Kapronczay Károly szerk.: Orvostörténeti közlemények 234-237. (Budapest, 2016)

KÖZLEMÉNYEK - Müller Miklós—Elek Gábor: Bauer Ervin 1935-ös biológia-tankönyve és a könyv további sorsa

MÜLLER, M. - ELEK, G.: A Biology Textbook Edited by Ervin Bauer 85 A BIOLOGY TEXTBOOK EDITED BY ERVIN BAUER IN 1935 AND ITS SUBSEQUENT FATE MIKLÓS MÜLLER - GÁBOR ELEK Habent sua fata libelli (atque etiam homines) The name of Erwin Bauer (Bauer Ervin, OpBHH Chmohobmh Eayop - 1890 - 1938) is well known in Llungary and in the countries of the former USSR (e.g. Tokuh 1963; Tokin 1965, 1982; Müller 2005; lUnojib 2001; Po3auoea et al. 2010; Elek 2014) as an outstanding scien­tist developing theoretical biology (Eaysp 1935a). Although his work is now largely forgot­ten, his original ideas reappear as components of more recent theories. Elis path was complex. After the fall of the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919 he lived with his second wife, Stefánia Szilárd in emigration from his native Hungary in Germany, Czechoslovakia, again in Germany before he moved to the USSR in 1925 where he had a succesful career. However, both of them fell victims of the great terror in 1937 and were executed early 1938. Bauer’s major goal in science was to develop a theoretical biology from first principles. As the main characteristics of life he postulated that the living substance is in a permanent disequilibrium. He attempted to derive all major phenomena of life from this postulate and published his ideas in three successive monographs (Bauer 1920; Eayop 1930, 1935a). In the final 1935 version of his Theoretical Biology (Eayop 1935a Bauer 1985) he summarized his theoretical considerations and experimental work. This book was a seminal achievment and its publication a most significant event in Bauer’s career. Another major contribution by Bauer was the publication of a university textbook of gen­eral biology in the same year (Eayop 1935b). The impact of this work and its successors on Soviet biology and higher education was probably even greater than that of his theoretical biology. This work is rarely mentioned. It is not included in the biography compiled by Bauer’s erstwhile boss, Boris P. Tokin (Tokuh 1963; Tokin 1965) and is essentially unknown today. One of us (GE) came accross this textbook in the Central State (then Lenin) Library of Moscow during a study trip in 1966 and reported on it briefly (Elek 1968, 1976). In this note we remember this textbook and tell of its curious and disturbing afterlife. We have no information about, why Bauer decided to assemble a group of competent biol­ogists to have a textbook written after he had essentially abandoned his teaching activities in 1933. One hint might be an item in the 1931 Workplan of the Society of Marxist Biologists of the Communist Academy (EoudapeuKo et al. 1931) where the composition of various work­ing groups (Brigades) of the Society are listed. Its point II/l reads: „Organize a brigade to develop type-programs of biology for colleges and workers faculties [ey3bi u paötpam] with members: Koshtoyants [brigadier = groupleader], Kaganov, Mitskevich, Zakheim, Bauer. Novogradskii andB. Zavadovskii” [p. 93].