70 years ago:
Sigmund Freud's Journey into Exile
"The Jews (...) have
seized upon my person from all sides and all places with enthusiasm, as
though I were a God-fearing great rabbi. I have nothing against it, after I
have clarified my position toward faith unequivocally."
Sigmund Freud to Arthur Schnitzler, May 24, 1926
"What progress we are making. (...) In the Middle Ages they
would have burnt me; nowadays they are content with burning my books."
Foto: © Archive S. Fischer Verlag
by Roland Kaufhold / Hans-Jürgen Wirth
Sigmund Freud was born 150 years ago, on May 6, 1856, in
Moravia. He went to school in Vienna, and in Vienna he developed
psychoanalysis, as a collaborative effort with numerous colleagues, almost
all of them Jews. Freud was a thoroughly sceptical man, not a
philanthropist, and occasionally he used the term "riffraff" when thinking
of people in his environment, who were mostly hostile towards him. He did
not have any illusions about the destructiveness inherent in human beings.
He was always aware of the possibility of human self-destruction. Filled
with apprehension, Freud wrote on the eve of the National Socialist "seizure
of power", at the end of his great work Civilization
and Its Discontents:
question for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent
their cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance of
their communal life by the human instinct of aggression and
self-destruction. (...) Men have gained control over the forces of nature to
such an extent that with their help they would have no difficulty in
exterminating one another to the last man. They know this, and hence comes a
large part of their current unrest, their unhappiness and their mood of
It was with
the greatest reluctance that at the age of 82 Freud started his journey into
exile. Between 1932 and 1938, almost all Viennese psychoanalysts went into
exile or were forced to do so, except Freud. The cancer-stricken old man,
being too optimistic, misjudged the danger and longevity of National
Socialism, as did many intellectuals in those days. Moreover, the seriously
ill man may be justified in assuming that it would be possible for him "to
die undisturbed and in peace" in his hometown.
is a description of Sigmund Freud's journey into exile in Great Britain,
where he died 15 months later at the age of 83, on September 23, 1939.
A "godless Jew"
In 1918, towards the end of World War I, Freud described
himself as a "godless Jew" in a letter to the Swiss pastor and psychoanalyst
Oskar Pfister. Ten years before he had written to the very same pastor: "Quite by the way, why did none of the devout create
psychoanalysis? Why did one have to wait for a completely godless Jew?"
determined atheist, Freud did not believe in the existence of a god as a
source of comfort for our spiritual life. He viewed the latter as an
illusion. He had a passionate cognitive interest in truths that could be
unpleasant for us, the truth of the abysmal depths of human inner life,
including our capacity for the most extreme destructiveness.
Freud was aware of his identity as a Jew – it was forced upon him by his
predominantly Catholic environment. In his letters he spoke again and again
of his Jewish belongingness – an identity that increasingly turned to an
attitude of proud defiance.
become a place of refuge for Jews in the second half of the nineteenth
century. In 1880 – Freud had just published his first medical writings, 15
years prior to his first great psychoanalytic work Studies on Hysteria
– ten per cent of all Viennese inhabitants were Jews. "By the
1880s, at least half of all Viennese journalists, physicians, and lawyers
were Jews", wrote Peter Gay in his monumental Freud biography.
When Freud attended the Gymnasium (secondary school) from 1865 to1873
in Vienna, the number of his Jewish fellow pupils rose from 44 to 73 per
Early on he
felt that his disturbing, pioneering discoveries were opposed by society
both out of unconscious and anti-Semitic motives. During a walk, his father
told the ten or twelve year-old boy of an anti-Semitic episode where a
Christian had knocked his cap off his head while shouting: „Jew, off the
sidewalk!", and his father had obviously tolerated this attack without
resisting. Young Sigmund was shocked and outraged that his father had chosen
to withdraw. His father's submissiveness "did not seem heroic"
to him, as he wrote in his Interpretation of Dreams (1900). His
father's retreat triggered revengeful fantasies in the young boy who rather
identified himself with the fearless, combative Semite Hannibal.
As of the
year 1895, Sigmund Freud attached in his writings fundamental importance to
human sexuality which was tabooed in those days. This provoked fierce
counter-reactions in his thoroughly Catholic hometown Vienna. In 1896, as an
answer to Freud's study on hysteria, which had just been published, the
psychiatrist Rieger wrote for example, that Freud's views were so absurd
that no mad-doctor could read them without really feeling horrified.
Freud had the feeling of being socially ostracized.
