagacity, worldly wisdom and shrewd speculation. The range extends from the saintly to the demoniacal, from quiet contemplation and sublimity, to ruthless obsession and infernal confusion or destruction. (…) Singer began his writing career as a journalist in Warsaw in the years between the wars. He was influenced by his elder brother, now dead, who was already an author and who contributed to the younger brother’s spiritual liberation and contact with the new currents of seething political, social and cultural upheaval. The clash between tradition and renewal, between other-worldliness and faith and mysticism on the one hand, and free thought, secularization, doubt and nihilism on the other, is an essential theme in Singer’s short stories and novels. The theme is Jewish, made topical by the barbarous conflicts of our age, a painful drama between contentious loyalties. But it is also of concern to mankind, to us all, Jew or non-Jew, actualized by modern western culture’s struggles between preservation and renewal.” (read more at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1978/singer-bio.html )

(source: http://polandpoland.com/pictures/warsaw.html )

Warsaw in the years between the wars (source: http://polandpoland.com/pictures/warsaw.html )

1980, Czeslaw Milosz

Prize motivation: “who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts”

Milosz in UC Berkeley, California ( source: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/inmemoriam/czeslawmilosz.htm )

Milosz in UC Berkeley, California ( source: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/inmemoriam/czeslawmilosz.htm )

Poems:

A Poor Christian Looks at the Ghetto

Bees build around red liver,
Ants build around black bone.
It has begun: the tearing, the trampling on silks,
It has begun: the breaking of glass, wood, copper, nickel, silver, foam
Of gypsum, iron sheets, violin strings, trumpets, leaves, balls, crystals.
Poof! Phosphorescent fire from yellow walls
Engulfs animal and human hair.

Bees build around the honeycomb of lungs,
Ants build around white bone.
Torn is paper, rubber, linen, leather, flax,
Fiber, fabrics, cellulose, snakeskin, wire.
The roof and the wall collapse in flame and heat seizes the foundations.
Now there is only the earth, sandy, trodden down,
With one leafless tree.

Slowly, boring a tunnel, a guardian mole makes his way,
With a small red lamp fastened to his forehead.
He touches buried bodies, counts them, pushes on,
He distinguishes human ashes by their luminous vapor,
The ashes of each man by a different part of the spectrum.
Bees build around a red trace.
Ants build around the place left by my body.

I am afraid, so afraid of the guardian mole.
He has swollen eyelids, like a Patriarch
Who has sat much in the light of candles
Reading the great book of the species.

What will I tell him, I, a Jew of the New Testament,
Waiting two thousand years for the second coming of Jesus?
My broken body will deliver me to his sight
And he will count me among the helpers of death:
The uncircumcised.

Warsaw, 1943

By Czeslaw Milosz from “Selected Poems”, 1973
Translated by Czeslaw Milosz

So Little

I said so little.
Days were short.

Short days.
Short nights.
Short years.

I said so little.
I couldn’t keep up.

My heart grew weary
From joy,
Despair,
Ardor,
Hope.

The jaws of Leviathan
Were closing upon me.

Naked, I lay on the shores
Of desert islands.

The white whale of the world
Hauled me down to its pit.

And now I don’t know
What in all that was real.

Berkeley, 1969

By Czeslaw Milosz from “The Collected Poems 1931-1987”, 1988
Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Lillian Vallee

Click below to read the biography of Czeslaw Milosz:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1980/milosz-bio.html

1996, Wislawa Szymborska

Prize motivation: “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”

Poetry:

Utopia

Island where all becomes clear.

Solid ground beneath your feet.

The only roads are those that offer access.

Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.

The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.

The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.

The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.

If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.

Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.

On the right a cave where Meaning lies.

On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.

Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.

For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.

As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.

Into unfathomable life.

