Our Founder - Dr. Géza Kresz

Dr. Géza Kresz

Géza Kresz was born in 1846 in Pest as the youngest of the six children of his parents. He studied towards a physician’s degree and earned his medical degree in 1871 in the University of Pest.

Kresz first worked as a general practitioner and later became a health officer in the 5th district of Budapest. He was a broad-minded, educated, humanistic person who worked tirelessly for the case of ambulances. First of all, Géza Kresz suggested to set up 6 to 8 rescue houses on each bank of the Danube, near the bridges. Then he proposed to set up 1-2 housing units for each district. Patients found on the streets and in homes were delivered to these rescue center houses instead of being taken directly to public hospitals.

Géza Kresz recognized the need to educate people who wanted to help. It was important to teach first aid skills to wide audiences.

The Ambulance Palace in 1890

Dr. Géza Kresz founded the Budapest Volunteer Ambulance Unit (Budapesti Önkéntes Mentő Egyesület – BÖME) in 1887, utilizing the model that was used in Vienna by that time for a few years. In the coming years, he established the organized ambulance system, actively participated in the elimination of cholera, and organized the supply chain of breast milk in Budapest.

The former stable building
in the courtyard of Ambulance Palace

The construction of the Ambulance Palace in Budapest was his initiative as well. The building was opened in 1890. Today, it serves as the Central Ambulance Station of Budapest. This was one of the first buildings in Europe that was built as an ambulance station and it still serves as the headquarters of the National Ambulance. The building process took one and a half year and was financed by the donations of wealthy citizens. There were the stables with hayloft and horse-drawn ambulance coaches in the yard. Kresz also had his residence in the Ambulance Palace, where he lived with his family in the second floor. The second wing of the building was finished in the late 1890s.

Dr. Géza Kresz was the one who started the collection and arrangement of the memorabilia of ambulances. This collection is unique in its kind in Europe. This is the only museum in Europe, where they collect the relics of rescue services, and where you can learn all about first aid and rescue history.

For his merits, he was ennobled by Emperor Franz Joseph on 24 December 1900, and was given the name de Szemlőhegy (Szemlőhegyi). Dr. Géza Kresz died on 10 April 1901 and was buried in the National Graveyard in Budapest.