A Jew who
wanted to secure an academic career in Vienna only succeeded when he was
able to overcome obstinate obstacles. Yet, his realistic assessment did not
have the effect that Freud would have tried to assimilate or to deny his
Jewish roots. In 1897, at the age of 41, he instead joined the Viennese
Lodge B'nai B'rith and held lectures there. With a personal warmth that
was quite unusual for him, Freud expressed the feeling of belongingness to
this Jewish association several times.
well-known autobiographical writing, An Autobiographical Study,
published in 1914, Freud already marked his viewpoint with absolute, perhaps
somewhat stylized clarity: "My parents were Jews." And Freud added: "I, too,
have remained a Jew".
"Because I was a Jew, I found myself free from many prejudices which limited
others in the employment of their intellects, and as a Jew I was prepared to
go into opposition",
and to waive the agreement of the compact majority.
On May 8,
1926, B'nai B'rith celebrated Freud's seventieth birthday in the form of a
festive meeting and honoured its prominent member with a special edition of
address to the B'nai B'rith – which had to be read by a fellow member
because Freud was ill – Freud recalled the circumstances under which he had
joined this Jewish association 30 years ago, stating that this was "my first
audience". In the years following 1895, two strong impressions seemed to
have the same impact on him. On the one hand, he gained first insights into
the depths of the human drives, saw quite a few things which could have had
a sobering effect, at first even be horrifying; on the other hand, the
announcement of his unpleasant discoveries had the success that he had lost
most of his previous interpersonal relationships; he felt "as though
ostracized", as shunned by everybody. In this state of isolation, he
recalled, the longing for a "select circle" of highly spirited men arose in
him, a group that would welcome him "regardless of my audacity".
And he was told that this association was a place where such men could be
"That you are
Jews could only be welcome to me, for I was a Jew myself, and it had always
seemed to me not only undignified, but quite nonsensical, to deny it"
Foto: © Archive S. Fischer Verlag
To avoid that
his new science of psychoanalysis be perceived by the mostly non-Jewish
public as a "Jewish" cognitive and treatment method, Freud consciously made
some concessions in his society-specific politics
when establishing his Psychoanalytic Society: He tried to
make sure that the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung – the "Aryan" – who had
contacted him in 1906, would be given a leading position within his Viennese
Psychoanalytic Society. For several years, Freud even considered Jung as his
"crown prince", referring to him occasionally even as "his son". In letters
to his Jewish colleague Karl Abraham, Freud explained in 1908 that it would
psychologically be so much harder for Jung "as a Christian and the son of a
than for his Jewish colleagues to overcome inner resistances against
psychoanalysis. Referring to Jung, he added: Hence, "his adherence is all
the more valuable. I almost said that only his appearance has saved
psychoanalysis from the danger of becoming a Jewish national concern."
In the same year, he wrote to Abraham: "Be assured, if my name were
Oberhuber, my innovations would have found, despite it all, far less
And: "Our Aryan comrades are, after all, quite indispensable to us;
otherwise psychoanalysis would fall victim to anti-Semitism. (…) We must, as
Jews, if we want to join in anywhere, develop a bit of masochism," even be
prepared to hold still for a measure of injustice.
When Jung want his separate way a few years later, this was a trauma in the
history of psychoanalysis. It must be added that as of the year 1933, C. G.
Jung did not even refrain from introducing a clear distinction between the
"Jewish and the Aryan Unconscious" in his psychological writings.
mid-1920s – Freud had published a large part of his writings, had won an
impressive group of supporters and had gained international recognition by
then – the signs of anti-Semitism became more obvious. In 1927, the liberal
Freud called for the backing of the Socialist Party. He emphasized his
belongingness to the Jewish people, to his Jewish roots now more and more
interview in 1926, the 70 year-old Freud said: "My language is German. My
culture, my attainments are German. I considered myself German
intellectually, until I noticed the growth of anti-Semitic prejudice in
Germany and German Austria."
And in 1935, Freud wrote in a letter, "that I have always held faithfully to
our people, and never pretended to be anything but what I am: a Jew from
Moravia whose parents come from Austrian Galicia".
In 1932, the
first Viennese analysts fled into exile – a process which reached its sad
peak in the years 1937 and 1938. Freud's deeply ambivalent assessment of the
threat which his very existence was exposed to, was reflected in his vivid
correspondence in the 1930s. In March 1933, he wrote to Marie Bonaparte –
who would support his emigration to London five years later – that one
should not overlook that the persecution of Jews and the restrictions on
intellectual freedom were the only items of Hitler's programme which were
feasible. Anything else would be nothing but phrase and utopia. He added
that the world was a big jail and Germany the worst cell. And in Germany,
Freud anticipated a paradoxical surprise. There they started with a deadly
hostility against Bolshevism, he wrote, and they would end with something
which would ultimately not be distinguishable from it. Except perhaps for
one thing, he added, namely that Bolshevism had adopted still revolutionary
ideals, but Hitlerism only medieval-reactionary ones.
