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Langer, M. (1962). Heinrich Racker—1910–1961. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:80-81.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:80-81

Heinrich Racker—1910–1961

Marie Langer

Racker's early and unexpected death—he was just 50 years old—after a brief and dramatic illness signifies an irreparable loss for everyone: for his wife and children, his patients, disciples, and colleagues, and for us, his friends. But it is also a grave loss for our Association and for psycho-analysis, the science he passionately loved.

Heinrich Racker had a difficult life, as is characteristic of our era. He was born in Poland in a Jewish family four years before the outbreak of the First World War. When the war started his family had to flee to Vienna. During the first years life was extremely hard, but little by little the situation improved. After having finished his secondary schooling, Heinrich, already interested in psycho-analysis, would have liked to study medicine, but the economic crisis of 1928 curtailed his plans. His father had serious monetary difficulties at that time, and young Heinrich decided to contribute to the support of his family. An excellent pianist, he obtained a job as professor at the Vienna Conservatory, at the same time studying psychology and musicology at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. In a brief autobiographical study he referred to this part of his life in the following terms: 'Nature had endowed me with a gift that filled me with happiness, that of feeling music intensely and enjoying philosophic, scientific, and literary creations. And even more, I found teachers of great capacity who became first my guides and then my friends; they opened new worlds to me and stimulated me to improve my own aptitudes.

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