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Binswanger, L. (1939). Letter from Ludwig Binswanger to Martha and Anna Freud, October 2, 1939. The Sigmund Freud-Ludwig Binswanger Correspondence 1908-1938, 219-220.
Binswanger, L. (1939). Letter from Ludwig Binswanger to Martha and Anna Freud, October 2, 1939. The Sigmund Freud-Ludwig Binswanger Correspondence 1908-1938, 219-220
Letter from Ludwig Binswanger to Martha and Anna Freud, October 2, 1939
2 October 1939
[To Martha and Anna Freud]
Dear Frau Professor Freud, Dear Fräulein Anna.
I had to take some time to assimilate the news of the death of your dear husband and father1 before I felt able to write to you, since in losing him it was as if I had lost a close member of my own family. Hence I find it very hard to offer you my condolences like an outsider. I feel very close to you right now, as if I were one of you, like a son or brother. You may gauge the extent of my sympathy, if you will, by the fact that, after the death of your husband and father, I feel even more closely attached to you than before. I have no wish to intrude upon your grief, it is as sacred to me as is the memory of him who has departed.
You know that it was not just his scientific accomplishment and genius that bound me to him, nor his crucial influence on my entire scientific career. Much more decisive was that I was deeply receptive, over the decades, to the greatness and the indomitable spiritual and moral force of his personality. But underlying all that was my love for him, which from the day of our first meeting in Vienna in 1907 has remained unchanged to this day. It was my greatest good fortune that your husband and father was sensible to this love and that he responded to it with unfailing friendship. In our correspondence, nothing made me happier than his statement a few years ago that we had kept faith with each other for twenty-five years.2 But above all I shall never forget that in 1913 he interrupted his strenuous professional round to visit me here in Kreuzlingen after I had told him that I was seriously ill.
That visit was one of the most remarkable demonstrations of personal friendship I have ever experienced. It always distressed me that I was unable to repay this act of friendship with a similar act of my own. There was one occasion when I hoped I might do so, namely when the change took place in Vienna and I wrote to offer him refuge with us.3 I was, however, happy to learn then that he had been given so affectionate a reception in England. And his last letter from there confirmed that he had not forgotten me.
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