An enjoyable small story about an incident in Sigmund Freud’s late life.
Freud was nearing the end of his life in 1938 when he finally agreed to leave Vienna as it succumbed to Nazi domination. Freud the atheist looked at himself as only a tribal Jew. He didn’t practice his faith and didn’t wish to accept the danger of remaining in Austria, but he didn’t wear blinders. To offset charges that psychoanalysis was a Jewish sect, Freud chose Ernest Jones, a Welsh Methodist, as his biographer. Cohen’s (Psychologists on Psychology, 1985) opinion of that biography could not be clearer as he chips away at Jones’ writing; he notes that Jones left out salient facts. Cohen is not a biographer but a psychologist, and this book is much more an analysis of Freud, his daughter and other relevant characters. The author illuminates the reasons for his facts carefully and clearly. Freud’s distinction as the father of psychoanalysis ensured aid from many sources to leave Vienna. Diplomats in Vienna, France, America and England, his biographer and his patient, Marie Bonaparte, all worked tirelessly to facilitate the departure of Freud’s party. Possibly the most influential was Anton Sauerwald, who was appointed by the Nazis to control the family’s assets and their psychoanalytic publishing house. It was he who not only cleared the bureaucratic paperwork necessary for the Freud party, but also took responsibility to ship over 1,000 items to him in England.
An illuminating look at the end of the life of a giant of psychology.