Charles Emile Benjamins: Introduction
Charles Emile Benjamins, 1873-1940, was a man of many talents. He was an acknowledged specialist for Ear, Nose and Throat diseases (Oto- Rhino Laryngology-ORL), professor, medical researcher and pioneer in surgery. He was also a gifted pianist and composer, a skilled photographer, a tireless traveler and a specialist in health issues related to swimming. Above all he was an amiable person, with a great interest in and compassion for his fellow man, an inspiring teacher and a clever organizer who easily mobilized people.

A major source for bio data of Charles Emile’s life is a biographic note on the family Benjamins Sorg, prepared in 1933 by his mother Frederika Johanna Sorg. Her note is based on entries from her diaries that cover most of her life. Studying her note one realizes that she was a systematic and educated observer of her son’s life. Her note with remarks by her grandchildren is attached as annex no 1.

The many stories told by Christina Catharina Hazenberg to her seven grandchildren about her life with grandfather formed another important source of information. Grandmother always enjoyed telling her life experiences to her grandchildren and others till she passed away in 1976 at the age of nearly 100 years.

Information on the medical experiences and achievements of Charles Emile Benjamins was kindly provided by Egbert H. Huizing, professor emeritus ORL- University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands, whose contribution is hereby gracefully acknowledged. Particularly helpful was his information on the role of Charles Emile Benjamins as founder, driving force and first Secretary General of the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum- ORLAS, an international forum of ORL specialists. ORLAS still exists today and continues to be a major scientific forum for ORL specialists from all over the world.

Herewith I further like to thank Dr B.F.A.M. van der Laan, Head of the ORL Department University Medical Centre, Groningen, for making available several documents from the Opera Omni of Charles Benjamins, which collection is stored in the ORL Department.
N.B.A list with titles of the 369 publications from the Opera Omni from Charles Emile
Benjamins is digitalized and available on request from cvsanten(at)indo(dot)net(dot)id

I also like to thank Riewing Pilon for his assistance with obtaining information on Charles Emile music activities and finally my sister Anna Geertruda van Santen for editing the manuscript and my brother Marinus Johannes Pieter van Santen for his assistance with obtaining additional information.

A separate document contains a pictorial account of Charles Emile’s life, including 147 digitalized images, which can be viewed at
The main part of this collection is formed by a unique series of 124 photographs taken by Charles Emile during his stay in Semarang, Java from 1901 to 1911. These photographs were digitally edited by Wiena Lorentz and Irfan, two young IT specialists from Bogor, Indonesia, whose work is herewith gracefully acknowledged.

May 2007, Bogor, Indonesia
Charles Emile van Santen, grandson of Charles Emile Benjamins