Professor Prywes was the
founding dean of BGU's medical school and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Born
in Poland in 1914, he studied medicine in Paris and in Warsaw, and during the
Second World War served as a medical officer in the Polish army. He was
subsequently exiled to a gulag in Siberia, where he served as a physician and
surgeon responsible for the health of some 28,000 prisoners. After the war,
Prywes went to Paris, where he joined the medical management of the Jewish
health organization OSE. In this capacity, he initiated and led the program to
eradicate tuberculosis, trachoma and ringworm in North African Jewish
communities during 1947-1951.
From 1951, Professor Prywes devoted himself to medical education
and was one of the founders of Israel's first medical school, the Hadassah medical
school at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was subsequently
appointed deputy dean for medical education. Professor Prywes was the first
president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, serving between 1969 and 1974,
as well as one of the founders of the medical school and its first Dean.
In recognition of his international contributions, the French
Government awarded him the title of Chevalier de Légion d'Honneur. This was the first of many prizes Prywes received, culminating
in Israel's highest honor, the Israel Prize, awarded to him in 1990 for his
lifelong contribution to medical education. Prywes also founded the Israel Journal of Medical Sciences and was the
Chief Editor until his death.