The friends who saved Freud from the Nazis were deeply damaged – and completely loyal

BOOK OF THE WEEK 

SAVING FREUD 

by Andrew Nagorski (Icon £20, 336pp) 

With enemies like these, you do want buddies. This was the life-lesson — and certainly the life-saving lesson — that Sigmund Freud discovered in 1938, when the Nazis walked into his beloved house metropolis of Vienna and began terrorising the Jewish inhabitants. 

When your enemies are the Nazis, you needn’t simply any buddies, however ones in excessive locations who’ll swing into motion, pull strings with the Gestapo, negotiate the extortionate ‘flight taxes’ and type out the difficult paperwork in two nations that may allow you to flee to security. 

Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna arrive in Paris in 1938, just after fleeing Austria from the Nazis

Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna arrive in Paris in 1938, simply after fleeing Austria from the Nazis 

In his fascinating new e book Saving Freud, American creator Andrew Nagorski items collectively the story of an eccentric bunch of buddies and admirers of Freud, who did exactly this for the person they revered. Thanks to their single-minded efforts, not solely Freud himself however 24 members of his prolonged household managed to to migrate to England in June 1938. 

Freud comes throughout as infinitely extra likeable than within the 2017 demolition of him by Frederick Crews, who portrayed him (as I summed it up in these pages) as ‘the most vile, medically useless, misogynistic, snobbish, petulant, jealous, crazy, sexobsessed creep you could ever hope not to look up at from a couch.’ 

Nagorski resets the stability right here, depicting him as a kindly previous cigar addict with oral most cancers, a household man of standard habits, who relished his fame and success however by no means took them without any consideration. The love of his life appears to have been not his spouse Martha (mom of their six kids), however his daughter Anna, who ministered to him like an unflagging nurse and angel. 

Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (center), escorted by Marie Bonaparte (Princess Marie of Greece), a French psychoanalyst and wife of Prince George of Greece, and by American ambassador to France William Bullitt, shortly after his arrival in Paris after leaving Vienna en route to London

Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (heart), escorted by Marie Bonaparte (Princess Marie of Greece), a French psychoanalyst and spouse of Prince George of Greece, and by American ambassador to France William Bullitt, shortly after his arrival in Paris after leaving Vienna en path to London

In the individuals who got here below his spell from 1905 onwards, Freud impressed a fierce and lifelong devotion. His disciples, who would finally play their half in saving his life, had been all broken in numerous methods. One will get the sense that Freud was a magnet for the broken. 

Here’s the motley crowd. Ernest Jones, Welsh psychoanalyst, met Freud by means of Jung in 1908, and was enchanted by his theories. Jones had been accused of indecent behaviour by two pupils at a college for ‘mental defectives’, and was then accused by a ‘severe hysteric’ of getting intercourse together with her. He fought to save lots of his status, grew to become president of the British Psychoanalytical Society and married his Viennese secretary, who had been launched to him by Freud. 

Marie Bonaparte, great-grandniece of Napoleon, got here to Vienna to be handled by Freud in 1925, when she was unhappily married to Prince George of Greece and unable to realize orgasm. She and Freud fell immediately in platonic love with one another. She known as him ‘dear Father’ in her copious letters to him written from her grand home in Paris. 

Freud didn’t handle to treatment her orgasm downside, although, and she or he went forward with a mad operation to have her clitoris moved nearer to her vagina — which didn’t do the trick both. 

American author Andrew Nagorski pieces together the story of an eccentric bunch of friends and admirers of Freud

American creator Andrew Nagorski items collectively the story of an eccentric bunch of buddies and admirers of Freud

William Bullitt, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, 35 years youthful than Freud, got here below his spell when he visited Vienna within the mid-Twenties, and each males agreed strongly that the Treaty of Versailles was a catastrophe: not a recipe for peace however a recipe for continued battle. The two males co-wrote a e book psycho analysing Woodrow Wilson, which was not printed until 1967. 

It was Bullitt’s suggestion that led to the appointment of his former No. 2 in Moscow, John Wiley, because the U.S. Consul General in Vienna in 1937, with a particular task of holding a protecting eye on Freud’s household. 

Then there was Max Schur, Freud’s private doctor, who noticed the approaching hazard and made preparations for his circle of relatives to to migrate to the U.S. But, bravely, he stayed on in Austria to take care of Freud. And it was Schur who would inject him with the doses of morphine that may ease him into demise on 23 September 1939, when his oral most cancers grew to become unendurable. 

Why hadn’t Freud emigrated earlier within the Nineteen Thirties? His son Ernst (father of Clement, Lucian and Stephen) had foreseen the approaching hazard and obtained out in 1933. But Sigmund was in a state of deep, nearly pathological denial. When the Nazis burned his books in 1933 — considered one of them declaiming, simply earlier than throwing them onto the hearth, ‘Against the soul-destroying over-estimation of the sex-life, and on behalf of the nobility of the human soul, I offer to the flames the writings of one Sigmund Freud!’ — Freud naively remarked, ‘In the Middle Ages they would have burned me; nowadays they are content with burning my books.’ 

SAVING FREUD by Andrew Nagorski (Icon £20, 336pp)

SAVING FREUD by Andrew Nagorski (Icon £20, 336pp)

That was a reversal of Heinrich Heine’s astute comment on that very same topic: ‘Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.’ 

Freud may need been a world professional on the human psyche, however he was removed from being the Mystic Meg of present affairs. 

‘The brutalities in Germany seem to be diminishing,’ he stated blithely in mid-1933, whereas 1000’s had been being carted off to Dachau. And, ‘A nation that produced Goethe could not possibly go to the bad.’ Wrong, unsuitable, unsuitable. But his thoughts could be modified, finally, just some days after the Nazis marched into Vienna, when a gang of armed Nazi brownshirts barged in to his condominium. 

His spouse Martha politely requested them to place their weapons within the umbrella stand within the corridor. She obtained all of the money in the home and stated, ‘Would the gentlemen like to help themselves?’ They did, and left saying, ‘Herr Professor, we’ll be again.’

On that very same day, Nazi thugs marched into Freud’s publishing home a couple of doorways down, and held his son Martin at gunpoint whereas raiding the workplace for incriminating proof. A couple of days later, Anna was taken away by the Gestapo for a day of interrogation. Freud knew the household wanted to depart, and quick. 

‘Operation Freud’ swung into gear. In Britain, Ernest Jones went straight to the highest, securing an introduction to Home Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare, who gave carte blanche for entry permits for the entire prolonged Freud household. John Wiley made positive an American diplomatic automobile draped within the U.S. flag was parked all day exterior Freud’s condominium, laying aside the Nazis, who didn’t but need to make enemies of the Americans. Marie Bonaparte paid the entire flight tax, amounting to the worth of 1 / 4 of Freud’s property. 

And off they had been whisked, first to Paris in two personal compartments of the Orient Express, after which to London — with Freud’s beloved chow canine Lün, who needed to go straight into quarantine at Dover. 

And Freud might die within the freedom of the nation he known as ‘This England …a blessed, a happy country inhabited by well-meaning, hospitable people.’ 

His 4 youthful sisters, who didn’t handle to get out, would die in focus camps. Were it not for these buddies, this may nearly definitely have been the destiny of Freud and nearly all of that fortunate celebration who boarded the Orient Express on June 5, 1938. 

If solely six million different Jews had had such buddies in excessive locations.