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Downey, T.W. (1994). Hans W. Loewald, M.D. (1906-1993). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:839-842.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:839-842

Hans W. Loewald, M.D. (1906-1993)

T. Wayne Downey

Hans W. Loewald, a key figure in twentieth-century psychoanalysis, whose thought bridged philosophy and psychoanalysis, died of pneumonia in a state of quiet resolve, on Saturday, 9 January 1993, in Hamden, Connecticut. He was 86 years old. Hans was best known in the United States, where he had a long and fruitful career as an innovative psychoanalytic writer, educator and clinician.

Hans Loewald was born in the Alsace, then a part of Germany, in the town of Colmar, on 19 January 1906. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Berlin, where he grew up. He was raised fatherless. His father, a Jewish physician with an interest in dermatology and psychiatry, died shortly after his birth. Hans was reared by his mother and a favourite aunt in a complex and often difficult family situation. He spent a good part of his adolescence in quiet but determined rebellion against his autocratic German schoolmasters.

Hans eventually went on to matriculate at the Universities of Marburg and Freiburg. His attraction to the philosophical ideas of Martin Heidegger drew him to Freiburg, drawn to the philosophical ideas of Martin Heidegger, who became Hans's teacher and mentor. However, Heidegger's conversion to National Socialism led to Hans's disillusionment and very painful estrangement from him and ultimately to Hans's withdrawal from philosophy as an exclusive endeavour. Heideggers's embracing of Hitler (even to the extent of growing a moustache like Hitler's) introduced a vast contradiction between the purity of Heidegger's philosophical thinking and the corrupt ideals of his political life; a moral conflict which could never again sustain a relationship between Loewald and Heidegger.

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