1928 - 2020
On December 9, 2020, Hans-Martin Weinmann passed away unexpectedly at his home in Straßlach-Dingharting in the district of Munich. He was not only a pioneer of German neuropediatrics and, among other things, co-founder of the Königsteiner Arbeitskreis für Epileptologie (an expert group of German speaking epileptologists), but also a contemporary witness par excellence with an extraordinary musical and creative streak.
Hans-Martin Weinmann was born in Kulmbach, Upper Franconia, near Bayreuth. In his second year of life, his parents moved to Munich. There he attended the Luitpold Gymnasium, a traditional Munich school founded in 1891. The difference between this so-called "Oberrealschule" and the then widespread humanistic grammar schools was that they were intended to prepare pupils more directly for the real modern professional world through the study of modern foreign languages and the natural sciences. In Hans-Martin Weinmann's case, the unusual thing was that he obviously benefited from the advantages of the new type of school, but later thought and acted more as if he had been to a humanistic grammar school.
The family lived on Maximilians Street in the center of Munich, the "city of the movement" at that time. At the age of 10, he had to witness how the Jewish synagogue in the directly neighboring Herzog-Rudolf street was set on fire during the "Reichs-Pogromnacht" and passers-by obstructed the fire department's extinguishing efforts by cutting their hoses.
In the middle of the Second World War, his membership in the so-called Munich Radio Playgroup of musically gifted children and young people with performances in the then "Odeon" concert hall, among other places, had a special influence on the young Hans-Martin. Concerts for wounded soldiers in military hospitals with trips to Salzburg and even to Odessa were also part of it (his father fell as a soldier in Russia in 1943). The playgroup was a refuge for those who considered the usual service in the Hitler Youth to be unimaginative and unproductive, i.e. at best a waste of time. There he met his future wife when he was still a teenager.
The city of Munich had a special influence on Hans-Martin Weinmann. He was also a long-time member of the "Munich Ancient Times Association" and "Bavarian Club", founded in 1864. His very active membership was evident not least in his legendary city tours in the footsteps of Thomas Mann, of Art Nouveau houses or important places of the National Socialism in Munich. Even after his retirement and until recently, his thematic city tours on the occasion of international conferences and hospital-internal outings were regularly fascinating. Many of his humorous anecdotes from his wealth of knowledge about Munich's history are still gladly retold. He was a walking encyclopedia not only for Bavarian regional and cultural history.
Hans-Martin Weinmann completed his medical studies at the Technical University (TU) of Munich, graduating with a doctorate in 1953. As a young physician, he received sound basic surgical-internal medicine training at the hospital in Hausham am Schliersee in Upper Bavaria. In 1955, he joined the Schwabing Children's Hospital, a joint institution of the Klinikum rechts der Isar of the TU and the Schwabing Hospital, where he established a neuropediatric ward focusing on epilepsy and systemic diseases. In addition, he established an EEG department, a seizure outpatient clinic and later a university outpatient clinic.
His habilitation (Ph.D. thesis) at the Technical University of Munich in 1969 was mainly done in the Netherlands with the Austrian anthropologist, zoologist and physician Heinz Prechtl (1927 - 2014), who was a friend of his, at his Institute for Developmental Neurology at the Neurological University Hospital Groningen. In 1975 Hans-Martin Weinmann was appointed associate professor. He became senior consultant and later extraordinarius in Schwabing. From 1978 to 1983 he was acting director of the Children's Hospital at the TU of Munich, and for many years he was a member of the university's faculty council.
Hans Martin Weinmann's scientific commitment is reflected in his more than 250 scientific publications; pediatric epileptology and electroencephalography were at the very center of his interests. As a neuropediatrician and pediatric epileptologist of the first hour he became an internationally recognized expert, with best relations also to France and other countries. Thus, he wrote papers in the French-language "Revue Neurologique" (2) or together with John Freeman (1933 - 2014) from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore (3).
