The International Society of Lymphology has a privilege that is hard to find in professional relationships, that is how we are connected to each other as a family.

Unfortunately, from this family we lost two very dear leading and important members who supported and promoted the International Society of Lymphology in its course.

The least we can do for our dear friends and mentors, pioneers in the field of Lymphology, M. Foeldi and W. Olszewski, is to pay tribute to their memory and thus have them with us again.

Therefore, during the 28th World Congress of Lymphology, which will be held 20-24 September 2021, in Athens-Greece, we have scheduled two sessions with lectures and oral presentations dedicated to their memory.


Professor Michael Földi

Professor Prof. h.c. Dr. med. Michael Földi was born in Budapest, Hungary, on 10th January 1920, the son of a doctor and author.

1930-1938: High school education at the Piarist Order in Budapest. He was particularly interested in the classics, with an emphasis on Latin, ancient Greek, and classical literature. The school‘s education was rooted in humanistic ideals, so that, in addition to providing a solid education, great importance was given to teaching respect for the dignity of Man, and this would later form the corner stone for Michael‘s scientific development and career.

1938-1944: Study of Medicine at the Royal Hungarian Nikolaus-von-Horthy University of Szeged, which had gained international acclaim for its scientists; of note, the Nobel prize winner, Albert Szent-Györgyi, who identified vitamin C.

1945-1961: Michael began his career at the 1st Medical University Clinic in Budapest, initially as a locum physician. He went on to become a senior consultant, and in the last three years served a chief consultant and deputy medical director for the Clinic Director Professor Rusznyak. Professor Rusznyak was a fascinating research scientist, whose insights and views shaped Foeldi‘s future professional and scientific development. A treatise by Ruszynak on unresolved causes for the manifestation of edema sparked Foeldi to begin his work on this multitude of questions. With youthful enthusiasm and scientific passion, he dedicated himself to clarifying the function of the lymphatic vessels in various forms of edema.

In addition to his clinical work as a specialist for internal medicine, he  worked long hours late into the evening, conducting animal experiments, and one could often find him at midnight in his research laboratory. During this period he worked on the now world-renowned publication: "Lymphatics and Lymph Circulation: Physiology and Pathology", together with his teacher Ruszynak and colleague Szabo (1968, Gustav-Fischer-Verlag). Another monograph was published during this period, with the title "Regulation of Sodium Balance". M. Földi already had intensive professional contact to German medical science during this period, which was strengthened by numerous visits to the Federal Republic, for example, a three month residence in Tübingen, with Professor Bennhold.

1961-1969: M. Földi was named Professor of Internal Medicine at the University Clinic in Szeged, and took on the responsibility of directing the 2nd Medical University Clinic; remaining there until 1969. This second productive period brought about further advances in research in the field of Lymphology. Földi began to fathom the nature of lymph vascular insufficiencies and came to one of his most significant conclusions; that edema, independent of etiology, only occurs when the transport capacity of the lymph vascular system is exceeded by lymphatic load over time.

He continued to systematically research the consequences of lymphatic blockades in various organs through ongoing animal studies, and during this research into organ lymphostasis, he examined the relationships between the central nervous system and the cervical lymph system. He was able to prove the existence of lymphostatic encephalopathy; he found analagous symptoms in humans, and described the pathways along the perivascular spaces between the central nervous system and the cervical lymphatic system. He also demonstrated the significance of the leptomenigeal cuffs around the cranial nerves as important contact points between the central nervous system and the lymphatic system. In this period he visited numerous university clinics in Germany as a guest of the Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation to speak about and present his research findings. Numerous publications came forth, including the monograph "Disease of lymphatics and lymph-circulation" in the USA, and, in collaboration with Csillik he published the book "The histochemistry and histophysics of lymphostasis".

1969: Relocation to Germany, due to increasing political pressure from Imre Nagy; a former patient and acquaintance. After making Germany his new home, he began his third productive period at a research laboratory in North Germany, which had been made available to him by a pharmaceutical company.

     Michael Földi & Etelka Földi

1978: He founded - jointly with his wife Prof. Etelka Földi - the Clinic for Lymphology in Feldberg. This clinic, now situated in Hinterzarten, specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of lymph vascular diseases. His book, “Lymphology”, published in 1983 in collaboration with J.R. Casley-Smith through Schattauer Verlag, described the scientific principles and clinical research findings. Further books followed: “The Textbook of Lymphology”, “Lymphedema and Associated Diseases”, published through Urban-Fischer. Over 400 scientific publications bear witness to 60 years of a prolific and successful research career.

1986: Appointed adjunct professor of the Albert-Ludwig University Freiburg.

1988: Professor Földi awarded the Federal Service Cross.

1988: Named honorary professor of the Salvador University, Buenos Aires.


Activities in Scientific Associations

1963                    Founding member of the International Society of Lymphology.

1985 to 1986        General Secretary of this Society and

1977 to 1988        President of the International Society of Lymphology.


Honorary memberships

  • French and German Societies of Phlebology
  • French Society of Angiology
  • International Union for Angiology
  • International College of Experimental Dermatology
  • Brazilian Society of Angiology

Michael Földi‘s many-facetted personality was not exclusively reflected by his outstanding professional achievements. One of his most important interests was the reading of ancient authors of classic literature in their original language. His love for classical music was also a defining characteristic. He followed advances and progress in the Sciences with great interest.



