? Freundlichkeit und Gemuchlicheit | Main | Past Life Analysis ?

August 25, 2003

Berggasse 19, Vienna


March 22, 1938 Sigmund Freud's daughter Anna was taken into custody and interrogated by the Gestapo. She had with her a lethal dose of Veronal given to her by the family doctor in case she should need it. Anna was released but the shock was enough to convince the family it was time to flee Austria and their beloved apartments at Berggasse 19. It was the right decision. Four of Freud's sisters would later be murdered at the hands of the Nazis along with so many of his neighbours.

International attention to Freud's circumstances combined with diplomatic pressure to allow him and his immediate family to emigrate to England along with the contents of his home and office. It would disrupt decades of life and work at Bergasse 19. Freud's friend August Aichhorn decided it was important to document Freud's office, consulting room and the meeting place of the Wednesday Psychological Society and to this end he enlisted Edmund Engelman to photograph Freud's apartments in the hope "a museum can be created when the storm of the years is over."

It must have seemed a faint hope at the time. The Freud Museum in Vienna is an expression of Aichhorn's desire made possible in part by Engleman's clandestine photos. An almost neurotic care is evident is the slightly off-kilter placement of a picture in Freud's waiting room. The question will haunt me. Was the picture askew by chance or did Freud leave it that way to catch people like me who would compulsively straighten it while waiting for an appointment?

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 25, 2003 11:29 AM