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Freud, A. (1968). Willie Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.. Psychoanal. St. Child, 23:7-11.

(1968). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 23:7-11

Willie Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.

Anna Freud

Since Willie Hoffer's untimely death in 1967, appreciations of him as a person and of his work have been expressed on several occasions and are finding their way into print in our journals. What is described most frequently are his positive therapeutic approach to his analytic patients, his untiring efficiency as editor of the International Journal, his objective and conciliatory attitude to his colleagues, and his never-failing readiness to help, support and serve his friends. What is left for this Annual to emphasize, in addition to these traits, is the unique role he played in laying the foundations for a sound and well-planned approach to and study of children of all ages.

Willie Hoffer had an early initiation into the study of children in 1919 in Vienna. As friend and follower of Siegfried Bernfeld, he became his helpmate in a first experiment to apply psychoanalytic principles to education, i.e., to establish and run Kinderheim Baumgarten, a residential home for orphaned Jewish children and adolescents who were running wild as victims of the First World War. The disheartening experiences with this difficult venture, which turned Bernfeld into a skeptic, left Hoffer with intriguing problems and queries, many of which came nearer to be answered when August Aichhorn and his work with the "wayward youth" of the times entered the orbit of the Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society. From then onward, in many fascinating discussions, Hoffer maintained a position between Bernfeld's speculatively, highly theoretical attitude and Aichhorn's more down-to-earth, practical and positive approach to psychoanalytic education.


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