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Dr George Csonka: archives

Csonka, Dr George
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


This collection includes working research papers, articles, drafts of publications and correspondence covering three main areas. These are Reiter syndrome, bejel (non-venereal syphilis), as well as an auto-experiment (self infection) of a sexually transmitted disease. The collection includes papers from Csonka's time spent in Iraq in the 1950s as the Chief Medical Adviser of the Bejel/Syphilis Project which was sponsored by the World Health Organisation and papers relating to a similar project researching bejel in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s-1980s.

The digital material cannot be rendered at this time and has not been catalogued.



Physical description

6 boxes



The files have been arranged in order to best reflect how they were created and used. They are arranged by section as follows:

Section A - Research and associated papers
Section B - Published works by Dr George Csonka and other authors relating to infectious diseases
Section C - Working papers of Dr George Csonka relating to infectious diseases
Section D - Meetings and conferences

The original order and arrangement has been retained by the Archivist where possible.

Acquisition note

Gift, 1/8/2014

Biographical note

Dr George Csonka (1916-2000) was a consultant venereologist in London. Born in Hungary, his family moved to Vienna when Csonka was five due to anti-Semitism in Hungary. In Vienna, his father - a scientist - was the director of the Austrian State Serum Institute. With the escalating political situation in Europe, the family moved to Britain in 1938. Csonka studied medicine at Queens University, Belfast before moving to London to be house surgeon and physician at Royal Victoria Hospital. Csonka developed an interest in research, and in the early 1950s spent considerable time in Iraq as part of a World Health Organisation campaign against bejel and syphilis. Csonka was eminent in his field of venereology and became synonymous with research into Reiter syndrome, and along with Hans Reiter himself, Csonka was the international authority on it. Csonka communicated and co-authored research with Reiter - although it is probable that the two men never met. Reiter's war crimes and his reinstatement in German society have only recently come to light, it is unclear if Csonka was aware of them, however this seems unlikely as Csonka - a secular Jew had to leave Vienna due to anti-semitism.

Csonka joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and in 1947 began training in venereology at St Mary's Hopsital, London - where he later returned as a consultant in 1981 after working at the Central Middlesex Hospital. He authored over 70 papers and carried out research on sexually transmitted diseases throughout his entire career. He co-edited a textbook in 1990 titled Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A textbook of genitourinary medicine and was working on a second edition which was never published.

Appraisal note

Digital material has been weeded out of the collection following appraisal during cataloguing by Stephanie Cornwell, July 2020

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