In the first decades after World War II, he was a pioneer of neuropediatrics, which was only slowly developing in Germany. After Dieter Scheffner (1930 - 2009), Rolf Kruse (1928 - 2010), Christian Lipinski (1939 - 2016) and Hermann Doose (1927 - 2018), who died earlier, Hans-Martin Weinmann was the last still living "founding father" of the "Königsteiner Arbeitskreis" of neuropediatricians interested in epileptology and later also neurologists, established in 1974, with meetings held annually since 1975, usually at the end of February, first in Königstein, then nearby in the Taunus, and most recently in 2016-18 in Fulda. The recommendations developed at these meetings, especially the EEG atlas "Ableitung und Beschreibung des kindlichen EEG" (Derivation and Description of the Child's EEG), published in the second edition under his sole leadership, received much attention (4,5). Weinmann also published other important papers and another book on EEG (6). For decades he was also a speaker at the international pediatric congress in Brixen with the topic "EEG in children".
Also significant for him was a teaching assignment for medical propaedeutics at the Chair of Special Education for the training of special educators at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. He recognized very early on that early and interdisciplinary support is useful for children with disabilities. Thus he was co-founder of the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft für interdisziplinäre Frühförderung" (Working group for interdisciplinary early support) and co-founder of the journal "Interdisziplinäre Frühförderung" (Interdiciplinaty Early Support). He was also involved in the development of preventive examinations for children until they became a standard benefit of the health insurance funds. Hans -Martin Weinmann was also involved in the establishment of a national neuropediatric network and in the history of the neuropediatric center in Vogtareuth. He contributed decisively to the fact that Michael Laub (1946 - 1997), who unfortunately died at an early age and was well versed in epileptology, became the first chief physician of this clinic in 1985.
Hans-Martin Weinmann received numerous awards and honors for his commitment. For example, he was (since 1998) an honorary member of the German Society for Epileptology and a corresponding member of the Swiss Epilepsy League, and also an honorary member of the German Society for Clinical Neurophysiology (DGKN, the former EEG Society, of which he was secretary and also president for many years), and the Society for Neuropediatrics. The Professional Association of Pediatricians and Adolescents awarded him the Meinhard von Pfaundler Medal in 2002, and he was honored with the "Golden Electrode" for his services to the training of Medical-technical assistants. In addition, he received the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon.
Professor Albert Scharf, former director of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation, has characterized Hans-Martin Weinmann as a long-time member of the "Bavarian Club" as a person as follows: "amiable, smart, clever, modest and sociable". We have nothing to add to this. Our thoughts are with his wife Waltraud ("Traudl") and daughters Cornelia, Angelika and Babette. We will miss him very much, but will not lose him from our memories!
Franz Staudt, Sybille Kannewischer, Hansjörg Schneble, Soheyl Noachtar, and Günter Krämer
1) Staudt F (2017) Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Weinmann – Ein Pionier und Zeitzeuge. Zum 90. Geburtstag. Neuropädiatrie in Klinik und Praxis 16: 2–3
2) Weinmann HM (1967) Le traitement des crises infantiles par le mogadon. Rev Neurol (Paris) 117: 152–155
3) Freeman JM, Vining EPG, Weinmann HM (1989) Seizures and epilepsy. In: Eichenwald HF, Ströder J, Mietens C, eds. Current Therapy in Pediatrics 2. Philadelphia, B. C. Decker: 801–816; Freeman JM, Vining EPG, Weinmann HM (1993) Seizures and epilepsy. In: Eichenwald HF, Ströder J, Ginsburg CM, eds. Pediatric Therapy. Third edition. St. Louis, MI, C. V. Mosby: 907–924
4) Doose H, Kruse R, Lipinski C, Scheffner D, Weinmann H-M, Hrsg (1979) Beiträge zur Klassifikation und medikamentösen Therapie epileptischer Anfälle. Sitzungsberichte des Arbeitskreises für Epileptologie. Hamburg, Desitin Werk Carl Klinke GmbH (Druck: Leck, Clausen & Bosse
5) Kruse R, Scheffner D, Weinmann H-M, Redaktion (ca. 1970) Arbeitskreis für pädiatrische klinische Elektroencephalographie. Ableitung und Beschreibung des kindlichen EEG. Hamburg, Desitin Werk Carl Klinke GmbH ohne Jahr (ca. 1970); letzte Auflage: Weinmann H-M, Redaktionelle Leitung (1986) Ableitung und Beschreibung des kindlichen EEG. 2. Auflage. München – Bern – Wien – San Francisco, W. Zuckschwerdt
6) Weinmann H-M, Hrsg (1987) Zugang zum Verständnis höherer Hirnfunktionen durch das EEG. München – San Francisco, W. Zuckschwerdt
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