The outstanding Norwegian psychiatrist and humanist was born on December 12th, 1912 in Lomnice u Tišnova. He spent his childhood in Lomnice and Pohořelice; after graduating from Jewish grammar school in Brno, he studied medicine at Masaryk University.
Before his emigration to Norway he cooperated actively with the Odd Nansen Foundation, which managed to take several dozen Jewish children and adults to Norway.
In Norway he worked as a doctor. In 1942, he was arrested, and in 1943, he was deported to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where he was employed as a prison doctor – among others, he saved Elie Wiesel’s life. After the liberation, which came while he was in Buchenwald, he returned to Norway, where he became one of the most renowned psychiatrists. His most significant contribution lies in his studies in the field of victimology; thanks to him the diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder and permanent personality disorder as a result of excessive stress were introduced, thanks to which many war victims were entitled to compensation.
Leo Eitinger engaged in the fight for human dignity, against xenophobia and racism throughout his life. In Norway Eitinger is perceived as a symbol of the highest human values.
His authority is best proved by the Leo and Lisl Eitinger Award, which is given annually by the University of Oslo to scientists promoting human rights.
Leo Eitinger was the commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav; he was awarded this order by the Norwegian king for great contributions in the field of medicine.
Leo Eitinger died on October 15th, 1996 in Oslo.