Ladislav Syllaba (1868–1930)

Ladislav Syllaba was born on 16th June 1868 in Bystřice u Benešova. In March 1892, he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague. He was a pupil and follower of Josef Thomayer. After graduation, he underwent a long medical praxis in Bohemia and education programmes at major European clinics and institutes. He habilitated in 1901 at the Faculty of Medicine in Prague with a focus on pathology and therapy of internal diseases. After the outbreak of WWI, he served as Head of the Medical Department at the Red Cross reserve hospital in Straka Academy, later in the reserve hospital in Vršovice and military hospital in Terezín.

From 1919 till his death, he was a professor and Head of the 1st Medical Department at Charles University. He was a member of many major foreign and Czechoslovak scientific medical associations and a personal doctor of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. He was publishing scientific works about neurology, hematology (he was the first to examine blood on bilirubin), cardiology, alimentary tracts, and pulmonary diseases.

Ladislav Syllaba was also not reluctant to political affairs. He inherited a patriotic feeling from his family environment and he participated actively in associations as a student. In his articles and speeches during the WWI, he bravely supported the Czechoslovak right for independence. His name can also be found among the first signatures of Czech writers, cultural and scientific workers under the memorable appeal to the Imperial Council on May 30th, 1917.

Thanks to his ideology, Syllaba became a member of the Revolutionary National Assembly in 1918, one of the first Czechoslovak deputies. Medicine and university were the top points on his parliamentary agenda. After the government’s demise in 1920, Syllaba became again fully focused on medicine. He died in Prague after a several-month-long illness on December 30th, 1930.

Ladislav Syllaba was one of the founding members of the Národ Lodge in 1919. He became the Worshipful Master of this Lodge in 1920 and stayed at this position till 1927 (with a half-a-year pause in 1923, when František Táborský took over). He was also a member of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree for Czechoslovakia. Ladislav Syllaba’s son was a globally acclaimed diabetologist Jiří Syllaba. He was also a very active member of the Národ Lodge and served in the highest ranks of the Grand Lodge of the Czech Republic.