Gustawa Stendig-Lindberg was a graduate of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland and of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, a physician and scientist, and an Associate Visiting Professor of the Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel.
A pioneer in research on magnesium in medicine and biology since 1967, she authored over a 100 medical publications and gave lectures at Symposiums & Conferences around the world including several presentations at the Gordon Conferences in USA, and held guest and consultant appointments at Harvard University, Boston, MA.
Moreover, she published hundreds of poems in four languages (Polish, English, Swedish and Hebrew) in journals worldwide and four collections of poetry.
Born in Krakow, Poland to Felicia Infeld-Stendig, an essayist, sociologist and freelance journalist, descendent of Rabbi Akiva Eger ("The Gaon of Vilna") and Jacob Stendig, an architect. Gustawa had an inspiring childhood as her mother, who had mastered eight languages including Esperanto, was actively involved in investigating women’s social issues within Jewish society as well as other communities of the world, and was a fervent and outspoken anti-nazi. Her aunt, Bronia Infeld, a teacher, founded the New School in Krakow and her uncle, Leopold Infeld, a physician worked with Albert Einstein in Princeton. Thus, Gustawa had outstanding figures in her life and began writing poetry in her early childhood.
Between 1941 and 1943, in the Ghetto of Krakow, Gustawa wrote many poems which she shared with fellow poets. During this period she was with her mother who taught her English and continued to be an infallible source of motivation during such arduous and uncertain times.
"I owe everything to my mother who not only taught me integrity, civil courage and the love of knowledge, but also saved my life in the concentration camp, Bergen Belsen, where she herself died on May 2nd 1945."
At the end of the war Gustawa arrived in Sweden and went to the British Isles the following year. In 1946 she took up studying medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland where she received her medical degree along with an Honours in Psychology and a Prize in Medicine. She was registered as a qualified medical doctor in the Irish and British Medical Register in 1952 and practiced in London General Hospitals in Departments of Medicine and Surgery as House Surgeon and House Physician.
She returned to settle in Sweden in 1953 where she married Per Ola Lindberg, a music teacher with whom she had two daughters. Initially permitted only locum tenens posts, due to restrictions of Swedish medical laws, she worked in: Medicine, Geriatrics, Psychiatry, Infectious Diseases, Surgery and Medical Rehabilitation. In 1958 she began nostrification in all clinical subjects at the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm where she graduated cum laude, was awarded a medical degree and qualified as a Registered Swedish medical doctor in 1961. Gustawa dedicated her Doctoral Dissertation to Magnesium entitled: "Magnesium - An Essential Metal. Extra-cellular and intracellular studies in various disease population." Published in 4 different papers.
"Magnesium is an essential metal that is indispensable in cellular metabolism. It's arch-importance is not yet sufficiently recognised."
Due to a vast deficit in psychiatrists, Dr. Stendig-Lindberg devoted much of her professional time to Psychiatry, Alcohol Diseases, Neurology and Internal Medicine, Basic Sciences as well as Work Assessment and Medical Rehabilitation during which time she expanded her research on "magnesium" and its inter-connected effects within various pathologies as well as focusing on the rehabilitation of the back.
In 1975 she founded the International Organization against Nuclear Technology together with her daughter Miriam who was a founder member of the Committee "Värna on Världen" which worked for the freeze of the nuclear arms race and against nuclear technology proliferation, both at home and abroad.
While holding an appointment as Deputy Head of the Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, she became a research fellow at the Karolinska Institute in 1975 which permitted her to work abroad as visiting researcher. She subsequently arrived in Israel in 1976 as a Research Fellow to work in collaboration with a scientist at the Sackler School of Medicine Dept. of Cell Biology and Histology at Tel Aviv University, where she became a Visiting Professor in 1977 and has been an Associate Visiting Professor at the Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology since 1982.
She helped in funding the Pain Clinic at Ichilov Hospital, Tel Aviv, of which she was Chief Physician and in 1979 became a Consultant in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation for many years. In 1987 she founded and directed the Back Rehabilitation Clinic, also at Ichilov Hospital, whilst continuing her "research on magnesium" as an Independent Scientist.
Professor Stendig-Lindberg was a Member of the Scientific Committee for the International Symposia on Magnesium since 1981 and in the year 2000 she founded the "Israel Society for Magnesium Research in Biology and Medicine", of which she is co-president.
In 1984 she published her first collection of poems in Polish, "Dokumenty", an anthology of works from 1941 ~1947. Three more collections followed in Swedish, English and Hebrew. [see poetry page]
To honour the memory of her daughter ~ a poet who died at the age of eighteen ~ she established the Miriam Felicia Lindberg Memorial Foundation in 1976 and granted biannually the "Miriam Lindberg Israel Poetry for Peace Prize". The only one in Israel, it is aimed at supporting Peace & Poetry in the spirit of Miriam and sponsoring excellence in art. The winners are announced at the International Congress of poets (WCP) under the auspices of the American Academy of Arts & Culture (WAAC).
"Poetry is probably the most profound of arts: the emotions which come from the deepest layer of our heart and the insights from the depth of our consciousness emerge together to be disciplined and illuminated by the mind. Although this is true of all art, the tool of poetry is the word and the word preceded creation."
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