And when his
books were publicly burned in May 1933, he quipped sarcastically: "What
progress we are making. (...) In the Middle Ages they would have burnt me;
nowadays they are content with burning my books."
In the 1930s: Freud's correspondence with Arnold Zweig in
All his life, Freud was a productive and reliable letter
writer. He had an extensive correspondence with colleagues, with authors and
continued his lively correspondence during this phase that was characterized
by the increasing threat of National Socialism. One of his preferred
correspondents was the Jewish author Arnold Zweig (1897-1968), whose
writings he used to read with interest. Zweig emigrated to Palestine in
1933. A close associate of Freud, Max Eitingon, had also sought
refuge there when he fled from Berlin. Numerous psychoanalysts and
psychoanalytic pedagogues followed him to Palestine and built up the
Palestine Psychoanalytic Society as early as 1934 (as of 1948: Israel
Psychoanalytic Society). The official language at that time was still –
In Palestine, these emigrants held on to their European commitment and
engagement and were mainly interested in reforming the Jewish education and
health care system that was just being established. Some decades later, many
of them would play a prominent part in Israel and in the United States when
they were involved in psychoanalytic efforts aiming at helping Shoah victims
on the basis of well-founded psychoanalytical efforts to be able to deal
with their traumatic experiences more easily.
In Vienna and Berlin, many of them had been shaped by Siegfried Bernfeld,
a young psychoanalyst, pedagogue, socialist, and Zionist (1892-1953)
who had given the young psychoanalytic-pedagogic reform movement decisive
impetuses. His Viennese Baumgarten Nursing Home, founded in 1919
– a pedagogic pilot project where 240 Jewish war orphans were cared for
– was a microcosm of a modern Jewish education whose basic thoughts were now
taken up and realised in numerous Kibbuzim.
was a friend of Eitingon in Palestine and described Eitingon's apartment
opposite that of Freud as "the most delightful ménage in Jerusalem"; and he
added: "and it is wonderful to have people so close who are so intimate with
you and who carry out your work so faithfully."
Zweig identified himself passionately with Zionism throughout his youth. In
1924, he joined the editorial staff of the newspaper Jüdische Rundschau,
and in 1925, he published his work "Das neue Kanaan" (the new Kanaan) in
which he expressed his identification with Zionism. In 1929, he published
the essay "Freud und der Mensch" (Freud and the human being) in the magazine
Die Psychoanalytische Bewegung.
correspondence between the two intellectuals began in March 1927; it ended
twelve years later with Freud's death. In spite of the geographical
distance, "Father Freud" – as Zweig often called him respectfully in his
letters – remained an amicable and affectionate advisor and companion of
Arnold Zweig during all those years.
1932, Arnold Zweig took the risk of returning to Germany after a journey to
Palestine. On May 1, 1932, Zweig wrote to Freud: "What a mistake to
try to come back here! What remains intact at this moment of the Europe I
love and of Germany to which I in large part belong, the original source of
my strength and of my work? Why did I not stay over there in the heroic
scenery of Galilee or by the sea at Tel Aviv or at the Dead Sea."
And on May
29, 1932, Zweig added: "You touched on two difficult points which I have
thought about a great deal. My relationship to Germany and to my Germanness,
and my relationship to the Jews, to the Jewishness in me and in the world,
and to Palestine. This land of religions can, after all, be seen from other
points of view than just as a land of delusions and desires."
18, 1932, Freud answered him. He had heard of the National Socialist
threats against Zweig and encouraged his friend to go on with their mutual
correspondence and their regular exchange of manuscripts: "So perhaps the
Nazis are playing into my hands for once. When you tell me about your
thoughts, I can relieve you of the illusion that one has to be a German.
Should we not leave this God-forsaken nation to themselves? I am going to
conclude now so that this letter may reach you more quickly and I send both
of you my sincere greetings."
In 1933, the
46 yearl-old Arnold Zweig did something that Freud, 31 years older, did not
seriously take into consideration: He emigrated to Palestine – or rather
stayed in the Promised Land after a journey to Palestine. Friends had
advised him to do so.
in Haifa. Since he did not know any Hebrew, by and large at least, and since
he was additionally handicapped to learn the language because he was
partially sighted, the original euphoria quickly gave way to a sobering
disillusionment: He felt too little appreciated as a writer in Eretz Israel,
suffered under the depressing economic living conditions, was unable to
assimilate himself socially, and refused to identify himself completely with
Zionism. On January 21, 1934, only one month after his arrival in
Palestine, he wrote to Freud, obviously discouraged: "At one moment the
central heating did not function, at another the oil stove was smelling (…)
We are not prepared to give up our standard of living and this country is
not yet prepared to satisfy it (…) I don't care anymore about ‘the land of
my fathers'. I don't have any more Zionistic illusions either. I view the
necessity of living here among Jews without enthusiasm, without any false
hopes and even without the desire to scoff."
later, on January 28, 1934, Freud replied: "I have long waited
eagerly for your letter (...) I am eager to read it, now that I know you are
cured of your unhappy love for your so-called Fatherland. Such a passion is
not for the likes of us."
