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This audio clip from an oral history interview with Josephine Bruegel recorded by the Imperial War Museums on 28 February 1996. In the clip, Josephine talks about qualifying for her ‘MD Czechoslovakia’ while in Britain.

Josephine Bruegel – a short biography.

Josephine Bruegel was born in 1914 in Stráž in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (modern-day Czech Republic). She was a medical student in Prague when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia. She fled to Britain, where she worked as a nurse in London before being evacuated to Cardiff in 1944. After the war, she and her husband moved back to Czechoslovakia, but returned to Britain following the Communist takeover of her homeland in 1948. She continued to practise medicine and was a founder of the National Schizophrenia Society. She died in 2005.


And then…it must have been February or March [1941], the Czech government-in-exile, which came from France, established itself here, and with the Czech army there came about fifty soldiers who were in the same position as I was – that they had not quite finished their medical studies but had done the clinical years, so it was arranged that they and I could finish their studies here. So, we were all put into various universities.


And then came the queer situation that…what the kind of degree to give us. This degree had to be valuable also in Czechoslovakia, because everybody wanted to go back, and didn’t want to do any of the examinations again. So, what happened was, that Oxford University adopted the Prague University, which was closed, so I got this diploma in Oxford in a great kind of glory. It was called MD Czechoslovakia.


Bruegel, Joža, Memoirs [accessed 29 July 2022]

Imperial War Museum, Oral history interview with Josephine Bruegel , 28 February 1996 [accessed 2 August 2022]

Depository: Imperial War Museums.

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