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Sebek, M. (1993). Psychoanalysis in Czechoslovakia. Psychoanal. Rev., 80(3):433-439.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Review, 80(3):433-439

Psychoanalysis in Czechoslovakia

Michael Sebek, Ph.D.

A remarkable event occurred in the history of Moravia (a part of Czechoslovakia) in the middle of last century. Sigmund Freud was born in Moravian Freiberg (in Czech, Pfibor) in 1856. Small Sigmund spent the first three years of his life in this provincial town. The importance of the Czech maids Monika Zajic and Magdalena Kabat — both were signed on as Dienstmagd with Emanuel Freud —in Freud's early experience is known.

Routes of psychoanalysis in Czechoslovakia were not easy, definitely not easier than in other European countries, in spite of the fact that Freud's native town was there. The first pioneer of psychoanalysis was Jaroslav Stuchlik, the Czech psychiatrist. He surrounded himself with a group of physicians in Slovakia in the 1920s. The other group originated in Prague around the Russian emigre Niko-laj J. Osipov. Stuchlik and Osipov became acquainted with Freud and corresponded with him. During the 1920s, the importance of Osipov's group grew. Osipov lectured in psychoanalytic psychiatry at Charles University in Prague. Osipov and Stuchlik had initiated the idea of the commemorative plaque that was installed on Freud's home in Freiberg on October 25, 1931. Anna Freud took part in the celebration and Sigmund Freud, at that time 75 years old, sent a letter of greeting to participants.

Although the psychoanalytic movement in the 1920s and the 1930s was developing, especially in Prague, its social, scientific, and therapeutic influence was relatively small. The social climate of the new Czechoslovakian republic, which was founded in 1918 after 300 years of hegemony of the Austrian monarchy, did not favor too much anything from Vienna. Furthermore, the first Czechoslovakian president, Tomas Masaryk, a philosophical and political authority, did not like psychoanalysis.

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