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “A large number”, 1976
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Click below to read the biography of Wislawa Szymborska:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1996/szymborska-bio.html

Peace

1983, Lech Walesa

The role of Lech Walesa can be identified by this part of his Nobel lecture speech:

“Ladies and Gentlemen,

Addressing you, as the winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, is a Polish worker from the Gdansk Shipyard, one of the founders of the independent trade union movement in Poland. It would be the simplest thing for me to say that I am not worthy of that great distinction. Yet, when I recall the hour when the news of the prize has spread throughout my country, the hour of rising emotions and universal joy of the people who felt that they have a moral and spiritual share in the award, I am obligated to say that I regard it as a sign of recognition that the movement to which I gave all my strength has served well the community of men.” (from http://www.nobelprize.org)

Click below to read Lech Walesa’s biographical information:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1983/walesa-bio.html

A movie directed by a famous Polish movie director Andrzej Wajda called Man of Iron touches upon the above mentioned piece of history. It has been appreciated by the film director Martin Scorsese and recently selected to become a part of the Polish movie screenings called  Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema (click on this link to find out more about The Man of Iron” (  http://nextprojection.com/2014/02/05/martin-scorsese-presents-masterpieces-polish-cinema-review-man-iron-1981-np-approved/ )

Lech Walesa with an award-winning journalist and TV news anchor Rich Kellman (source: http://www.richkellman.com/about.html )

Lech Walesa (right) with an award-winning journalist and TV news anchor Rich Kellman (source: http://www.richkellman.com/about.html )

1994, Shimon Peres

Prize motivation: “For Reconciliation with the Palestinians”

In the winter of 1993, secret negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis took place in the Norwegian capital Oslo. They resulted in the so-called Oslo Accords, signed in Washington the same year. The agreement aimed at reconciling the two peoples, with Israel gradually withdrawing from occupied territories and granting the Palestinians self-determination. Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres was in charge of the negotiations on the Israeli side, and in the autumn of 1994 he shared the Peace Prize with his own Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Shimon Peres is the current president of the State of Israel. He was born in Belorussia (then Poland). To escape the persecution of Jews there, the family fled to Palestine in 1934. Peres studied agricultural science and joined the party of the Zionist leader David Ben Gurion. When Arab forces launched their attack on the new state of Israel in 1948, Peres was given the chief responsibility for securing military equipment for Israel from abroad. Later he organized Israel’s nuclear program and is regarded as the father of Israel’s atom bomb. (source: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1994/peres-facts.html)

1995, Joseph Rotblat

Joseph Rotblat was born on November 4, 1908, in Warsaw, Poland. He was from a Jewish family. He had two brothers and one sister. At that time, Poland was considered part of the Russian Empire. The Rotblat family owned many horses that they kept at their second home in the countryside. But during World War I, his family lost everything.As a teenager, Joseph had to work all day so every night he stayed up late teaching himself what he would have learned in high school. Eventually he was able to go to Warsaw’s Free University and became a scientist. When Joseph was 31 years old, he went to England to work in a world-renowned Physics laboratory that had a new machine that could split atoms. Joseph and the other scientists discovered that if they could split atoms, a huge amount of energy would be released – energy that could be used to provide electricity for a whole city – or that could be used to make a very dangerous explosion.That same year, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. Joseph Rotblat and the other scientists were worried that Hitler and his Nazi army might also discover how to spit the atom and create the “atomic bomb.” After Joseph’s wife was killed by the Nazi army, Joseph went to the United States to work on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, which developed the first atomic bomb. But he quit the project and returned to Britain after learning that Nazi Germany had not figured out how to build the bomb.After the war Rotblat shifted the focus of his research to medical physics. In 1950 he became a professor of physics at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College at the University of London and worked to convince the world of the negative consequences of the atomic bomb and nuclear radiation.In 1955 Rotblat and a handful of prominent scientists, including Albert Einstein, signed a manifesto that criticized the proliferation of nuclear arms. The manifesto led to the founding of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, named for the native village in Nova Scotia, Canada. The conferences have gathered scientists from many countries and are held regularly at various sites throughout the world. Rotblat published several works on the Pugwash movement, nuclear physics, and world peace.In 1995 Rotblat and his organization were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for their long-standing promotion of nuclear disarmament. He was knighted by the Queen of England in 1998 and died August 31, 2005 in London, England.

