1887

n Historia - Dr. Otto Gottlob Schnitter : van skeeps- en mynarts tot boeredokter

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Abstract


Dr Otto Gottlob Schnitter was born in Germany where he received a traditional Prussian education. He qualified as a medical doctor but did not practice in Germany on a permanent basis. His restless nature and negative experience at home after the death of his father drove him on journeys to four continents. He intended settling in Australia, but left that country after a short stay and ended up in Johannesburg. He never returned to Germany but stayed in contact with his relatives there. Letters written by them to him throws some light on this enigmatic German immigrant who never applied for South African citizenship.
Schnitter spent the last and most important part of his career as a rural doctor on the Transvaal Highveld. After the Anglo Boer War, during which he treated the ill and wounded on the Boer side, he married an Afrikaans girl and settled on a farm. He suffered badly from epileptic attacks, but continued to work as doctor right up to his death in an accident. His wife and two young sons outlived him. His wife remarried, but her second husband mistreated her sons. Both nevertheless achieved respectable positions in later life.

Dr. Otto Gottlob Schnitter is in Duitsland gebore waar hy 'n eg-Pruisiese opvoeding gehad het. Aanvanklik het hy hom as mediese dokter bekwaam, maar sy rustelose gees en klaarblyklike ongelukkige kinderjare het hom tot 'n swerwerslewe gedryf. Hy het vier kontinente besoek en dit oorweeg om hom in Australië te vestig, maar dit was nie so bestem nie. Sy pad het uiteindelik na Suid-Afrika gelei waar hy as een van die weinige universiteitsopgeleide dokters in die ZAR ten einde laaste rus en vrede op die Oos-Transvaalse Hoëveld gevind het. Daar is hy met 'n Afrikanernooi getroud en sodoende het hy hom volkome met die plattelandse Afrikanerlewe vereenselwig.


Dr. Schnitter het as mediese arts 'n waardevolle diens aan die boeregemeenskap gelewer, ondanks die feit dat hy aan epilepsie gelei het. Dit was veral tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog wat sy dienste aan die Boerekommando's onmisbaar was. Na die oorlog het mense van heinde en verre gekom om deur hom behandel te word, en ook het hy self nie geskroom om soms ver te reis ten einde sy pasiënte te besoek nie. Sy taak was onvoltooid toe 'n botsing teen 'n trein sy lewe geëis het. Sy vrou en twee seuntjies het hom oorleef. Sy is weer getroud. Haar man het haar en Schnitter se seuns stief behandel. Beide het nogtans in hulle latere loopbaan senior posisies beklee.

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/content/hist/40/1/EJC37845
1995-08-01
2016-12-04
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