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Abrams, S. (1983). Dr Max H. Stern. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 10:367-367.

(1983). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 10:367-367

Dr Max H. Stern

Samuel Abrams


Dr Max H. Stern was born in Frankfurt on 28 September, 1895 and died in New York City on 8 July, 1982. For more than thirty years he was a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Institute of the New York University Medical Center (formerly the Downstate Psychoanalytic Institute).

Dr Stern's life might easily be described as one beset by the calamitous events of our century. A hemorrhaging peptic ulcer contracted during his military service in World War I left him intermittently disabled and hospitalized for ten years. Forced to flee Germany by the Nazis, first to Paris and then to Palestine, he was beset by an unremitting sequence of infectious tropical diseases. And there were personal tragedies too.

The life he lived, however, was not calamitous—it was a triumphant one. He restored his health; he acquired a medical education, social chaos or no; he converted the flight from his first home into the opportunity to become a psychoanalyst in Palestine, and the forced flight from infectious ailments to the opportunity to create a distinguished career in America. After his wife was killed in a traffic accident, he initiated a new relationship that proved warm and stimulating until his passing.

Dr Stern was quite fond of music (especially Lieder), the theatre, and he was a passionate art collector specializing in German expressionist paintings. He engaged his science with equivalent vigor. Alloying enthusiasm with innovation, he attempted an integration of biology and psychoanalysis. His book, 'The Teleonomic Theory of Psychoanalysis' encompassing much of his views and proposals, will soon be published.

Dr Stern leaves this legacy to his colleagues and students: an object lesson in personal heroism and a practical demonstration of the integration of art, science, and life.


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