February 25, 1934, Freud added, referring to his own difficult situation
in Vienna: "You are quite right in your expectation that we intend to stick
it out here resignedly. For where should I go in my state of dependence and
physical helplessness? And everywhere abroad is so inhospitable. Only if
there really were a satrap of Hitler's ruling in Vienna I would no doubt
have to go, no matter where."
later, Zweig, in his need, sought help by way of a psychoanalytic treatment.
he wrote to Freud: "Dear Father Freud, I am taking up my analysis again. I
just cannot shake off the whole Hitler business. My affect has shifted to
someone who looked after our affairs for us in 1933 under difficulties. But
this affect of mine is an obsession. I don't live in the present, but am
phase when he was threatened himself, Freud's greatest concern was the
survival of his family and of his analytic colleagues. Obviously, he saw
their emigration as a necessity – and yet had occasionally the deceptive
illusion that his psychoanalysis, his psychoanalytic magazines, and his
publishing house in Vienna would have a chance to survive. During this
phase, Freud was occupied with his "work produced in his later years": his
critical study in respect of religion and culture "Moses and Monotheism".
This book written by the almost 80 year-old cancer-stricken man was the
endeavour to understand the "never-ending anti-Semitism" and the murderous
hatred for "the Jews" within the framework of a historical dimension.
The more Freud himself was threatened by anti-Semitism, the more he
identified himself with his Jewish roots. The first two chapters of his
study of Moses were published in "Imago" in 1937, but only after Freud's
emigration to London was it completely published by a Dutch publishing
In a letter
dated September 30, 1934 to Arnold Zweig, Freud outlined his thematic
and methodical approach: "The starting point of my work is familiar to you –
it was the same as that of your Bilanz.
Faced with the new persecutions, one asks oneself again how the Jews have
come to be what they are and why they have attracted this undying hatred. I
soon discovered the formula: Moses created the Jews. So I gave my work the
title: The Man Moses, a historical novel."
September 9, 1935, Freud thanked Zweig for having sent him his novel
Erziehung vor Verdun (instruction before Verdun). Freud was taken with
this work of his friend: "My daughter Anna is now reading Erziehung vor
Verdun and she keeps coming to me and telling me her impressions. We
then exchange views. You know that I imagine it was my warning which
restrained you from returning to Berlin, and I am still proud of this
achievement, and now it is more certain than ever that you should never go
near the German frontier again. You are too good for that. It is like a
long-hoped-for liberation. At last the truth, the grim ultimate truth, which
is nevertheless essential. You cannot understand the Germany of today if you
know nothing of Verdun and what it stands for."
there are some hints appearing now and then in Freud's letters suggesting
that he was no longer able to push aside that his very own existence was
threatened by the National Socialists. On October 14, 1935, he wrote
to Zweig: "An anxious premonition tells us that we, oh the poor Austrian
Jews, will have to pay a part of the bill. It is sad (...) that we even
judge world events from the Jewish point of view, but how could we do it any
meantime, Arnold Zweig complained now more frequently about his life in
Palestine. On February 15, 1936, he wrote to Freud: "I struggle
against my whole existence here in Palestine. I feel I am in the wrong place
(...) What do you say? You and no one else restrained me from the folly of
returning to Eichkamp in May 1933, i.e. to the concentration camp and death.
Apart from you, of all my friends it was only Feuchtwanger who saw so
clearly. But what do you advise me to do?"
moved by Zweig's misery. Only six days later, on February 21, 1936,
he replied: "Your letter moved me very much, It is not the first time that I
have heard of the difficulties the cultured man finds in adapting himself to
Palestine. History has never given the Jewish people cause to develop their
faculty for creating a state or society (…) You feel ill at ease, but I did
not know you found isolation so hard to bear. Firmly based in your
profession as artist as you are, you ought to be able to be alone for a
while. In Palestine at any rate you have personal safety and your human
rights. And where would you think of going? You would find America, I would
say from all my impressions, far more unbearable. Everywhere else you would
be a scarcely tolerated alien. In America you would also have to shed your
own language; not an article of clothing, but your own skin. I really think
that for the moment you should remain where you are. The prospect of having
access to Germany again in a few years really does exist (…) It is true even
that after the Nazis, Germany will not be what it was (…) But one will be
able to participate in the clearing-up process."
