From Vienna to the US: Expulsion and Renaissance of Psychoanalysis

Panel discussion by the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York



Daniela Finzi, Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna

Elisabeth Frischauf, neuro-psychiatrist, artist and poet, New York

Nellie L. Thompson, New York Psychoanalytical Society and Institute/Sigmund Freud Archives at the Library of Congress

Moderation: Jane G. Tillman, Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA


Wednesday, June 7, 2023, 7 pm (EST)

Austrian Cultural Forum New York, 11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022


Registration required: To participate, please register here with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

After the “Anschluss”, the annexation of Austria into National Socialist Germany, numerous members and candidates of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung, WPV) were affected by increased oppression, racialized attacks and antisemitic legislation. With the commitment and support of the international psychoanalytic community, all threatened Viennese psychoanalysts and candidates left Vienna by spring 1939. The majority emigrated to the US, with a particularly large contingent coming to New York. In contrast to Europe, where the science of the unconscious met with resistance at the universities, psychoanalysis was well-established in the US by the 1930s. For some Viennese emigrants, American exile provided opportunities that would have remained closed to them elsewhere. At the New York Psychoanalytic Society, which was the most influential and largest psychoanalytic association in the US, Viennese emigrants were the majority of members by the end of the war. Former WPV members held important positions in the Training Committee, on the Board of Directors and in the outpatient clinic, and only a few returned to Austria after the end of the war.

The panel will discuss the historical events and biographies of Viennese émigré analysts and will consider their influence on psychoanalysis in the decades to follow. The event will take place in the context of the exhibition “Organized Escape. Psychoanalysts in Exile”, originally from the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna and opening at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA, on June 3rd (on display until October 16th, 2023).


Dr. Daniela Finzi is a literature and cultural historian. She is a researcher and curator at the Sigmund Freud Museum since 2009 and she has been scientific director and board member of the Sigmund Freud Privatstiftung since 2016. She studied German Philology and Theatre Studies in Salzburg, Vienna, Paris and Berlin and completed the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program “Cultures of Difference. Transformation in Central Europe” at the University of Vienna. Her research interests are Psychoanalytical Cultural Theory, Exile Studies and Gender Studies.

Elisabeth Frischauf is a neuro-psychiatrist, artist and poet who lives and works in New York. After downsizing her medical practice in the early 2000, she concentrates on poetry writing and sculpting clay.

Nellie L. Thompson, PhD, is an historian and member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Curator of the A.A. Brill Library’s Archives and Special Collections, a member of the Board of the Sigmund Freud Archives, and chair of the IPA Committee on the History of Psychoanalysis. Her research interests include the writings of mid-20th century analysts and the role of women psychoanalysts in the psychoanalytic movement, both as institutional actors and contributors to psychoanalytic theory and clinical work. She has published over 25 papers; most recently, “Marjorie Brierley’s Contributions to Psychoanalysis” in Translation/Transformation 100 Years of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and forthcoming, “Émigré Analysts and the Transformation of American Psychoanalysis” in The Émigré Analysts and American Psychoanalysis.

Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA. A board certified clinical psychologist and a psychoanalyst, she is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Centerand a Teaching Associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tillman is an Associate Editor for the Psychoanalytic Quarterly, and on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Psychology. She served two terms at the chair of the Ethics Committee for Division 39. Dr. Tillman’s primary research interest is in the area of suicide assessment, intervention, and postvention, and she has completed several externally funded studies in this area.


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