Norbert Vollertsen

Norbert Vollertsen

Norbert Vollertsen

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Norbert Vollertsen (born 10 February 1958 in Düsseldorf) is a German doctor and human rights activist.

Vollertsen practiced medicine in North Korea from 1999 to 2001 with the Cap Anamur Committee, a non-governmental cooperation organization. In August 1999, he and Francois Large, another aid worker, donated their skin to Pak Jong Thae, a tractor factory worker in Haeju, South Hwanghae, who had suffered burns over three-quarters of his body and underwent three skin grafting operations. In recognition for his contribution, Vollertsen received the official Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Friendship Medal for his humanitarian assistance later that same month, in a ceremony attended by Supreme People's Assembly vice-president Yang Hyong Sop.

As he traveled in his capacity as an emergency physician, tending to the illnesses and injuries of common North Koreans in the countryside, he struggled with a nearly non-existent healthcare system, abject poverty and growing proof of a network of prison camps and penitentiaries that enforced the flow of wealth from the citizenry to the Pyongyang-based military and the labor party headed by Kim Jong Il. Using smuggled cameras, he obtained photos and films of flagrant, large-scale human-rights abuses. In particular, mass starvation was...
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