Lives of the fellows

Arthur Landau

b.29 February 1908 d.28 September 1990
MB ChB Cape Town(1930) MRCP(1934) FRCP(1959) Hon FACP(1975) Hon FRACS(1977) Hon FRCPS Glas(1978) Hon FCM(SA)(1981)

Arthur Landau was born in Montagu, South Africa, the son of Simon Landau, a merchant, and his wife Helena née Sieradski. He was educated at the South African College School, matriculating first class at the age of 16. He then went on to study medicine at the University of Cape Town, his clinicals being undertaken at the Somerset Hospital He obtained distinctions in the first, second, third and final professional examinations and was awarded the degree with honours, receiving the University Council gold medal and scholarship for the most distinguished graduate. An achievement which cannot be surpassed and is seldom equalled.

His first house position at the Somerset Hospital was under the guidance of A W Falconer, internal medicine, and A R McLachlan, surgery. Following his internship he moved to London where he continued his postgraduate studies, first as house surgeon at the Hampstead General Hospital and as clinical assistant at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square. In 1934 he was appointed house physician and RMO at the Brompton Hospital and that same year he obtained his membership of the College. Subsequently, having been awarded the Dorothy Temple-Cross research fellowship, he went to the United States to further his studies in tuberculosis at the Saranac Lake and Trudeau Sanatorium.

On his return to Cape Town he was appointed registrar at the New Somerset Hospital and the Groote Schuur Hospital, 1936-39. He was consultant physician to the Valkenberg Mental Hospital 1939-56 and to the Cape Jewish Aged Home from 1940-75. He combined private Practice with service to the Groote Schuur Hospital and to the University of Cape Town as part-time physician, lecturer, and subsequently senior lecturer. From 1960-73 he was head of a firm in the department of medicine at the Somerset Hospital and subsequently at the Groote Schuur. After retirement from the headship he continued to teach medical and dental students on a regular basis. Altogether, he served the University of Cape Town department of medicine for some 52 years.

Arthur Landau was involved in many professional activities. He served the Medical Association of South Africa with distinction; he was a federal councillor 1951-61 and president of the Cape Western branch in 1951. He was a founder member of the special committee appointed by the federal council of MASA to establish the College of Physicians and Surgeons of South Africa, which later became the College of Medicine of South Africa. He served the College as a council member from 1960-75 and for the last three years was its president. In 1981 the College Council elected him to the honorary fellowship.

He also served as a member of the board of governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1947 and the University made him an honorary fellow in 1980.

Arthur Landeau married Queenie East in 1937 and they had a son and two daughters. It was an extremely happy marriage; they had a very close relationship and Queenie supported and encouraged him in everything he did. His interests outside medicine included sporting activities - boxing, cricket, golf, bowls, swimming - and music. He was also a numismatist. He was a gentle, humane and loveable man, described by a colleague as ‘.. . a gentleman to his finger tips’.

In 1988 the College of Medicine of South Africa announced the inauguration of the Arthur Landau Lecture in the College’s faculty of medicine, made possible by generous donations from many colleagues and friends. The inaugural lecture was delivered in July 1990, entitled ‘Asthma and ethics: from Maimonides to modernity’ and published in the October 1990 issue of the Transactions of the College.

S R Benatar

[Trans.,College of Medicine, S.Africa,July-Dec 1981,132-35;1988,91;1990,136]

(Volume IX, page 301)

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