Biography of Paul Kraske
16/17: Paul Kraske studied in Halle an der Saale and Leipzig. He graduated in Halle in 1874. From 1875 to 1883 he was an assistant to Richard von Volkmann (1830-1889) at the surgical clinic in Halle. In 1878 he presented his doctoral dissertation on an “Experimental Investigation Concerning Regeneration of Striated Muscle” and that year he was habilitated for surgery. From 1883 1919 he was professor of surgery and head of the surgical clinic in Freiburg im Breisgau.
Kraske published on a wide variety of surgical themes. His particular interest was in colorectal cancer, a subject on which he produced a number of publications. In 1885 he presented a lecture at the Fourteenth Congress of the German Society of Surgery on the subject of the transsacral approach to the removal of rectal cancer. His experience was based on cadaver dissection and treatment of two patients. It is for this report that Kraske achieved eponymous immortality.
Kraske is remembered as a man with a “soft and feeling heart,” yet with a clear mind. He was always very critical with respect to the proposition of various scientific ideas. He was not one who immediately accepted change. He was felt to be rather shy and preferred quiet work in the operating room and at the patient's bedside. He was also considered a great patriot, having volunteered as a soldier in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870–1871, and as a medical officer in the beginning of the First World War (1914). His particular interest in later years was in the value of early exploratory laparotomy for abdominal wounds.