Robel Jan Zygmunt – meet forensic toxicologist from Krakow




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As you may see in the title – Zygmunt Robel was a toxicologist. However, his history is far more interesting.


He was born in 1886 in Krakow as a son of a military official. Graduated Jaggielonian University – in 1912 ended his Ph.D. in chemistry. During his studies, Robel did not rest on his laurels but tried himself as a trainee, deputy assistant and assistant in the Chemistry Department of Jagiellonian University, finally ended up as a toxicologist coworking with judicial authorities.


Robel’s life was not only about his career – during World War II, he got arrested and exiled to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. Got freed in 1940.


After returning to Krakow, Robel became head of the Chemistry Department of Jagiellonian University (during the war, it was undercovered and kept underground). Was also a lecturer of forensic science, chemistry – general and physiological).


Between 1943 and 1944, with his assistant, Jan Cholewiński, they researched items delivered by the German Army after the exhumation of Polish officers murdered in Katyń (currently Russia). He copied most of the documents and transmitted them to London. Multiple copies have been hidden around places he worked in; part of them was found in 1991.
Robel worked in various places as State Nature Protection Council and Main Commission to investigate Nazi crimes.


He was honored with multiple orders.


Robel died in 1962 in the city he was born in – Krakow.

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