A few months ago, a book that had once belonged to Sigmund Freud was added to the archives of the Sigmund Freud Museum. It is a French–German dictionary dating from 1852 that Freud presumably used as a schoolboy. He noted his name on the endpaper – written first in pencil and later inked in. Below is a pencilled portrait of a gentleman with side-whiskers, monocle and stiff collar accompanied by the caption “Monsieur” – Freud would seem to have captured the likeness of his French teacher, probably in the course of one less than captivating lesson. We do not know whether the book was already sold before the Freuds emigrated into exile in London in 1938 or whether it was seized as part of the Nazis’ expropriation of Jewish property, thus changing hands. What is known is that, by the end of the war, Freud’s school-book, with a sketch in the boy’s own hand, adorned the library of Julius Streicher, Gauleiter of the Nazi Party and publisher of the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer. The books in this collection were handed over to the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (Jewish religious community) in Nuremberg in the years following the war, where they were kept safely. It is thanks to the commitment of Leibl Rosenberg, the custodian of the IKG collection, that this find was unearthed and brought to our attention – and to the generosity of Prof. Sophie Freud, Sigmund Freud’s granddaughter, that this special item has found its way back to Vienna in the form of a donation.
“‘New dictionary of the French and German language for the use of all professions, containing all current and new words of both languages together with explanations and an indication of their various meanings in the proper and figurative sense, expressions peculiar to the sciences, arts and trades, proverbs, the peculiarities of the French and German language, etc., and an index of male and female proper names, countries, cities, peoples, etc., and irregular verbs.’ Edited from the best sources by a. Molé. Part one: French–German.”, Braunschweig 1852