increasingly escalating deprivation of rights and persecution in Austria led
Freud to an increasingly more pessimistic – i.e. realistic – but also to a
fatalistic view of his possibility of existence in Vienna. On June 22,
1936, he wrote to Zweig: "Austria seems bent on becoming National
Socialist. Fate seems to be conspiring with that gang. With ever less regret
do I wait for the curtain to fall for me."
the end of the year 1937, his resignation seemed to have prevailed: "In your
interest I can scarcely regret that you have not chosen Vienna as your new
home. The Government here is different but the people in their worship of
anti-Semitism are entirely at one with their brothers in the Reich. The
noose round our neck is being tightened all the time even if we are not
actually throttled. Palestine is still British Empire at any rate; that is
not to be underestimated."
The emigration of the Viennese psychoanalysts and pedagogues
The expulsion of the intellectual elites from Vienna and
Austria in the 1930s was the most drastic turning point in the history of
science in Austria. Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic pedagogy – vigorously
enhanced by Freud – were completely destroyed in their own country of origin
and forced to emigrate – mostly to the United States.
As for the cultural and biographic damage suffered by the
psychoanalytic-pedagogic movement, its historic-biographical uprooting, it
was not able to recover from this setback for several decades.
Since the 1930s, the psychoanalytic movement as such can only be described
as an emigration movement. Most analysts succeeded in fleeing into
liberating exile; more than 20 of them, however, were murdered but up to the
1980s, hardly anybody was interested in their fate. The emigration of many
psychoanalysts had mainly been possible because they had various contacts
abroad, contrary to most other Jewish professional groups. The possibility
of emigrating to the United States depended, for example, mostly on the fact
that the emigrant had to find an American citizen who was prepared to make
an official statement that he was ready to financially support the emigrant
in case of emergency. In addition, there were many who were interested in
psychoanalysis and who had come to Vienna in the 1920s and 1930s – primarily
from the United States – in order to learn psychoanalysis at first hand at
its place of birth. Some of them had founded therapeutic schools and nursery
schools in Vienna, had translated Freud's writings, and had taught English
lessons for some analysts. Some of these American analysts – who were not
directly threatened in the 1930s due to their American citizenship – used
their position and contacts to help Viennese analysts to flee the country.
Some were even engaged illegally underground, procuring affidavits, false
passports, and money, and hiding analysts from the Nazis. The American
psychoanalyst Muriel Gardiner was said to be the boldest helper. In
particular, the courageous behaviour of the renowned psychoanalyst Richard
Sterba deserves to be mentioned who – although he was not personally
threatened as a Catholic – emigrated to the United States with his
colleagues out of solidarity.
analysts – Edith Jacobson, Edith Buxbaum,
Rudolf Ekstein, Marie Langer,
Ernst Federn, Muriel Gardiner, and T. Erdheim-Genner are to be mentioned inter alia –
had intensively been engaged in the "illegal" resistance against the
National Socialists and had been detained for some time by the Gestapo.
and Ernst Federn
survived the concentration camps of Dachau and
Buchenwald where they had been detained for one year and for seven years
respectively, and after their liberation and release from the camps they
became the founders of a psychology of terror.
Reich, a combative antifascist who had published numerous pioneering studies
on the Psychology of Fascism in the 1920s and 1930s, suffered an especially
tragic fate. In 1933/34, he was excluded both from the International
Psychoanalytic Association as well as from the Communist Party, probably due
to his political engagement against the Nazis; his fate has been the object
of continued controversies up to this date.
are to be mentioned: Out of the 149 members of the Viennese Psychoanalytic
Society – almost all of them were Jews – 146 emigrated up to the year 1939.
Almost all psychoanalytic pedagogues emigrated, most of them to the United
States. Despite the "Medicocentrism" (Paul Parin) prevailing in the United
States at that time, most of them succeeded in standing their ground in
their new homeland and in integrating parts of their professional identity
into the new culture of their homeland. Yet, the socially enlightening
atmosphere of departure that probably could only emerge in such a way as it
did in Vienna, had been extinguished. In the United States, there was hardly
any possibility of picking up the thread on a cultural level in this
respect. On the other hand, many of the young psychoanalytic pedagogues who
had been shaped by Sigmund Freud and Siegfried Bernfeld succeeded in doing
pioneering work in the psychoanalytic-pedagogic field. For example, Anny
Angel-Katan, Bruno Bettelheim, Siegfried Bernfeld, Peter Blos, Berta and
Stefanie Bornstein, Edith Buxbaum, Kurt Eissler, Rudolf Ekstein, Erik
Erikson, Ernst Federn, Anna Freud, Judith S. Kestenberg, Else Pappenheim,
Lili Peller, Emma Plank, Fritz Redl, Emmy Sylvester, Richard and Editha
Sterba are to be mentioned inter alia.
