FREUD AND THE ÉMIGRÉ. Austrian Émigrés and Exiles and the Legacy of Psychoanalysis in Britain from the 1930s through the 1970s

Bildsujet Symposium (c) Sigmund Freud Privatstiftung

Symposium in German and English


Friday, November 9, 2018, 10:00 am – 6:45 pm, Sigmund Freud Museum, Berggasse 19, 1090 Vienna

Admission free, please register below

"Freud and the Émigré" addresses the seminal role of Sigmund Freud and his writings, as well as the part played by his students in the construction of Viennese heritage abroad through their influence on the creative license of Austrian émigrés and exiles in Britain. Émigré and exiled art historians, artists, authors, sociologists, and philosophers upheld Freud’s celebrity aura as a “memory image” of a lost Viennese home, and as such a nostalgic icon of their coming of age in Vienna, as well as an idealized recollection of a turn of the century “Intellectual Vienna”. These émigrés, who would become significant international thinkers and producers, further applied Freud’s lessons in their creative endeavors as they adapted to new experiences abroad, contributing to the renewal of British culture. Thus, in many ways Freud was a touchstone of Austrian culture and intellect even as Austrians were forced out of their homeland during the crises approaching the mid-century. How did their Freudian heritage help Austrian cultural producers come to terms with political and social exclusion, Nazi Germany’s brutal persecutions and the horrors of World War II? After such traumatic losses of belongings, homes, and homeland, and with the subsequent hardships they faced as they integrated into British culture, can we better understand their reclamation of identity and re-location of self through their attachment to and investment in Freud’s lessons? How did these émigrés and exiles develop new, hybrid Viennese-British identities and a pointedly Freudian cultural language?

The symposium "Freud and the Émigré" presents new research on the subject of Freud’s role in the lives of émigrés and exiles, exploring the way these figures accessed Freudian thinking and fashioned their own Freudian language. Distanced from home, these important cultural producers used their Viennese/Austrian heritage to their advantage, contributing to the renewal of culture at a critical time.

Programme (PDF for download):

10.00 – 12.00  Panel 1: Freud’s Lessons and Émigrés' Civic and Political Engagements During and Post-WWII

Opening remarks by Elana Shapira (in English)

Louis Rose: Exile and War Work: Ernst Kris and E. H. Gombrich in London and New York (in English)

Michal Shapira: Anna Freud Shaping Child Education and Promoting "Democratic Citizenship" in Britain (in English)

Moderated by Elisabeth Brainin


12.15 – 13.45  Panel 2: Viennese Cultural Networks in Britain

Werner Michler: Intellectual hero, most beloved master. Stefan Zweig and Sigmund Freud (in German)

Lisa Silverman: Hilde Spiel’s Freud: Jews, Exile, and a Viennese Legacy (in English)

Moderated by Deborah Holmes


15.00 – 16.30  Panel 3: Authorship and Psychoanalysis in Film and Art

Laura Marcus: Émigrés, Exiles and Strangers: Berthold Viertel and 1930s Cinema in Britain (in English)

Régine Bonnefoit: The Psychoanalyzed Artist – Hodin’s book Oskar Kokoschka. Eine Psychographie (OK. A Psychography) (in German)

Moderated by Katharina Prager


16.45 – 18.15  Panel 4: Vienna and Beyond – Freud’s Heritage and Strategies of Cultural Renewal

Elana Shapira: Marie Jahoda Deconstructing Freud (in English)

Mitchell Ash: Whose/Which "Freud"? Social Context and Discourse Analysis of the "Controversial Discussions" (in English)

Moderated by Lisa Silverman


18.15 – 18.45 Closing remarks by Friedrich Stadler (in German)

The two-day symposium starts on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 6 pm with the keynote lecture The Promised Land: Freud’s Dream of England (in German) by Liliane Weissberg at the Sigmund Freud Museum, Berggasse 19, 1090 Vienna. For more information click here ...
Concept by Elana Shapira, University of Applied Arts ViennaFWF project leader "Visionary Vienna: Design and Society 1918-1934" & Daniela Finzi, research director of the Sigmund Freud Museum

Our members of the Society of Friends of the Sigmund Freud Museum get a seat reservation. Please contact:


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