Outside his office door at the 1960's University of Oslo, Kjell von Krogh surprised two students of psychology, when inviting us to become his teaching assistants. Committed to teaching himself, he instructed us in clinical use of intelligence tests, a modern and unconventional use of these tests, the topic of the coming semester. Later, when working as a young psychologist on a psychiatric ward, Kjell's way became relevant and most useful in diagnostic work when distinguishing a depressive from a mentally reduced condition.
Kjell translated Erik H Erikson's Childhood and society and gave the manuscript to his students for their comments. His enthusiasm was contagious, keeping us dedicated for life to Erikson's theory of the life cycle in The eight ages of man.
Did we know his point-of-departure? Who and what influenced him? What made him study psychology in 1947, an unconventional choice? Why leave Norway to go to the USA as “visiting professor” with a wife and three small children, so sporty and exciting in our eyes?
We were accustomed to his lively ways and vital personality ― far from the withdrawn, quiet Norwegian mentality and way of life, and we met Nini, his wife, and the children, at their home at an unforgettable dinner party for the “Clinical Department” of the Psychological Institute.
At his death, we have learned that he was the oldest of three, born in November 1927, at Sætre outside Oslo, that he grew up in a house in a Swiss Chalet Style in a large garden, a gifted piano-player, an opponent to all totalitarian systems, living in a neighbourhood with both a dynamite factory guarded by occupant soldiers and a Russian-Serb prisoner of war camp during World War II.
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