In Memoriam Rainer Engel, MD, FACS (1933-2018)

23 January 2018

Rainer Engel, a very good friend and an active expert of the History Office of the EAU passed away on 6th January 2018.

Born the third of nine children near Cologne, Germany, in 1933 his early years were heavily influenced by World War II: bombings, ruins and marching troops. He went to medical school at the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelm Universität in Bonn, which at that time was the provisional  capital of Germany.

After his exams he travelled through the US for 6 months and decided to live in this country. He married  Dorothy, a young  nurse, and after two years both went back to the United States. In 1970 Rainer finished his urology residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and became chief resident. William W. Scott, MD, was his professor throughout his residency. He practiced at both Johns Hopkins and Union Memorial and also Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Baltimore City Hospital and joined the AUA in 1976.

In 1993 he was officially approved by the AUA as curator of the Didusch Museum but continued to teach at Johns Hopkins. At the same time he coordinated and organized the museum, prepared and executed exhibits on the history of urology and travelled around the world gathering artifacts for the Didusch collection. Dorothy, his wonderful wife, shared his plans and worked with him to make the museum great and one of the most interesting medical museums in the world.

The AUA awarded him the William P. Didusch Art and History Award in 1996 and honorary membership to the AUA in 2006. Both Rainer and Dorothy were honored by the AUA Board with an  appreciation award in 2004 for their work in rebuilding the museum at the new AUA Headquarters.

During all these years he did not lose his contacts in Europe, and as he spoke fluent German he had also many contacts with the museum and archives of the German Urological Association (DGU) first in Düren, later in Düsseldorf. During his annual trip to Europe he would from 1996 have contact with and attend the meetings of the starting Historical Committee of the EAU (today History Office). He officially became an expert of this EAU Committee in 1999. He attended all of the annual meetings of his European friends interested in the history and the development of urology. He was the ideal connection between the AUA and EUA urological historical offices and contributed a lot in our collaboration.

His first publication in the De Historia Urologiae Europaeae was in Volume 8: “Europe’s Influence on American Urology in the 19th century” (2001).

In November 2008, he organized the 4th International Congress on the History of Urology at the Didusch Museum in Linthicum, Maryland, USA, which was one of the most exciting and interesting meetings on the history of Urology.

Rainer Engel was fervent and ardent in his job as a curator, he was a very competent urologist and an excellent historian. He brought people from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean together in their common urological history. He was also an excellent speaker and an organizer with a very warm heart. He was really a very good friend. We will miss him.

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