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Reppen, J. (2003). Ludwig Binswanger and Sigmund Freud: Portrait of a Friendship. Psychoanal. Rev., 90(3):281-291.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Review, 90(3):281-291

Ludwig Binswanger and Sigmund Freud: Portrait of a Friendship

Joseph Reppen

On October 2, 1939, following the death of Sigmund Freud, Ludwig Binswanger (Fichtner, 2003) wrote to Martha and Anna Freud:

I had to take some time to assimilate the news of the death of your dear husband…. Hence I find it very hard to offer you my condolences like an outsider…. I have no wish to intrude upon your grief, it is as sacred to me as is the memory of him who has departed.

You know that it was not just his scientific accomplishment and genius that bound me to him…. Much more decisive was that I was deeply receptive, over the decades, to the greatness and the indomitable spiritual and moral force of his personality. But underlying all that was my love for him, which from the day of our first meeting in Vienna in 1907 has remained unchanged to this day…nothing made me happier than his statement a few years ago that we had kept faith with each other for twenty-five years. But above all I shall never forget that in 1913 [actually, 1912] he interrupted his strenuous professional round to visit me here in Kreuzlingen after I told him that I was seriously ill. (no. -191B, pp. 219-220)

On November 7th, Martha Freud (Fichtner, 2003) wrote to Binswanger in reply:

What a good thing, dear Dr. Binswanger, that you knew him when he was still in the prime of life, for at the end he suffered so terribly that even those who would have loved to have kept him forever longed for his release.

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