Biography of Jerzy Olszewski
George (Jerzy) Olszewski was born in Wilno, a town that has belonged to several countries over the last centuries. When he was born, it was in Russia. It is now Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, but it has also belonged to Poland and Germany.
Jerzy Olszewski entered the medical school of King Stefan Batory University in Wilno in 1931. In 1936 he became a member of the staff of the Brain Institute in Wilno, where he worked with the renowned Polish psychiatrist Professor M. Rose. He then studied with Oscar Vogt (1870-1959) in the Institut für Hirnforschung und Allgemeine Biologie – ”Institute for Brain Research and General Biology” – in the Schwarzwald, near Neustadt. This institute had been established by Oscar Vogt in 1937.
In 1948 Wilder Graves Penfield (1891-1976) invited him to leave Europe and join the Montreal Neurological Institute. There Olszewski collaborated with Donald Baxter to publish one of the most definitive and widely used atlases of the human brain stem. Olszewski studied the connections between the reticular formation, spinal cord and the midbrain. In 1956, he established the department of neuropathology at the newly created medical school of the University of Saskatchewan.
In 1957 Olszewski was invited to the University of Toronto to replace the retiring Eric A. Linell as Head of Neuropathology. Under him neuropathology flourished at the University and he was reputed to be an excellent teacher. He died of myocardial infarct.