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Zimmerman, M. (1990). Memories of Susan Deri. Psychoanal. Rev., 77(4):475-477.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Review, 77(4):475-477

Memories of Susan Deri

Muriel Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Susan Deri was born on July 1, 1915, the last child of Blanka and Kornel Korosy. She was the youngest by five years of four children, having two older brothers and one sister. The home also included a German nurse for all of the children and a nurse employed specifically for Susan. Susan's mother, however, supervised the home and was in charge of the children's care. Susan's father was a highly esteemed physician, a professor of physiology and genetics at the University of Budapest, as well as one of the leaders of the Zionist movement in Hungary.

Demonstrating an exceptional intelligence very early on, Susan always excelled in school. Her interests included the violin and she showed high musical aptitude even as a little girl. After gymnasium, she attended the Institute for Therapeutic Pedagogy, where psychiatrist Lipot Szondi taught. (The result of her work with him will be discussed below.) At the Psychoanalytic Institute in Budapest, which she next attended, she was considered one of the most promising students and future contributors to the Hungarian psychoanalytic movement, a movement that was soon devastated by the Nazis.

She married Otto Deri, a fine cellist, who in 1941 came to New York to teach at the Juilliard School. His aim in coming here was to establish residence in order to get a visa so that Susan could join him. In the meantime, Hungary entered the war on the side of Germany and preparations for Susan's journey to America became very difficult. Finally, a route via Austria and Switzerland, through Vichy France to Lisbon materialized. She left Hungary in November 1941, shortly before the U.S. entered the war. Thus, Susan and Otto had to establish themselves in a new country as immigrants from an enemy state.

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