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Battegay, R. (1993). Freud Et Le Sionisme: By Jacquy Chemouni. Malakoff, France: Editions Solin, 1988, 302 pp., FF 160.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:899-903.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:899-903

Freud Et Le Sionisme: By Jacquy Chemouni. Malakoff, France: Editions Solin, 1988, 302 pp., FF 160.

Review by:
Raymond Battegay, M.D.

This interesting book confronts the reader in a comprehensive way with the history not only of psychoanalysis and Zionism, but also of the Europe of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century. It demonstrates the author's wide knowledge of scientific as well as belletristic literature, and is very readable. Chemouni shows Sigmund Freud as a conscientious Jew, in spite of not being attached to the religion of his ancestors. Unlike Einstein, Freud did not have close ties to Zionism, but he supported some Zionist organizations by letters of approval.

In spite of Freud's conscious opposition to assimilation and to abolition of the Jewish identity, which is perhaps too much stressed by the author, he underwent, especially in his younger years, at least some unconscious identification with the enemy, a tendency which was not only typical for himself, but for the majority of the Jews from Germany and Austria of his time. In this way, as Chemouni underlines, Freud himself confesses clearly that in his youth he had a phase in which he was a strong German nationalist. He also was member of "the book club of German students in Vienna" (Leseverein der deutschen Studenten Wiens) which promoted a Dionysian and antiliberal ideology centered on the ideas of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wagner. According to the author, this affiliation influenced Freud's thinking. The members of this Leseverein felt attracted by the German nationalist spirit, and Freud was no exception.

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