(Source: http://www.peacejam.org/laureates/Sir-Joseph-Rotblat-12.aspx

Chemistry 

1911, Marie Curie

She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

1918, Fritz Haber

Prize motivation: “for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements”

“Haber was from a well-to-do German-Jewish family involved in various manufacturing enterprises. He studied at several German universities, earning a doctorate in organic chemistry in 1891. After a few years of moving from job to job, he settled into the Department of Chemical and Fuel Technology at the Polytechnic in Karlsruhe, Germany, where he mastered the new subject of physical chemistry. His research in physical chemistry eventually led to the Haber-Bosch process. In 1911 he was invited to become director of the Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry at the new Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft in Berlin, where academic scientists, government, and industry cooperated to promote original research.” (source: http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/online-resources/chemistry-in-history/themes/early-chemistry-and-gases/haber.aspx)

The video below shows Wroclaw, Haber’s city of birth.

1950, Kurt Alder

Prize motivation: “for their discovery and development of the diene synthesis”

The link below presents the details of his Nobel Prize work ( http://chemistry.mercer.edu/orgchem/DielsAlder12.pdf – for chemistry lovers)

The video below shows old photos of Chorzow, Alder’s city of birth:

1981, Roald Hoffmann

Prize motivation: “for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions”

“I came to a happy Jewish family in dark days in Europe. On July 18, 1937 I was born to Clara (née Rosen) and Hillel Safran in Zloczow, Poland (nowadays-Ukraine). This town, typical of the Pale of the Settlement, was part of Austria-Hungary when my parents were born. It was Poland in my time and is part of the Soviet Union now. I was named after Roald Amundsen, my first Scandinavian connection. My father was a civil engineer, educated at the Lvov (Lemberg) Polytechnic, my mother by training a school teacher.

In 1939 the war began. Our part of Poland was under Russian occupation from 1939-1941. Then in 1941 darkness descended, and the annihilation of Polish Jewry began. We went to a ghetto, then a labor camp. My father smuggled my mother and me out of the camp in early 1943, and for the remainder of the war we were hidden by a good Ukrainian in the attic of a school house in a nearby village. My father remained behind in the camp. He organized a breakout attempt which was discovered. Hillel Safran was killed by the Nazis and their helpers in June 1943. Most of the rest of my family suffered a similar fate. My mother and I, and a handful of relatives, survived. We were freed by the Red Army in June 1944. At the end of 1944 we moved to Przemysl and then to Krakow, where I finally went to school. My mother remarried, and Paul Hoffmann was a kind and gentle father to me until his death, two months prior to the Nobel Prize announcement.

In 1946 we left Poland for Czechoslovakia. From there we moved to a displaced persons’ camp, Bindermichl, near Linz, in Austria. In 1947 we went on to another camp in Wasseralfingen bei Aalen in Germany, then to München. On Washington’s Birthday 1949 we came to the United States.” (source: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1981/hoffmann-bio.html ).

——-

The Last Will of Alfred Nobel

I, the undersigned, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, do hereby, after mature deliberation, declare the following to be my last Will and Testament with respect to such property as may be left by me at the time of my death:

To my nephews, Hjalmar and Ludvig Nobel, the sons of my brother Robert Nobel, I bequeath the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Crowns each;

To my nephew Emanuel Nobel, the sum of Three Hundred Thousand, and to my niece Mina Nobel, One Hundred Thousand Crowns;

To my brother Robert Nobel’s daughters, Ingeborg and Tyra, the sum of One Hundred Thousand Crowns each;

Miss Olga Boettger, at present staying with Mrs Brand, 10 Rue St Florentin, Paris, will receive One Hundred Thousand Francs;

Mrs Sofie Kapy von Kapivar, whose address is known to the Anglo-Oesterreichische Bank in Vienna, is hereby entitled to an annuity of 6000 Florins Ö.W. which is paid to her by the said Bank, and to this end I have deposited in this Bank the amount of 150,000 Fl. in Hungarian State Bonds;

