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Alexander, F. (1940). Recollections of Berggasse 19. Psychoanal Q., 9:195-204.

(1940). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 9:195-204

Recollections of Berggasse 19

Franz Alexander

Sigmund Freud was unquestionably one of the most controversial figures of our time. Attempts to evaluate his contributions to psychiatry, to medical philosophy and to the social sciences already fill volumes. Now, after his death, the process of assimilation of his teachings continues and the final judgment rests with the future.

The intention here is not to evaluate his work but rather to recall a few impressions of him which may give a more vivid picture of this great man.

It was my good fortune to have known Freud and to have been in close contact with him from the time I became a psychoanalyst until I left Europe ten years ago. Since then I have seen him only on three occasions, the last time in the summer of 1935.

In 1920 when I became the first student to register at the Psychoanalytic Institute in Berlin, teaching of psychoanalysis was not organized and standardized as it is today. In fact, the founding of the Berlin Institute was the first step toward organized teaching. Up to that time teaching of psychoanalysis was like medieval medicine when students gathered around famous teachers. Teaching was a highly personal matter between students and teachers who knew each of their students well and took personal interest in their progress. A well organized curriculum and teaching staff, credits given for attendance, a number of obligatory and elective courses were unknown. To some degree in our small psychoanalytic institutes this personal relationship between teacher and student still obtains. In those earlier days Freud himself was the center of all psychoanalytic teaching.

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