Philippe Hahn

Dr. Philippe Hahn, known as 'Docteur Hahn' (19 Aug 1850, Strasbourg-Neuhof - 23 March 1913, Paris, France) was a French physician and administrator, the personal physician of Kings Norodom and Sisowath, and a keen observer of the Cambodian scene from 1878 to 1907.

Arriving in Cambodia on 1 January 1878 as 2nd class physician of the French Navy, he quickly became friend and confident to King Norodom I, who came to call him "the one and only European who never cheated me." After joining the Cap Horn scientific mission (1882-1883) as a botanist and zoologist, he returned to Phnom Penh as "medecin-general du Protectorat" in 1884, and fenced off the hostility of the volatile Cochinchina Governor, Charles Thomson, who accused him to plot with King Norodom against "France's colonial interests". 

Mayor-resident of Phnom Penh from 1897 to 1905, Civil Service Inspector, administrator of Kampot Province from 1891 to 1895, Resident-Superieur of Cambodia in 1907, he was the one who pronounced dead King Norodom at the Royal Palace in 1904, then was invited by King Sisowath to the royal visit to France in 1907, as interpreter and close advisor. As a surgeon, he became famous for performing the first ever double cataract operation on a Penong woman in 1879, without anasthesia.

Back to Paris in 1910, he was appointed to the Archaeological Commission of Indochina. In 1904, he coauthored with Louis Finot "Variétés: un almanach cambodgien" (Revue indochinoise, 1st semester 1904). In that same publication, he gave his personal account of King Norodom's passing away.