Richard Balthasar Wasicky, Prof. Dr.

6.2.1884 – 9.8.1970
born in Teschen | Český Těšín, Czech Republic died in São Paulo, Brazil


Ehrung Titel Datierung Fakultät
Honorary Doctorate Dr. phil. h.c. 1953/54 Faculty of Philosophy


Dean Faculty of Medicine 1924/25
Dean Faculty of Medicine 1925/26

Wasicky, the son of a railroad employee, attended the Albrecht secondary school in Teschen in Silesia and then studied pharmaceutics at the University of Vienna. He obtained his diploma in 1906 and subsequently began studying medicine. In 1911 he received his doctoral degree. Three years later he habilitated for pharmacology, after which he became an associate professor and chairman of the pharmacognostical institute and then a full professor in 1921. From 1924 until 1926 he was dean of the medical faculty. During his work at the University of Vienna he declined calls to professorships for pharmacology and pharmacognosy in Belgrade (1921) as well as to a professorship for pharmacognosy in Lviv.

After Austria’s “Anschluss” to the German Reich - the ministry of education suspended him as of April 22nd, 1938 - Wasicky emigrated to Switzerland in 1938 and from there to Paris. According to “Vertriebene Pharmazie”, he did not make this decision “due to a potential Jewish heritage”, Mühlberger, however, posits that Wasicky was forcibly retired for “racial” reasons. According to Prof. Dr. Frank Leimkugel Richard Wasicky probably fled because of the descent of his wife Marianne (nee Joachimovits) - her brother, the lecturer Robert Joachimovits also lost his position at the University of Vienna in 1938. In Paris, Wasicky founded the exile organization “L’Association pour la liberation d L’Autriche”, which wanted to influence the political situation in Austria. When these efforts failed, he tried to found an “Office Autrichien” in the framework of the “Aktion Wasicky”. These plans did not come to fruition. He was, however, responsible for the publication of the journal “Freies Österreich - La libre Autriche”, whose first issue was published in May 1940 and in which also Julius Deutsch and Franz Werfel, among others, wrote articles.

In 1941 Wasicky accepted a call to the University of Sao Paolo, where he acted as head of the institute and professor for experimental pharmacognosy at the faculty for odontology and pharmaceutics, as well as heading the institute for pharmacognosy. During the war he had to work on the pharmacological analysis of insecticides and molluscicides. He did not return to Vienna after the end of the war, even though he had signaled his willingness. Beginning in 1954 he worked as professor and director of the institute for biochemistry at the University of Rio Grande do Sul in Santa Maria. In that same year - Wasicky turned 70 years old - the University of Vienna conferred him with an honorary doctorate for philosophy, which he himself thought to be “one of the highest academic honors in all cultural circles of our planet”.

In his studies, Wasicky mainly dedicated himself to insecticides, rodenticides, Brazilian medicinal plants and poisonous plants as well as the biological analysis of medicinal substances. His most important work is considered to be the “Lehrbuch der Physiopharmakognosie” (2 volumes, 1929-32).

Wasicky had an honorary doctorate of the Sorbonne (1937), was bearer of the Gold Hanbury Medal for original research in the natural history and chemistry of drugs (1937), and the Decoration of Honor for Science and Art. He also was an honorary member of the Society of Doctors in Vienna and Officer de la Legion d’honeur as well as Officer de la Sante publique (1949). Before the “Anschluss” he had been chairman of the Medicinal Plant Committee of the state and a full member of the Oberster Sanitätsrat (Supreme Medical Council).

Archiv der Universität Wien, Medizinische Fakultät, Personalakt 542 und Personalakt 3669. | Archiv der Universität Wien, Rektoratsakten GZ 677-1937/38. | Österreichisches Staatsarchiv/Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv, Bestand Unterricht, Personalakt Wasicky.

Andreas Huber

Zuletzt aktualisiert am 02/27/24