Original Article wrote by Editor Li from Dongguan Daily
On July 9th, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany published an article in Guangzhou’s Wechat public account entitled Wer kennt diesen Ort und seine Geschichte? (Who knows this place and its history?)
The article is illustrated with many old pictures shot during 1930s and 1940s.
It instantly attracts a large amount of attention, especially that of the medical personnel of Dongguan People’s Hospital’s and triggers reminiscence of that time among Dongguan medical community.
What is the connections between the old pictures the German couple has kept for decades and Dongguan People’s Hospital? What kinds of history and memories will these old pictures tell?
（One of the pictures the German couple keep and the owners are marked as above.）
And the story behind these pictures is, this German couple, Otto Hueck and his wife Hedwig Hueck, once were the co-directors of the first German Christian Hospital established in 1888 in Dongguan city.
Otto Hueck and his wife Hedwig Hueck devoted to operate this hospital since 1921 and they instructed the local people with medical skills, nursing skill in particular. They bade their family and friends in homeland farewell and traveled a long way to China, learned to speak fluent Chinese and settled down in China to provide the people in and around Dongguan City with medical service consistently for 30 years.
But this couple left the Christian Hospital and departed China for good in 1951. Ever since then, they failed to hear any news from this hospital.
Despite half a century having past, the Chinese hospital they had worked for over 30 years is still lingering in their mind.
To realized their wishes, The relatives of Otto and Hedwig Hueck contacted the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Guangzhou and told the staff this story. They asked the Consulate General for help by offering the pictures Otto Hueck and Hedwig Hueck keep.
“We want to find out what happened to the hospital and the trained nurses.” said the relatives of Otto and Hedwig Hueck’s.
（An old picture: the German old man with the medical workers in Dongguan at that time.）
Unfortunately, the relatives said that they do not know the exact location of the hospital. From the old diaries of the Huecks’ we get the following descriptions: " The hospital is located along the river outside the city. To get there, you have to leave the city through north gate and cross the canal with a ferry boat. There is a house for women and children as well as a large house for men in which there is also an operating theatre, a pharmacy, a laboratory, polyclinic rooms and a chapel".
And at the end of the article, it writes:“Do you recognize the places or people in the pictures? Do you know what has happened to this hospital since 1951? Share the article with your friends and relatives in Dongguan and let's review this story together! ”
(The above picture is offered by Otto and Hedwig Hueck and people on it are Dongguan medical staff who the old couple have missed for decades.)
The will of the German couple’s was so intense that finally they heard good news from Dongguan medical community.
Upon the article was shared among the Dongguan medical community, it has drawn many attentions, especially those of the medical staff in Dongguan People’s Hospital’s(DPH).
One of the doctors called Ruoyu Zhang working in Dongguan People’s Hospital recognized a certain figure in that picture at first glance.
One of the nurses in the third row is my grandaunt whose name is Weipin Chen. She retired from Dongguan People’s Hospital and passed away in 1999. She was also the wife of a hospital’s veteran practicioner of TCM named Zhichun He”, the doctor pointed out the position of his grandaunt and said.
Then a journalist of Dongguan Daily tried to interview the veteran doctor Zhichun He through the help of DPH but was told by the staff of the hospital that Zhichun He, who is 92 years old now, is too weak to accept an interview.
(Two figures marked by red circle are Ruoyu Zhang’s grandaunt Weipin Chen and her close friend Huiying Hu.)
Ruoyu Zhang also recognized another nurse in the second row, who is a native of Shilong town in Dongguan City and is also a close friend of his grandaunt’s.
He told the journalist that Huiying Hu is at the age of 94 and settles down in Gungzhou City now. He said, “I regard her as my relative and call her grandaunt too”.
He further recognized another doctor sitting in the first row, and he said“this doctor is Ruizhi Ou. He had learned medical skills from a German doctor and he himself is a doctor with excellent medical skills. If my memory is correct, he is the father of a surgical expert from Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital”
(The third figure doctor Ruoyu Zhang recognized is Ruizhi Ou, who was sitting in the middle of the first row and was marked in red circle.)
Those pioneers who worked wholeheartedly in the frontier of Dongguan medical field were remembered by this picture for over seventy years and never grow old.
And all of those stories were brought back to life when the old pictures came into public sights.
（Current Dongguan People's Hospital ）
Among this story, many people fail to notice that Dongguan People’s Hospital plays an important role. It has a history of over one hundred and thirty years and it is among the oldest Western medicine hospitals. It was formerly known as Dongguan Puji Hospital and Dongguan Hospital.
Dongguan Puji Hospital was established in 1888, the fourteenth year of emperor Guangxu’s reign. And Dongguan Hospital was built in 1930.
The record of Dongguan People’s Hospital reveals that German Christian Ritual Association established Dongguan Puji Hospital at Anshun Lane, Guancheng Street and it was equipped with out-patient department, in-patient department and had 25 beds.
Among the old pictures offered by the couple, there is one capturing the medical staff working in Zhongluan Tuberculosis House, which was built with 30,000 yuan donated by the wife of a famous Chinese doctor Zhongluan Li’s.
(Picture offered by the old couple, which captured a moment of their working scene.)
In the first place, the Western medicine was not accepted by Dongguan citizens because they had worry on this foreign thing and their disinclination grew stronger when they knew that Western surgeons incise patients’s body.
At the beginning, those who had acute diseases and could not afford to see Chinese physicians were forced to be the first kind of patients to have surgeries. And gradually the patients realized that Western medicine was effective treatment as well.
Ever since then, more and more Dongguan people accepted Western medicine and go to see the doctors. With more and more patients and limited spaces in the in-patient department, Rhenish Missionary Society, German living in China, Enlightened gentleman and squires raised funds together to build a new hospital covering an area of 14,000 square meters in Maili Chau.
In 1907, Dongguan Puji Hospital, with more than 40 beds, officially relocated in Maili Chau. The relocated hospital was equipped with female and male in-patient building, operation room, laboratory, nursing room, dispensary and dean and staff dormitory.
This site later became one of the in-patient departments of Dongguan People’s Hospital’s in Shaditang, Dongguan city.
Because of the superior quality and the typical red-walls-and-green-tiles Western features, local people called this new hospital“Red Building Hospital” and this name remains till today in spite of many changes and many Dongguan native prefer to refer DPH as Red Building Hospital.
Later Dongguan People’s Hospital relocated again and name its main building as Wansha New Hospital. The former site of the hospital at Shaditang had rebuilt into the Ninth People’s Hospital.
The past history and stories behind it have come to life again and echo with the present people and things as the the old pictures come into people’ sight. And the old German couple must be delighted to know the hospital’s developing history.
In the email it sent to Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Guangzhou, Dongguan People’s Hospital wrote:
The experiences Otto Hueck and his wife Hedwig Hueck described during 1921 and 1951 and the places in the pictures totally match the records took down by our hospital.
And the hospital directors are surprised and honored to see the clue of the two pioneers who had made huge contributions to Dongguan’s medical service and to the development of Dongguan People’s Hospital.
We can not wait to share the achievements Dongguan People’s Hospital has made in the past decades with the German founders. And we hope that we can get in touch with the relatives of Mr. Otto Hueck and his wife Hedwig Hueck’s again.
We intend to sincerely invite them to visit Dongguan, attend the“Red Building Art Festival” Ceremony and witness the special moment of Dongguan People’s Hospital together.
To be continued...