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Roazen, P. (1990). Freud's Last Will: Introduction by Paul Roazen. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 18(3):383-385.

(1990). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 18(3):383-385

Freud's Last Will: Introduction by Paul Roazen

Paul Roazen

On moving to England Freud wrote a new will; he arrived in London on June 6, 1938, and the will is dated July 28, 1938. There is nothing surprising in this action, since in a fresh legal jurisdiction he needed a new instrument to take appropriate care of his estate. He was already over 82 years old and had had cancer of the jaw for more than 15 years. It does seem to me remarkable that although the will has been readily available since being probated in 1939, until now it has not appeared in print. It should be scrutinized by those expertly knowledgeable in such matters if historians are going to understand properly the significance of Freud's last testament.

The current catalogue of the Freud Collection at the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. indicates that their copy of the will remains sealed until the year 2007. Such a restriction, established by Kurt R. Eissler on behalf of the Freud archives in New York City and maintained by his successor as head of that organization, makes little sense in that the document is a public record in London.

According to the probate registry filed on December 1, 1939, Freud bequeathed a net estate, after taxes, of some 15,979 British pounds. In addition, before leaving Vienna Freud and his younger brother Alexander (who moved to Toronto) provided their four sisters in Vienna with the sum of about $22,400 (Jones, 1957). Freud, then, by the end of his life was pretty well off, although it is possible that like other great men he remained relatively unaware of the extent of his personal assets. While still in Vienna, with the help especially of his eldest son Martin, Freud had been prudently (if illegally) keeping money abroad. When on March 22, 1938 the Gestapo arrested Anna Freud and took her away for the day, it is almost certain that their main interest was in questioning her about Freud's finances.

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