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Schur, M. (1960). Bela Mittelmann—1899-1959. Psychoanal Q., 29:240-240.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:240-240

Bela Mittelmann—1899-1959

Max Schur, M.D.

Bela Mittelmann was born in a family of physicians. He was fifteen when his father died; however, in the tradition of the family, he became a doctor. His first scientific work was published while he was still a student in medical school at the University of Prague. He emigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1923 and trained in this country to become a psychiatrist and later a psychoanalyst. He became a member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society in 1937. Between 1925 and 1950 most of Mittelmann's thirty-five publications were devoted to various aspects of 'psychosomatic disorders'. He contributed valuable clinical observations on many topics included in this category. His keen clinical observations led him to suspect an emotional factor in Raynaud's Disease, and stimulated him to experimental work on emotions and skin temperature which has generally been accepted as one of the classics of psychosomatic research. He also published valuable contributions to problems of mental hygiene in industry.

His last line of research, which started around 1950, opened the field of normal and abnormal development of motility, and showed how important this factor is in psychosexual development. This was demonstrated in a series of important papers and films. His last project dealt with Expressive Autoerotic, Autoaggressive Movements in Normal, Neurotic, Blind, and Schizophrenic Children, with special emphasis on the comparison of motility of the last two groups. A film about this work was shown recently.

During his distinguished career Bela Mittelmann filled many important offices. He taught at New York University, Columbia University, and at the Albert Einstein Medical School. He was chairman of the Psychosomatic Forum for many years.

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