Science & Technology

The ‘organized escape’ of psychoanalysts from Austria during Nazi occupation

By Wanda Rudich

Vienna, Dec 5 (EFE).- When Nazi troops entered Austria in 1938, Vienna’s psychoanalysis experts, most of them Jews, managed to escape the country to save their lives in an “organized escape”.

Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, was one of those who managed to flee the country.

In a multimedia exhibition at the Freud Museum in Vienna, visitors can see how the collective managed to leave the country in just a few months.

Entitled ‘Organized escape – continuing to live in exile. Viennese psychoanalysis after 1938,’ the exhibition is based on a historical study conducted by psychoanalyst Thomas Aichhorn in cooperation with the Viennese Psychoanalytic Association (WVP).

The exhibition displays letters, maps, documents, biographies, interviews and explains how the escape routes reflect both the fate of the exiles and their influence on psychoanalysis.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a list of 90 names associated with the WVP in 1938 that Aichhorn discovered in London in the archives of the British Psychoanalytic Association (BPS).

The documents show how the escape from Vienna was an action organized by the International Psychoanalytic Association (I.P.A.).

“He has nothing yet. United States. He was in Berlin in prison. Wrote to Dr. Gross in Manchester, see his letter of 3.5.38. Has an affidavit from Langer. He got money for 3 tickets from Edith Buxbaum,” one of the many documents reads.

“In times when there were no computers, this list served as an instrument to centrally update the situation of each psychoanalyst,” curator of the exhibition, Daniela Finzi, told Efe.

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