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Esman, A.H. (2000). Kurt R. Eissler (1908-1999). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(2):361-362.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(2):361-362

Kurt R. Eissler (1908-1999)

Aaron H. Esman

Kurt R. Eissler, MD, one of the last of the second generation of Viennese psychoanalysts, died in New York on 17 February, 1999 in his 91st year. Predeceased by his wife, Dr Ruth Eissler, he left no survivors.

Born in Vienna on 2 July, 1908, he received the PhD in psychology in 1934 and his MD in 1938, both from the University of Vienna. While working with August Aichhorn in his residential centre for juvenile delinquents, he trained in psychoanalysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute and was admitted to the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society in 1938. Shortly thereafter, he fled the Nazi occupation and emigrated to the United States, settling first in Chicago, where he achieved certification in psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Eissler enlisted as a Captain in the US Army Medical Corps in 1943, serving as a military psychiatrist. After the war he relocated to New York, establishing a psychoanalytic practice and joining the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, where he became a Training and Supervising Analyst and a valued member of the faculty. His first major psychoanalytic publication in the United States was the book he edited in honour of Aichhorn, his former mentor—Searchlights on Delinquency (1949). This was followed by a steady outpouring of papers and books, many of which have become classics in the field. They include his two-volume psychoanalytic biography of Goethe (1963), a major study of Leonardo da Vinci (1961) and a landmark volume on The Psychiatrist and the Dying Patient (1955).

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