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Mann, C. (2001). In Memoriam: Gerard Chrzanowski, MD, 1913-2000. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 10(1):94-96.

(2001). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 10(1):94-96

In Memoriam: Gerard Chrzanowski, MD, 1913-2000

Carola Mann

Shortly before his incapacitating and final illness Jerry (as he was known to his friends and colleagues) had bought Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. What an appropriate title to catch Jerry's eye! He loved to laugh with his friends, his colleagues and his patients, and he considered “forgetting” not simply dissociation or repression. Instead he would say you remembered to forget, thus affirming that even the “forgetful” make choices, albeit unconsciously, to forget.

If you could read some of the review comments quoted on the jacket of Kundera's book and also knew Jerry personally you would be struck by an almost uncanny parallel; the reviewers' descriptions of Kundera's style seem to be a fitting description of Chrzanowski and his work as well: Deeply and impressively subversive. [Kundera's] sympathy for those who create and suffer is deep (K. Paul Gray, Time Magazine). Jerry was indeed “subversive” — he knew the conventional rules of psychoanalysis, but would flout them in the service of his patients whose sufferings he deeply understood. Another reviewer described Kundera's work as being “of immense wit, intelligence, and verve”. No wonder Jerry felt drawn to Kundera; Jerry himself had been described by Rose Spiegel, his late colleague and collaborator, as intense, vibrant and stimulating (Unpublished Manuscript, 1996; comments made at the presentation of a Presidential Award of Appreciation to Chrzanowski by the American Academy of Psychoanalysis).

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