Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

The Physician of Emperor Menelik

The Institute of Ethiopian Studies and the Goethe Institute paid homage to the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II and his personal physician Dr. Max Steinkühler with a symposium followed by an exhibition that opened on Monday June 18 2012.
The special symposium led by Prof. Shiferaw Bekele from Addis Ababa University and Dr. Wolbert Smidt from Mekelle University, analyzed and discussed papers that were presented on the relations between Ethiopia and Germany in the first decades of the 20th century and German experts at Meneli k’s court in the early 20th century.
“The paper will show not only the relationship between Germany and Ethiopia but it will also show the history of modern medicine here,” stated Shiferaw Bekele.
In 1909 Menelik II asked the German government for help in order to modernize his country. The German Emperor Wilhelm II sent in a group of specialists, including Dr. Max Steinkühler, who later became Menelik’s personal physician. At that time Menelik II was seriously ill and the German doctor’s treatments seemed to be working, but suddenly the emperor’s health took a turn for the worse. There was a controversial idea that Menelik was poisoned .
This controversy lived on until today but officially it was written that Menelik suffered a massive stroke on October 27, 1909 and died a year later. The debate surrounding his death though has been in people’s hearts. That was one of the issues one of the papers presented at the event focused on. The presentation concluded that it couldn’t have been poison.
The event also had an exhibition that showcased photos, a diary, travel reports and documents on the emperor’s health which was curated by Girma Fisseha. The exhibition runs until 30th June 2012 during the regular opening hours of the Addis Ababa University Institute of Ethiopian Studies.