Where did Piłsudski escape? Few words about the hospital St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
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"We went ahead for men's troops. Patients with a mild disposition enjoyed great freedom, discreet caretakers watched over them. The patients were segregated to a certain extent according to social strata, also according to their level of wealth. The rooms were clean, decently furnished, the lack of social cohesion struck among the wandering men. They seemed distrustful and suspicious of each other, everyone lived only their own excited life.

Everyone greeted Januszkiewicz with excuses:

- Doctor! I am completely healthy. Why don't you discharge me from hospital?

Some have thrown threats at influential relatives who will bring the hospital management and individual doctors to justice. [...]

Most talked calmly and with meaning. A latent anxiety trembled in his eyes, which subconsciously began to spread to me.

The tall man, about sixty years old, kept dignified away. Januszkiewicz whispered to me that he considered himself emperor Alexander I.

- Ochrana [secret political police formed in 1881 in the Russian Empire] has an eye on him. The gendarmes are of the opinion that even for a madman such concepts are megalomania shameful. Especially since the patient was only a pharmacist [emphasis added] ed.]. "

Yes your visit to the hospital of St. Nicholas the Wonder was described by a journalist intern in St. Petersburg in 1899 in Warsaw's "Kraj", a Warsaw writer and publicist Stefan Krzywoszewski (the same, Long Life. Memories, Warsaw 1947, vol. 1, p. 131).

Two years later (1/14 May 1901), these "clean, decently furnished" rooms were abandoned by Józef Piłsudski (1867–1935), who was there on psychiatric observation, simulating illness. The future Chief of State came to Neva from the 10th Pavilion of the Warsaw Citadel. He stayed there in collective halls, several times he went to isolation. In a reckless escape organized by the St. Petersburg activists of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), one of the apprentices helped him, then a doctor on duty with dr. Otto Czeczott (1842–1924), then the head of this state-of-the-art psychiatric institution in Russia, an activist of the Polish Socialist Party and a freshly graduated Władysław Mazurkiewicz, a professor of the Imperial Military Military Academy in the future, and later a professor of pharmacology in Warsaw. The action of releasing the later marshal took place thanks to the knowledge of Chechott, who immediately resigned from the function of head physician, putting at stake the "subversive ideas" of the achievements of his life. Otton Czeczott is considered the organizer of the modern St. Petersburg psychiatric treatment, and the head of the hospital of St. Mikołaj was from 1881. In addition to his masters Jan Baliński (1827–1902) and Jan Mierzejewski (1838–1908), who formed the foundations of Russian psychiatry, preparing modern clinical and didactic facilities of the emerging independent discipline, he was one of three Polish reformers of this branch medicine with achievements difficult to overestimate.

In 1866, Czeczott became the head of the women's ward for the mental clinic for the mentally ill, headed by Baliński's student Piotr A. Djukow. It was this institution that was transformed in the spring of 1872 under the direction of Djukow into a thousand-bed hospital for the insane. St. Nicholas the Wonderworker [Больница для душевнобольных св. Николая Чудотворц]. He was in a former prison on the embankment of the Mojka River 126 in the Admirałtielski region. In 1884 St. Petersburg passed into the management of the City Duma, which caused Chechott to reorganize psychiatric care throughout the city. Thanks to his efforts, a new hospital was opened in the then Russian capital in 1893 (along the way to Peterhof), in which patients were divided not only by sex, but also by type of disease, which was an absolute novelty at the time. In addition to hospital work, Czeczott lectured at medical colleges and courses, published and appeared as a renowned court expert. Despite finding employment in Petrograd after the 1917 revolution, he left for Warsaw in the early 1920s.

Piłsudski was not the only "patient with politics" who got under the wing of hospital St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, more of all kinds of "subversives" went through the hospital. There was also a place for delegates from the Tubernia governorate who dared to submit a premature request to Tsar Nicholas II to introduce a constitutional monarchy. The secular tradition of receiving virus-infected patients policies continued creatively in Soviet times. The main difference, however, was that while for many of them the Tsar's simulation of illness was an escape from a torture or long-term heavy prison, in Soviet times the authorities boldly convinced the disease of their political adversaries and critics. It was then to the group of temporary residents of this well-deserved clinic, which since the 1920s was called the Psychiatric Hospital No. 2 [Больница психиатрическая № 2], popularly called "on the Priažka" (from the Priażka River, the tributary of Mojko, on which it was located) future Nobel laureate in the field of literature Josif Brodzki (1940–1996) - three weeks in 1964 before being sent to the Archangel region. He later considered his stay in this place his worst experience. One of the last known patients-simulators of the St. Petersburg hospital was the icon of Russian rock music - the "total" artist - Wiktor Coj (1962–1990), who, wanting to avoid military service in the Soviet army, went there in 1983 for one and a half months and was released from service so-called white ticket. After leaving the institution, he wrote the poignant song Tranquilizer.



Opened in the spring of 1872, the St. Petersburg Hospital with a thousand beds for the insane St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in a former prison at the quay of the Mojka River 126. Lithography from 1875.



St. Petersburg Hospital for the mentally sick St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Photograph from the 1870s.



Otton Czeczott (1842–1924), psychiatrist, organizer of St. Petersburg psychiatric treatment. Drawing of P. Borel according to photo А. Lewicki in the journal [Всемирная Иллюстрация] from 1891.



Investigative photo of Józef Piłsudski after being arrested by Ochrana in 1900 for "Independence" 1934 in the collection of the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw.



One of the organizers of Józef Piłsudski's escape, an activist of the Polish Socialist Party, a graduate of the Imperial-Royal Military Medical Academy in Władysław Mazurkiewicz, a future professor at the University of Warsaw. Photograph from 1928.



Another patient from psychiatric hospital No. 2 - future Nobel Prize winner in literature Josif Brodzki (1940–1996). Photograph taken in 1965 in exile in the Archangilian Oblast.

More about Polish reformers of Russian psychiatry, Balinese, Mierzejewski and Czeczot, and the writer Krzywoszewski in the online encyclopedia "Polish St. Petersburg". W. Coj was one of the heroes of the lecture by Konstanty Usenka, the author of the book Eyes of the Soviet Toy - a thing about the Soviet and Russian underground.

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