Freud's emigration – death in exile
As of 1936, the situation became more and more critical in
Vienna. The failed uprising of February 1934 had triggered a process of
disillusionment on the part of the left and led to another increase in the
emigration wave. Strong signs of fatalism were creeping in Freud's letters:
"Superfluous to say anything about the general situation of the world", he
wrote to his Hungarian colleague Ferenczi in April 1932.
The idea of emigrating himself, what friends fearing for his life had
advised him to do, appears now and then, but just to be rejected immediately
again. "Flight would be justified, I believe, only if there were a direct
danger to life", he wrote to Ferenczi in April 1933.
Freud wanted to hold out in Vienna as long as possible by any means. The
role of a refugee running away from the Nazis did not seem to be an
acceptable perspective of life for the almost 80 year-old cancer-stricken
man. After the failed uprising of February 1934 , he wrote to his son Ernst
Freud on February 20, 1934: "Either an Austrian fascism or the swastika. In
the latter case, we should have to go."
The birthday celebrations around May 6, 1936 on occasion of Freud's
eightieth birthday which received international attention, were a
possibility of providing a short diversion once again. Thomas Mann
personally read out his congratulation text at Freud's house in Berggasse
no. 19: "Freud and the future". He was elected a corresponding member of the
internationally renowned "Royal Society" in London; among international
press reports, in particular, the one written by the Swedish author Selma
Lagerlöf attracted attention.
Foto: © Archive S. Fischer Verlag
At the same
time, however, Freud was increasingly suffering from pain due to his
cancerous disease and had thoughts of dying. His letters, including those to
Arnold Zweig, were becoming more gloomy. His dependency on his most beloved
daughter Anna who had cared for him for years, was increasing more and more.
In letters she vividly described the panic among Viennese Jews by which she
did not, however, want to be infected. On March 11, 1938, following an
ultimatum delivered by Hitler, Freud recorded in his short memorandum "Finis
Austriae", on March 14, "Hitler in Vienna".
The Board of the Viennese Psychoanalytic Society recommended its members who
were still in Vienna to emigrate. The synagogues were burning, Jews were
abused in the streets. On March 15, 1938, Freud's apartment and his
publishing house Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag were
searched; one week later Anna Freud was eventually arrested by the Gestapo
and summoned for interrogation – a shock for Freud. Events followed in quick
succession: Now he could no longer ignore the asylum offers made by several
governments, among others by that of Palestine. William Bullitt, American
Ambassador in France, Cordell Hull, American Secretary of State, the
American Consul General in Vienna, and Freud's longstanding friend Princess
Marie Bonaparte empathically used their contacts and intervened to get
permission for Freud to leave Vienna. On June 4, 1938, all the formalities
were completed: Freud emigrated with a part of his family via France to
London. The press spread the photograph showing Anna and Sigmund Freud in a
train compartment throughout the world. His last short letter dated June 4,
1938, still written in Vienna, was addressed to Arnold Zweig: "Leaving today
for 39, Elsworthy Road, London N. W. 3. Affect, greetings Freud." Zweig
answered him on June 18, 1938: "You are now in safety, no longer exposed to
years of vindictive persecution (...) your archives, your books, your
collections have been saved."
of observation and his art of formulating were unbroken. Immediately upon
his arrival in London, on June 6, 1938, he wrote a long, personal letter to
Eitingon in Jerusalem: "The emotional situation is hard to grasp, barely
describable. (...) We have become popular all of a sudden."
And an almost
reconciliatory tone became noticeable when he noted shortly after his
arrival in London: "for one had still very much loved the prison from which
one has been released."
too, the 82 year-old Freud went on with his scientific writing. He completed
his "Moses", and in July 1938, he began with his dense work "An
Outline of Psychoanalysis".
now increasingly overwhelmed by his cancerous disease from which he had been
suffering since the year 1923. In September 1938, he underwent a last
surgery, from which he would not recover. One year later, in September 1939,
he could no longer stand the pain. On September 21 and 22, his physician
administered to him several doses of morphine, and in the early morning
hours of September 23, 1939, the wise old man died during his exile
Of the horror
that was to follow, Freud did not see anything. Four of his sisters were
murdered in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz.
1961, Dr. phil, Dipl.
