© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. The efforts in the late 1940s to 1960s of two Parisian pioneers in kidney transplantation, René Kűss, a surgeon, and Jean Hamburger, a nephrologist, have largely been forgotten. Küss developed the operation that is basically unchanged today. Both groups initiated clinical transplant programs in January 1951, and both were among the first to carry out kidney transplantation (i) without immunosuppressive therapy, (ii) between living-related and unrelated donors, (iii) with organs from deceased donors, (iv) with irradiation and immunosuppressive drugs, and (v) with long-term survival. In the opinion of many, the French did not receive full credit for their work internationally.