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Alexander, F. (1943). Hugo Staub—1886–1942. Psychoanal Q., 12:100-105.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:100-105

Hugo Staub—1886–1942

Franz Alexander

On October 29, 1942, Hugo Staub died in New York City, fifty-six years after his birth in Upper Silesia, Germany. With him psychoanalysis lost an original thinker, and one of its most colorful, dynamic personalities.

Hugo Staub came to psychoanalysis during those hectic postwar years which appeared unreal even when we were living through them, and appear even more so now in retrospect. In Germany, particularly in the early years of the Weimar Republic, everything seemed uprooted. The new constitution of the Reich and its progressive spirit had no anchorage in German tradition, and Berlin became a city without a spiritual hinterland, the chaotic center not only of new beginnings, ideas, and cultural developments, but also of fads and unsound dilettantism. There the new theater blossomed into maturity; modern painting began to transfer its headquarters from Paris to Berlin, and progressive scientific thought found a fertile soil. Berlin was becoming the spiritual center of the European continent, a heated battleground of new against old ideas and political trends which coalesced into a disquieting symphony of disharmonies. Amidst all this fermentation, somewhat dazed, stood Hugo Staub, a well-known figure in Berlin, with supersensitve, perceptive eyes receiving stimulation from all quarters. A successful lawyer and ingenious business man, he became the patron of young artists, writers, and actors, a habitué of the Cafe des Westens which was the literary center of the Weimar Republic and the home of the breadless arts. Many of the bohemians with unpaid bills, sitting around the marble tables, sighed with relief when, sometime between eleven and two in the night, Hugo Staub with his striding gait and jerky movements and a broad smile on his face finally appeared.


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