Dr. Haakon Sæthre: A Norwegian Neuroscientist and his Resistance against Nazi Germany
journal contributionposted on 10.05.2014, 00:00 by Lawrence A. Zeidman
Dr. Haakon Sæthre was a leader of Norwegian neurology and psychiatry. He was resourceful, compassionate, and had immense pride in his independent homeland. He described Sæthre-Chotzen syndrome (acrocephalosyndactyly type III). When Nazi Germany occupied Norway during World War II, Sæthre fearlessly and actively resisted, from revoking his medical association membership, to hiding persecuted Jews as patients in his psychiatric ward and aiding in their escape to Sweden, to managing the largest “illegal” food warehouse in Oslo with Danish humanitarian aid. As a prominent and noticeable citizen, he was arrested and executed by the Nazis in reprisal for the resistance’s assassination of a hated Norwegian Nazi. His legacy lives on in Norway, where he was honored by a scholarship fund, a portrait and multiple plaques at Ullevål Hospital, and a street and memorial statue in his hometown. He was a hero, and should be remembered by all who practice neurology.