Background: Leipzig, home to IRDC

Released September 18th, 2009
The city of trade fairs, books and research: Leipzig has a rich history and is now also home to the International Reference and Development Centre for Surgical Technology (IRDC), a new high-tech highlight

Glorious Leipzig

The city of music, books, trade fairs and heroes – Leipzig has been given many names. As Thomaskantor, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote motets and cantatas for the world-renowned Thomaner Choir. In Leipzig, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy conducted the Gewandhaus Orchestra and founded the first German Conservatory of Music in 1843. The German Library and the reading festival of the Leipzig Book Fair represent its tradition as the home of books. The Reclamkarree [former Reclam publishing house] and Villa Meyer are landmarks representing the publishing houses that were once headquartered at the Pleiße River. The Baedeker villa, home to the IRDC, is another witness to Leipzig’s glorious history as “capital of the printed word” (Fritz J. Raddatz). However, the rhythm of the city has been most distinctly affected by the trade fair, which still characterizes its appearance, since Leipzig was built around market place: Europe’s most important trade routes crossed here – Via Imperii and Via Regia. Lively trade made the city wealthy, and magnificent trade fair buildings and passages were built - such as the Städtische Kaufhaus, which was dedicated as the world’s first “Trade Fair Palace” in 1896. According to an old saying, “the Leipzig Trade Fair is the only one in the world that keeps its own city.” With the Old City Hall, Leipzig has also conserved one of the most beautiful German Renaissance buildings, which was erected in the 16th century between two trade fairs. The Leipzig megalomania is proverbial. However, its inhabitants have a charming way of employing it to develop new visions. In 1989, the Peace Prayer services in the Nikolai Church and the Monday demonstrations became part of the German “Wende” and triggered the peaceful revolution and German reunification. This earned Leipzig the name “City of heroes.” With 500,000 inhabitants, Leipzig is today among Germany’s most promising cities.

Home of science and surgery

For centuries, Leipzig has been a principal center of student life and important research: The Alma mater Lipsiensis founded in 1409 is the second oldest German university that has been in continuous operation. The Chair of Surgery and Anatomy was established in 1580. Especially toward the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, Leipzig became an important city in the area of surgery. Surgeons from Leipzig became world-renowned. With Carl Thiersch, who became professor of surgery in 1867, the era of classical surgeons began. He was one of the most prominent surgeons of the 19th century – and became well known through skin transplantation and plastic surgery procedures, for example. Thiersch’s successor, Friedrich Trendelenburg, was one of the founders of the German Society of Surgery. This pioneer of modern surgery invented medical devices and treatment methods and became famous with the Trendelenburg pulmonary embolectomy. Another important name in Leipzig history is Erwin Payr, who is associated with the development of organ transplantation, among other things. Payr was Trendelenburg’s successor and took over the largest German surgery department at the time. This master surgeon was known for his 15-hour days that included daily patient visits, so that he could get to know each one of them. Ernst Heller is another prominent Leipzig surgeon; he was chief of staff at the St. Georg City Hospital Surgery Department and later became Chair of Surgery at Leipzig University. In addition to his achievements in thoracic and pulmonary surgery, he revolutionized the light and color design of the OR. Today, Leipzig is again a distinguished center for medical teaching, cutting-edge research and clinical practice. With the IRDC, Leipzig as the “city of medicine” is gaining another valuable facility.

Home of the IRDC: The Baedeker villa

The IRDC is located in one of the most beautiful Leipzig city villas. The building was erected by the construction director Hoffmann between June 1874 and December 1875 as a family home for Fritz Baedeker . By this time, the Baedeker family had been dealing with books for generations. In 1872, Fritz and Karl Baedeker had moved the headquarters of the successful travel guide company from Koblenz to Leipzig. About two decades after its construction, the villa was extensively renovated. The old staircase was removed to make place for a beautiful addition, and the entrance hall was combined with the rooms near the garden to create a space of representative size. The architect Bruno Eelbo successfully merged the construction features and style of previous decades in the architecture and design and created a beautiful feature with the addition, which is reminiscent of a conservatory.

After World War II, the Baedeker family made the final decision to leave Leipzig, and the publishing business was moved to West Germany. Beginning in 1953, the villa in Käthe-Kollwitz-Straße 64 was under government administration and became home to the Georg Schumann Youth Hostel until 1998. During this time, plaster and stucco were removed; the garden made room for buildings, and a kitchen was added. Today, the Leipzig villa has been restored to its old - and new - glory.

For additional information, please visit .

For questions and appointments for interviews, video and foto sessions, please contact:

PD Dr. Gero Strauß
Direktor IRDC
Käthe-Kollwitz-Straße 64
04109 Leipzig
Fon: +49 (0)341 – 33 73 31 60
Fax: +49 (0)341 – 33 73 31 63

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