Mr Alarik Liedbeck, presently living at 26 Sturegatan, Stockholm, will receive One Hundred Thousand Crowns;

Miss Elise Antun, presently living at 32 Rue de Lubeck, Paris, is entitled to an annuity of Two Thousand Five Hundred Francs. In addition, Forty Eight Thousand Francs owned by her are at present in my custody, and shall be refunded;

Mr Alfred Hammond, Waterford, Texas, U.S.A. will receive Ten Thousand Dollars;

The Misses Emy and Marie Winkelmann, Potsdamerstrasse, 51, Berlin, will receive Fifty Thousand Marks each;

Mrs Gaucher, 2 bis Boulevard du Viaduc, Nimes, France will receive One Hundred Thousand Francs;

My servants, Auguste Oswald and his wife Alphonse Tournand, employed in my laboratory at San Remo, will each receive an annuity of One Thousand Francs;

My former servant, Joseph Girardot, 5, Place St. Laurent, Châlons sur Saône, is entitled to an annuity of Five Hundred Francs, and my former gardener, Jean Lecof, at present with Mrs Desoutter, receveur Curaliste, Mesnil, Aubry pour Ecouen, S.& O., France, will receive an annuity of Three Hundred Francs;

Mr Georges Fehrenbach, 2, Rue Compiègne, Paris, is entitled to an annual pension of Five Thousand Francs from January 1, 1896 to January 1, 1899, when the said pension shall discontinue;

A sum of Twenty Thousand Crowns each, which has been placed in my custody, is the property of my brother’s children, Hjalmar, Ludvig, Ingeborg and Tyra, and shall be repaid to them.

The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiological or medical work by the Caroline Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm, and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be a Scandinavian or not.

As Executors of my testamentary dispositions, I hereby appoint Mr Ragnar Sohlman, resident at Bofors, Värmland, and Mr Rudolf Lilljequist, 31 Malmskillnadsgatan, Stockholm, and at Bengtsfors near Uddevalla. To compensate for their pains and attention, I grant to Mr Ragnar Sohlman, who will presumably have to devote most time to this matter, One Hundred Thousand Crowns, and to Mr Rudolf Lilljequist, Fifty Thousand Crowns;

At the present time, my property consists in part of real estate in Paris and San Remo, and in part of securities deposited as follows: with The Union Bank of Scotland Ltd in Glasgow and London, Le Crédit Lyonnais, Comptoir National d’Escompte, and with Alphen Messin & Co. in Paris; with the stockbroker M.V. Peter of Banque Transatlantique, also in Paris; with Direction der Disconto Gesellschaft and Joseph Goldschmidt & Cie, Berlin; with the Russian Central Bank, and with Mr Emanuel Nobel in Petersburg; with Skandinaviska Kredit Aktiebolaget in Gothenburg and Stockholm, and in my strong-box at 59, Avenue Malakoff, Paris; further to this are accounts receivable, patents, patent fees or so-called royalties etc. in connection with which my Executors will find full information in my papers and books.

This Will and Testament is up to now the only one valid, and revokes all my previous testamentary dispositions, should any such exist after my death.

Finally, it is my express wish that following my death my veins shall be opened, and when this has been done and competent Doctors have confirmed clear signs of death, my remains shall be cremated in a so-called crematorium.

Paris, 27 November, 1895

Alfred Bernhard Nobel

 


 

That Mr Alfred Bernhard Nobel, being of sound mind, has of his own free will declared the above to be his last Will and Testament, and that he has signed the same, we have, in his presence and the presence of each other, hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses:

Sigurd Ehrenborg
former Lieutenant
Paris: 84 Boulevard Haussmann

R. W. Strehlenert
Civil Engineer
4, Passage Caroline

Thos Nordenfelt
Constructor
8, Rue Auber, Paris

Leonard Hwass
Civil Engineer
4, Passage Caroline

 (source: http://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/will-full.html )

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