Professor Waldemar L. Olszewski

Born in Piastów/Warsaw, Poland, in a family of landowners in Central Poland with father a linguist and banking specialist. Received General Certificate of Education in 1948 in Warsaw. Started university studies first at Faculty of Law, Warsaw University in 1948 (through 1950) to change for Faculty of Medicine in 1949. Graduated in 1954, passed Board in Surgery exams in 1962. Received degree of PhD in 19962 and D.Science in 1968. Since 1970 associate professor at the Dept. of Surgery, Medical Academy, and Medical Research Center, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, since 1978 full professor at the same centers including since 1997 chairman of Clinical Department of Surgery, Ministry of Internal Affaires/Polish Academy of Science Hospital, Warsaw.

Received postgraduate training and carried out research studies at Hammersmith Hospital, London during the period 1962-63, then at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, between 1968 and 1970. Worked at City Hospital#4, Warsaw, then Dept. of Surgery, Medical Academy, and Medical Research Center, Warsaw as head of Dept. of Surgical Research & Transplantation and since 1997 as Chief of Clinical Department of Surgery, Ministry of Internal Affaires/Polish Academy of Sciences Hospital, Warsaw. Other professional positions include Visiting Professor at Radiumhospitalet, Oslo, (since 1976), St.Bartholomew's Medical School, London (since 1994), Research Officer World Health Organization, Madras-Pondicherry-Benares, India (since 1992).

Served as President of European Society for Surgical Research in 1977-78, President of International Society of Lymphology in 1989-91, President of Polish Society for Immunology in 1995-98. Served also as member of editorial boards of many international medical journals among them Lymphology (USA), International Angiology (GB), Central European Journal of Immunology (Poland), Phlebolinfologia (Spain), Cell Transplantation (USA), Lymphatic Research and Biology (USA), US-Chinese Journal of Lymphology and Oncology (China), Indian Medical Research J (India), Annals of Transplantation (Poland). Doctor Honoris Causa Universita di Genova, Italy (2005).

Awards of the Czech Medical Society-Purkynie Medal, Italian Surgical- Society-Carlo Erba medal, International Society of Lymphology (USA) (1975), National Lymphedema Network USA (2006), Lymphatic Research Foundation NIH (USA) 2006, American Society of Lymphology USA (2007), Polish Academy of Sciences (2006), Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Phlebologie- v Ratschow Medal (2012), Bene Merito Medal-Polish Foreign Ministry-contribution to world medicine (2013), award Wound Healing Society USA (2014), two awards Wound Healing Society USA (2015).

Honorary member of the Society of Polish Surgeons, Polish Transplantation Society, Japanese Surgical Society, Korean Medical Society, Argentinian Medical Society, Italian Society of Lymphology, Brazilian Society of Angiology, Slovak Medical Society, Polish Society of Phlebology, Lymphology Section Polish Society of Phlebology.

Clinical and research interests comprise vascular surgery, transplantation, physiology and surgery of the lymphatic system, and immunology. Published around 600 publications, 7 scientific books among them Peripheral Lymph - formation and immune function (CRC Press, USA, 1985), In Vivo Immune Cell Migration (CRC Press, USA, 1987), Handbook of Microsurgery (CRC Press, USA 1987) and Lymph Stasis - pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment (CRC Press, USA, 1991), Concise compendium of lymphology, (Springer, USA, 2011).(sec edition 2018).

Main scientific contributions include designing and introducing into clinical practice the surgical lympho-venous shunts (1966), discovery of spontaneous lymphatic contractility in humans (1980), proving that bacterial factor is responsible for development of human limb lymphedema (1994), introducing low-dose, long-term penicillin administration for prevention of chronic dermatitis and lymphangitis in Asian countries (1996), detecting the phenomenon of non-specific elimination of cell grafts (1990), preservation of tissues for transplantation in dehydrating sodium chloride (2003), tumor cell mummification for experimental vaccines (2010), method for attenuation of host innate immunity reaction to cell (hepatocyte) transplantation (2010), implantation of artificial “silicone lymphatics” (2014).


Professor Oldřich Eliška

It is with great sadness that we announce Professor Oldřich Eliška, MD, DrSc. died on July 12, 2021 at the age of 86.

Prof. Eliška, physician, educator and scientist, was a major representative of the Prague school of anatomy. He worked in the Anatomical Institute of the 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University Prague, from 1958, concentrating throughout his professional career on the study of the heart and the vascular, particular lymphatic, system. He was a popular teacher of anatomy, his lectures on the anatomy of the heart and the lymphatic system remain unforgettable.

He published over 60 mostly impacted publications and his lifelong experience in the extensive monograph “Lymphology” awarded by the Hlávka Foundation. The extent and comprehensiveness of this book on the lymphatic system are unique in scientific literature worldwide.

Professor Eliška, in addition to being an anatomist and educator, was also a surgeon and a founder of the Czech Lymphology Society of the Czech Medical Association J.E. Purkyně, established on the European Congress held in September 1992 in Prague. He chaired the Society for many years and was an active member of its executive committee until his death.

The extensive scientific erudition and pioneering work of Prof. Eliška in lymphology also led to significant acknowledgement abroad, and he was active for many years both in the European and International Lymphology Societies.

Prof. Eliška has enriched our lives by his scientific knowledge and by endless optimism and sense of humour.

If we keep him in our hearts and minds, he will stay with us forever.


On behalf of the Czech Lymphology Society

Martin Wald, Associate Professor, MD, PhD