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(1986). Opening Ceremony: 34th IPA Congress, Hamburg, 1985 on Sunday 28 July 1985. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:3-8.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:3-8

Opening Ceremony: 34th IPA Congress, Hamburg, 1985 on Sunday 28 July 1985


Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Senate and citizens of our city, I should like to welcome you most warmly on the occasion of the 34th Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Hamburg.

In his words of welcome, Herr Ohlmeier, the President of the German Psychoanalytical Association, has written: 'We are well aware … that the recollection of our country's history will make the decision to come to Hamburg a difficult one for many'. Nevertheless, you have come and I thank you for doing so.

More than half a century has passed since the International Psychoanalytical Association last met in Germany. The International Psychoanalytical Congress, then held in Wiesbaden in 1932, hardly appears to have been aware of the imminent threat posed by National Socialism which, only a few months later, set up in Germany the most brutal dictatorship in human memory, unleashed the Second World War and brought within half a decade more suffering, greater crimes and more radical political changes upon the world than probably any other five-year period in known history.

You have come to Germany at a point in time when our attention and our conscience are again being focused more intensely on those years of German history. The questions: 'What was it really like?' and 'How could it happen?' are being raised ever more insistently and answered more honestly than in the first decades following the war.

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