Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology

ISSN (on-line): 1806-3756 | ISSN (printed): 1806-3713


Publication continuous and bimonthly

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Current Issue: 2006 - Volume 32 - Number 1 (January/February)


Master Rosemberg

Mestre Rosemberg


Affonso Berardinelli Tarantino




On June 11th, 2005, during the V Brazilian Congress on Asthma, held in Rio de Janeiro, I greeted José Rosemberg and handed him the Excellence in Pulmonology Award, bestowed by the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). This award is sponsored by the head of the Pulmonology department, Academic Professor J. M. Jansen. Today, on the week of Rosemberg's decease, I repeat my words.

However, to memorialize Rosemberg, only the words of W. Bernardinelli will do, and I do not tire of quoting them: "Mother earth of trees and flowers will welcome your body, but your mind will not turn to ashes, it will turn to light. Your heart will not turn to dust but to a sheltering tree."
You, who lived your life sharing kindness and knowledge, endlessly sharing, will live in the flowers, in the winds and in our memories - he who lived in the hearts of others does not die. He who lives in the hearts of others does not die.

In the first editions of our Doenças Pulmonares (Pulmonary Diseases), in the chapter on tuberculosis, the name Rosemberg came always after ours; in the successive editions it appeared beside mine, in the latest it came first, and in future editions it will surely stand alone. I always placed myself at his side, in the place of honor, as his second. Being second to Rosemberg is to win today the Nobel Prize of tomorrow. What I feel for José Rosemberg is something of a simulacrum of my own self-envy. It is not easy to explain, it is a biblical feeling that withholds nothing but adds affection and much admiration.

Rosemberg displayed chronic intelligence with outbursts of genius: intelligence in a state of grace. Regarding his innumerable, well-deserved, titles in his specialty, I vehemently refuse to list them, since they are well and widely known, and I am thus respecting the intrinsic quality of a good orator, brevity.

Rosemberg, for those who do not know, had another quality, he was my fellow townsman: we were born in S. José dos Campos, in the Paraíba Valley... in the sweet valley of this quiet river, with its fresh air and gentle sunshine, I spent the days of my best age, I played away the days I now miss the most...

He predicted, half a century beforehand, the place that would be reserved for BCG, he, the most beloved disciple of Arlindo de Assis, in the company of São Maragão - beatified by me in life, in pectore, as such. Both carried themselves as two crusaders in a holy war in the service of BCG. I followed this battle, although I was more of a spectator. Rosemberg declared another kind of war in the continent, against smoking - one need only see the laurels he was and is receiving as a symbol of the antismoking movement in Brazil.

I wish I were not feeling so emotional, so that I could tell you more about Rosemberg - although I would not like to be as indifferent as Minister Disraeli, who yawned repeatedly while addressing none other than the English parliament.

Actually, today I feel, here and now, as if I were being awarded the Master Aloysio de Paula Prize for the second time. I would feel irreconcilably frustrated if I were not the one here to greet you, my dear! Once again, I owe this honor to my personal friend Jansen, and this title has enriched my résumé since the beginning of the year.

What of his dignified wife, Professor Ana, will you not mention her? Yes, I will. On one of the last occasions when Rosemberg was at our home, my wife, Neusa, in a sudden display of indiscretion, came off with the comment, "Of all of you confirmed octogenarians, Rosemberg is undoubtedly the youngest-looking." Mind you, there were a few 'adolescent' sexagenarians in that group. His marriage to Doctor Ana helped him achieve the miracle of eternal youth.

Finally, if I had to carry Rosemberg to this place in my arms and were asked, "Is he heavy?", I would immediately answer, "No, he's my brother."

Affonso Berardinelli Tarantino
Member of the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine



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