Päd., is a teacher for handicapted children and a writer and publisher in
Cologne, Germany. Author of the
books: (Ed.): Annäherung an Bruno Bettelheim, Mainz 1994; (Ed.): Ernst
Federn: Versuche zur Psychologie des Terrors, Gießen 1999 (Psychosozial
Verlag); Kaufhold/Lieberz-Groß (Ed.): Deutsch-israelische Begegnungen,
psychosozial Heft 83 (1/2001); Bettelheim, Ekstein, Federn: Impulse
für die psychoanalytisch-pädagogische Bewegung, Gießen 2001 (Psychosozial
Coauthor in: David James Fisher (2003): Psychoanalytische
Kulturkritik und die Seele des Menschen. Essays über Bruno Bettelheim,
Gießen; (Ed.) (2003): "So können sie nicht leben" - Bruno Bettelheim (1903 -
1990), Zeitschrift für Politische Psychologie Nr. 1-3/2003.
One of his studies is published in english on the
dedicated to Edith Buxbaum (1902-1982), the editor is Esther Helfgott,
Seattle. The translator is Prof. Hamida Bosmajian
Prof. Dr., is a psychoanalyst and analytic family therapist, practicing in
own office. Member of the German Psychoanalytical Association (DPV) and the
International Psychanalytic Association (IPA). Professor of „Psychoanalysis
with Special Emphasis of Prevention, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic
Socialpsychology“ at the Department of Human and Health Sciences at the
University of Bremen. University lecturer of psychoanalysis, depth
psychologically founded psychotherapy and psychoanalytically oriented family
and social therapy at the "Institut for Psychoanalyis und Psychotherapy
Giessen e. V.", an Institute of the German Psychoanalytical Association (DPV).
Owner and leader of the Publishing company
Psychosozial-Verlag. Editor of the German book series "Bibliothek der
Psychoanalyse" (Psychosozial-Verlag), editor in chief of the journal "psychosozial",
author of numerous articles and various books on the applications of
psychoanalysis. English books: "9/11 as a Collective Trauma and other Essays
on Psychoanalysis ans Society" and "Narcissism
and Power. Psychoanalysis of Mental
Disorders in Politics".
Critics have called the
book Narcissism and Power (2002), written by Hans-Jürgen Wirth a 'masterpiece
of political psychology'. In 9/11 as a Collective Trauma he presents a
collection of his interesting essays about the psyche and politics. He
reflects on the psychic structure of suicidebombers, and analyzes the
psycho-political causes and the cosequencesof the Iraq war.
essays focus on xenophobia and violence, the story of Jewish psychoanalysts
who emigrated to the United States from Nazi-Germany and the human image of
Peter Gay (1988): Freud. A Life for Our Time. New York/London (W. W. Norton
& Company), p. 599.
ibid., p. 592-593.
Sigmund Freud (1961): Civilization and Its Discontents. With a biographical
introduction by Peter Gay. New York/London, p. 111-112.
Ernst Federn (1988): Die Emigration von Sigmund und Anna Freud. Eine
Fallstudie. In: F. Stadler (Hg.): Vertriebene Vernunft II. Emigration und
Exil österreichischer Wissenschaft 1930-1940.
1988, p. 248.
See also Bernd Nitzschke (1996): Wir und der Tod. Essays über Sigmund Freuds
Leben und Werk. Göttingen (Sammlung Vandenhoeck); Peter Schneider (1999):
Sigmund Freud. Munich (dtv).
Gay (1988), p. 19.
ibid., p. 12.
Ernest Jones (1984): Sigmund Freud. Leben und Werk, Munich (dtv), Vol. 2, p.
Gay (1988), p. 6
ibid., p. 603
ibid., p. 140
Freud (1926), in: Nitzschke (1996), p. 118; see also Gay (1988), p. 597
Gay (1988), p. 204
Gay (1988), p. 205. For more details see: Susann Heenen-Wolff (1987): "Wenn
ich Oberhuber hieße ..." Die Freudsche Psychoanalyse zwischen Assimilation
und Antisemitismus. Frankfurt am Main (Nexus).
Gay (1988), p. 205
Ludger M. Hermanns (1982): John F. Rittmeister und C. G. Jung. In: H.-M.
Lohmann (ed.) (1985): Psychoanalyse und Nationalsozialismus. Beiträge zur
Bearbeitung eines unbewältigten Traumas. Frankfurt/M. (Fischer TB), 137-145.
See also the impressive statements of Thomas Mann (1935) and
Ernst Bloch regarding Jung which are contained therein; the latter described
Jung literally as a "psychoanalytic fascist".
