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Werner Kollath was a progenitor of scientific research in hygiene – which he understood as the science and art of maintaining and developing health.
In this book Kollath observed that contemporary medicine developed its paradigm through a successful combat with infectious diseases, and is therefore focused on identifying causes and prescribing remedies. But the diseases that we must now learn to cope with tend to exist ‘in the domain of the non-specific’ – they are consequences of a large number of factors, most of which are environmental and lifestyle-related.
In a biography she wrote about her husband, Elisabeth Kollath summarizes various awards and praises that followed the publication of Werner Kollath’s first book, “Foundations, Method und Aims of Hygiene. An Introduction for Medical Professionals and Natural Scientists, Policy Makers and Technicians” in 1937 and adds: “There were, however, not only recognitions, but also opposition, which was caused by the third part of the book, the one which talked about nutrition. It was then that the food industry became conscious of this man, who was in the position to disturb their order of things. The sugar and chocolate industry came first and demanded with threats the withdrawal of the entire work, or at least to cover the pages by which it felt attacked. Kollath refused, and that was the beginning of the battle against the “Enemy Kollath” which would continue throughout his life. The canned food industry came out somewhat later, and soon also the pharmaceutical industry assumed an antagonistic position.”
The events in his life made Kollath profoundly aware that our imperilled health and imbalanced healthcare are not only a medical problem, but just as much a political one (in the sense that it has to do with the power of whole industries, which needs to be counter-acted). In this book he envisions a knowledge-work practice he called ‘political hygiene’ as a pivotal element of a remedial strategy. Elisabeth Kollath writes: “The book Civilization-Induced Diseases and Death Causes was the first joint work with Karl F. Haug Publishing House, which then still under the personal leadership of Karl Haug had its headquarters in Ulm. The book was intended to be the first volume of the Publication Series on Political Hygiene, which Werner Kollath wanted to issue together with the publishing house. It ended with this first volume.”
It is noteworthy that Kollath’s books and biography are available only in antique stores and in German language.
Verzeichnis der Abbildungen
Politische Hygiene als Wissenschaft
Die Natur Von JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE 1780
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