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Lowenfeld, Y. (1982). Ein Leben Für Die Psychoanalyse. Anmerkungen Zu Meiner Zeit. (A Life for Psychoanalysis. Remarks on my Times.): By Alexander Mitscherlich. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1980. 323 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 51:642-644.

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(1982). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 51:642-644

Ein Leben Für Die Psychoanalyse. Anmerkungen Zu Meiner Zeit. (A Life for Psychoanalysis. Remarks on my Times.): By Alexander Mitscherlich. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1980. 323 pp.

Review by:
Yela Lowenfeld

One may call this book an intellectual autobiography or, even better, a psychological one. The author looks back upon his life's development with the eyes of a psychoanalyst. He concentrates upon those influences and factors which seem to him to have had the strongest impact upon him. Devoting a good deal of space to recollections of his childhood, he describes the way in which his parents, the social climate, and his environment seem to have formed his character. Mitscherlich was born and raised in a provincial town in Bavaria as the only child of a well-to-do factory owner. His childhood was lonely and joyless. His father, reactionary and unbending, had little understanding for his shy and musing son. His mother, although warm-hearted, was not strong enough to provide an emotionally secure surrounding for him. His loneliness became even more painful in grammar school where his classmates were the children of the factory workers. They treated him, the director's son, with aggressive contempt, as he was better dressed than they were and was refined and shy. He felt awkward, isolated, and guilty. He dates his never diminishing interest in social problems and in mass psychology to these early school years.

In his adolescence he searched for a mentor whom he could admire and love. He respected the strength of his father, but he could not love him. It was particularly difficult to find his ideal in those years of rapidly growing National Socialism. From the very beginning he abhorred the brutality and racism. His first personal experience with Nazi ideology took place at the University of Munich. He was studying history and working on his doctoral thesis under a Jewish professor. After that professor's death in 1932 his successor refused to continue the work, declaring that studies done under a Jew were worthless.

Mitscherlich understood immediately that it would be meaningless and dishonest to study history in the climate of National Socialism. He

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