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Knight, R.P. (1961). David Rapaport—1911-1960. Psychoanal Q., 30:262-264.
(1961). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 30:262-264
Robert P. Knight, M.D.
David Rapaport's sudden death of a heart attack the evening of December 14, 1960 ended, at age forty-nine, an extraordinary career as clinical psychologist, research investigator in the borderland between psychology and psychoanalysis, theorist in psychoanalysis, translator, teacher and mentor to dozens of fellow researchers, and lecturer in ego psychology to hundreds of students in almost every psychoanalytic institute in this country. A remarkable dedication to work and study resulted in an astounding erudition in psychoanalytic psychology, as well as in an impressive bibliography of published papers and books, with a great many additional unpublished papers in various stages of revision. Knowing full well the extent of his rheumatic heart damage, and afflicted from time to time by other physical ailments—peptic ulcer, arthritis, renal calculi, to mention a few—, he nevertheless drove on with his work in a display of energy which often shamed more healthy colleagues.
Born in Budapest on September 30, 1911, he attended school there, and, during his secondary school years while distinguishing himself as an honor student, he carried on two most unusual extracurricular activities for a teenager. From age sixteen or seventeen he was a leader of a Zionist youth movement, with responsibility for the welfare and escape from Hungary to Palestine of many Jews; he was personally known, relied on, and respected by thousands of people all over Hungary. During the same years, he first became acquainted with psychoanalysis through listening to the discussions of theory and stories of cases of an analyst friend and distant relative of his father. Discovering that the analyst, Samu Rappaport, could not bring himself to write, David began to write for him. Out of this collaboration, two books on psychoanalysis were published before his twenty-first birthday, but David, feeling himself to be merely the ghost writer, characteristically refused to have his own name associated with the books.
From January 1932 to August 1934 he himself was in Palestine, where he was married to Elvira Strasser and where his first child was born.
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