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Fliess, R. (1948). Ernst Simmel—1882–1947. Psychoanal Q., 17:1-5.

(1948). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 17:1-5

Ernst Simmel—1882–1947

Robert Fliess

On November 11, 1947, Dr. Ernst Simmel died in Los Angeles at the age of sixty-five. His loss to us is incalculable, and the loss is sustained by many. The science of psychoanalysis has lost an ingenious worker, and the development, expansion and diffusion of psychoanalysis has lost the exponent of a policy without scientific compromise. Students have lost an inspiring teacher, and all who ever had contact with Ernst Simmel will mourn the man who so impressively influenced educators, medical men and lawyers in consultations, in meetings and in court.

Modest and unassuming but firm, patient and humorous, a theoretician possessed of convictions not always attainable by the slow process of thought, Simmel usually prevailed when a dialectician would have failed.

Outstanding though his written contributions were, it was Simmel, the clinician, the conversationalist, whom one most vividly recalls. He blended humor and its melancholic complement in such a fashion as to produce a mixture of serenity, liveliness and reticence, peculiar to him. The colloquial brevity of his expression, the incisiveness of his softly spoken sentences, his pensive approach to a problem, and the denouement—frequently after a reflective pause followed by a sudden resolution of the matter under discussion—gave the listener a rare experience. His understanding of his patients was so complete, the objective of his therapeutic endeavor so vivid, the recounting of interviews with his patients so dramatic, that when he made clinical reports the sickroom became a stage and he a performer whose inimitable impersonations were at once tragic and comic.

More than two decades have passed since, in the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society, Dr.

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