Elsevier, an information analytics company specializing in science and health, has announced that it has donated original drawings and other materials of the famous Pernkopf Atlas of Anatomy from its assets to the collections of the Medical University of Vienna (Josephinum). Additionally, Elsevier is funding the digitization, indexing and cataloguing of the holdings with a sum of 30,000 euros. The journal Annals of Anatomy has covered a paper on this topic in its latest issue.
Eduard Pernkopf (1888-1955) headed the second anatomical institute in 1933. He became dean of the medical faculty in 1938 and rector of the University of Vienna in 1943. Pernkopf achieved worldwide fame with his anatomical atlas. The atlas continues to be regarded by many as a standard work.
In 1998, a team of experts at the University of Vienna responded to an international request for a historical re-evaluation of Plenkovov's Atlas and established that executed victims of Nazi justice probably served as models for the anatomical drawings. The anatomical institute in Vienna received dead bodies of no less than 1,377 executed individuals in total, including several members of the resistance against the Nazi regime.
Copyright and original images of the Atlas were transferred to Elsevier in 2003. In accordance with Elsevier's ethical and commercial standards, the printing and licensing of this Atlas and its images has been discontinued.
The preserved drawings and copies of the Pernkopf Atlas will be returned to their place of origin as part of the donation agreement between Elsevier and the Medical University of Vienna, signed in December 2019. The transfer to the Josephinum provides professional archiving, conservation and digitization, as well as accessibility, especially for historical research.
The donation was made with the significant participation of Dr. Sabine Hildebrandt, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Harvard, who provided advice based on her many years of expertise.Click here to read the original press release.