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Tartakoff, H.H. (1978). Grete L. Bibring, M.D—1899-1977. Psychoanal Q., 47:293-295.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 47:293-295

Grete L. Bibring, M.D—1899-1977

Helen H. Tartakoff

The death of Grete Lehner Bibring on August 10, 1977, not only represented the loss of a uniquely gifted and resilient colleague, but also hastened the end of a rare phenomenon in the history of our field. She and her husband, Edward Bibring, together with a number of other married couples, were among the second generation of Freud's inner circle who practiced and made significant contributions to psychoanalysis in Vienna before the Anschluss necessitated their exodus. Several of these psychoanalysts who had distinguished themselves abroad became a major part of the intellectual migration in the 1940's, initiating the second phase of the impact of psychoanalysis on the United States by the introduction of ego psychology.

The Bibrings met while studying medicine at the University of Vienna. Through their colleague, Otto Fenichel, they learned that new and challenging discoveries, not available in their medical curriculum, were being published by a physician named Sigmund Freud. Grete hastened to buy Three Contributions to the Theory of Sexuality. Joined by Wilhelm Reich, this group of four read it together. Puzzled by its implications, they decided to visit its author one day during his office hours, book in hand, and ask him to explain some of his assertions. Freud's answer was to invite them to attend the weekly meetings of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. Clearly, their encounter with Freud's ideas exerted a decisive influence on the Bibrings' personal and professional lives. Grete entered psychoanalysis while still in medical school. Shortly after their marriage, both Bibrings joined the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

When their work was disrupted by the Nazi occupation in 1938, London became their temporary home, as it did for a number of Freud's followers until his death.

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