Gay, (1988), p. 448
ibid, p. 597
Nitzschke (1996), p. 50
Gay, (1988), p. 592-593
Ruth Kloocke (2002): Mosche Wulff. Zur Geschichte der Psychoanalyse in
Rußland und Israel, Tübingen (edition diskord).
Without claiming completeness we would like to mention: Maria and Martin
Bergmann, Bruno Bettelheim, Yael Danieli, Nathan Durst, Ernst Federn, M.
Jucovy, Hans Keilson, Judith S. Kestenberg, Hillel Klein, R. Moses, Yehuda
Nir, Martin Wangh, and Zvi Lothane.
As literature we would like
to mention: M. S. Bergman; Jucovy, M. E.; Kestenberg, J. S. (ed.)
(1982): Kinder der
Opfer, Kinder der Täter. Psychoanalyse und Holocaust. Frankfurt M.
(Fischer). To Hans Keilson we would like to mention: Roland Kaufhold (2008):
"Das Leben geht weiter". Hans Keilson, ein jüdischer Psychoanalytiker,
Schriftsteller, Pädagoge und Musiker, in: Zeitschrift für psychoanalytische
Theorie und Praxis (ZPTP), Heft 1/2-2008, S. 142-167.
Roland Kaufhold (2008): Siegfried Bernfeld - Psychoanalytiker, Zionist,
Pädagoge. Vor 55 Jahren starb Siegfried Bernfeld, in: TRIBÜNE, Nr. 185 (H.
See previous footnote and: Manuel Wiznitzer: Arnold Zweig: Das Leben eines
deutsch-jüdischen Schriftstellers, Frankfurt/M.; Wilhelm von Sternburg
(1998): Um Deutschland geht es uns. Arnold Zweig. Die Biographie, Berlin
Freud, Ernst (ed.)
Letters of Sigmund Freud and Arnold Zweig. London (The Hogarth Press), p.
E. Freud (1970), p. 43
ibid., p. 45
ibid., p. 55-57
ibid., p. 59
ibid., p. 65-66
ibid., p. 73
Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol.
23, p. 1-137.
See also: Bernd Nitzschke (1996): "Freud, der Mann Moses und der
Antisemitismus" and "Judenhaß als Modernitätshaß. Über Freuds Studie 'Der
Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion' (1937/39)", both in: Nitzschke
(1996), p. 40-53, p. 149-183.
E. Freud (1970), p. 91
ibid., p. 110
Gay (1988), p. 610
E. Freud (1970), p. 120-121
E. Freud (1970), p. 122
ibid., p. 133-134
ibid., p. 154
See Roland Kaufhold (2001): Bettelheim, Ekstein, Federn: Impulse für die
psychoanalytisch-pädagogische Bewegung. Gießen (Psychosozial-Verlag)
same author (2003): Spurensuche zur Geschichte der die USA emigrierten
Wiener Psychoanalytischen Pädagogen, in: Luzifer-Amor: Geschichte der Wiener
Psychoanalytischen Vereinigung (ed. Thomas Aichhorn), 16:31 (1/2003), p.
37-69; Hans-Jürgen Wirth (2002):
Narcissism and Power. Psychoanalysis of Mental Disorders
in Politics, Gießen (Psychosozial-Verlag); the same author (2005):
9/11 as a Collective Trauma and other Essays on
Psychoanalysis ans Society, Gießen (Psychosozial-Verlag); Hans-Jürgen Wirth/Trin
Haland-Wirth (2003): Emigration, Biographie und Psychoanalyse.
Emigrierte PsychoanalytikerInnen in Amerika. In: Kaufhold
et. al. (ed.) (2003), "So können sie nicht leben" - Bruno Bettelheim
(1903-1990), Zeitschrift für politische Psychologie 1-3/2003, p. 91-120,
David James Fisher (2003): Psychoanalytische Kulturkritik und die Seele des
Menschen. Essays über Bruno Bettelheim unter Mitarbeit
von Roland Kaufhold et. al. Gießen (Psychosozial-Verlag).
the same author:
(2008): Bettelheim: Living and Dying: Contemporary
Psychoanalytic Studies Series (Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi)
cf. Kaufhold (2001)
cf. the website
cf. also Kaufhold (2001)
Roland Kaufhold (ed.) (1999): Ernst Federn - Versuche zur Psychologie des
Terrors. Gießen (Psychosozial-Verlag).
Karl Fallend; Bernd Nitzschke (ed.) (2002): Der "Fall" Wilhelm Reich.
Beiträge zum Verhältnis von Psychoanalyse und Politik, Gießen
Gay (1988), p. 588
ibid., p. 593
ibid., p. 594-595
ibid., p. 618
E. Freud (1970), p. 160-161
Gay (1988), p. 630-631
Gay (1988), p. 629