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Spiegel, R. (1975). II Survival of Psychoanalysis in Nazi Germany. Contemp. Psychoanal., 11:479-491.

(1975). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 11:479-491

II Survival of Psychoanalysis in Nazi Germany

Rose Spiegel, M.D.

AS PART OF THE THIRD REICH'S PLANNED annihilation of "non-Aryans, " and the humanistic orientation, the Hitler period ushered in virulent attacks upon the "decadent Jewish science of psychoanalysis"—actually as symbol of superego and the autonomy of the individual.

As early as January 1933, analysts in Germany recognized the writing on the wall and prepared for the oncoming holocaust. One desperate response was the flight from Germany, and its later satellites, of Jewish and other analysts in danger of their very existence. But that was not the only response of the endangered analysts, nor of those others who seemingly were safe.

We are familiar with that intellectual migration, and with the enormous contribution made to the host countries by these talented and courageous emigrés. And it is easy to conclude that their migration indeed resulted in the extinction of psychoanalysis on the Continent during the years of World War II. Actually, the flight of the analysts, on the whole, was planned departure and not a rout; and there also was planning for survival in Europe. The picture in the different countries was variegated, with the most startling paradox in Nazi Germany itself.

Freud: The Mythic Father

All through the 30s, European psychoanalysis was shadowed by the ill-omened Hitlerism. Of course, the monumental figure, symbol as well as person, was Freud, who stood out against the background of analysts who, regardless of being Jewish or non-Jewish, worked zealously together from the very beginning of Hitler's rise to protect psychoanalysis as a functioning profession, and to help psychoanalysts survive as persons and professionals.

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