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Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1942). Psychoanalysis of Antisemitism: Otto Fenichel. Amer. Imago, I, 1940, pp. 25–39.. Psychoanal Q., 11:130-130.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalysis of Antisemitism: Otto Fenichel. Amer. Imago, I, 1940, pp. 25–39.

(1942). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 11:130-130

Psychoanalysis of Antisemitism: Otto Fenichel. Amer. Imago, I, 1940, pp. 25–39.

Frieda Fromm-Reichmann

Methodologically and conceptually, Fenichel has made a valuable contribution. He has avoided the pitfall of uncritical application of mechanisms operating in individuals to society and, as in some of his former publications, emphasizes the importance of 'sociological, historical and political points of view' for all investigations of mass psychology. Psychoanalysis in 'coming of age' adds sociological viewpoints to its basic psychological and biological aspects without losing track of the basic significance of the latter.

In accordance with this method, Fenichel investigates the irrational reasons for the position of the Jew in modern society as a scapegoat for both the oppressor and the oppressed. The oppressor offers him to the masses, and the oppressed gladly use him as a target for their resentment against oppression and oppressor. For Fenichel this derives from the circumstance that the Jew (for archaic and actual reasons) is a foreigner in his gentile environment, as foreign and uncanny to those around him as is the unconscious to the individual ego. Consequently the Jew well serves to become 'unconsciously for the antisemite, at one and the same time, the one against whom he would like to rebel and the rebellious tendencies inside himself'.

These observations are not presented as the single ultimate explanation of a complex problem, but as one timely contribution to psychoanalytic research. Fenichel reviews briefly the hypotheses of Freud and of other authors.

More recently, the point of view, developed on the basis of historical and psychoanalytic studies, and not incompatible with Fenichel's findings, has been presented by W. V. Silverberg that the Jew represents an unloved, oversevere superego.

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Article Citation

Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1942). Psychoanalysis of Antisemitism. Psychoanal. Q., 11:130-130

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