Only until April 18, 2022!


The exhibition ORGANIZED ESCAPE – SURVIVAL IN EXILE. VIENNESE PSYCHOANALYSIS 1938 AND BEYOND portrays the fates of the – mostly Jewish – psychoanalysts who had to leave Vienna after the “Anschluss”, the annexation of Austria into National Socialist Germany. Due to the efforts of the international psychoanalytic community, most members and candidates of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung, WPV) were able to flee. A particularity of this escape is the fact that emigration was organized collectively, and was successful but for a few exceptions. The members who had thus escaped being murdered substantially contributed to the further development and global dissemination of psychoanalysis in their new home countries.

The Organized Escape

In close consultation with Anna Freud, it was in particular the British psychoanalyst Ernest Jones who resolutely and persistently orchestrated the systematic rescue operation from London. In fact, all Viennese psychoanalysts under threat had managed to flee Vienna by spring 1939. Sigmund Freud had left the city by train with all his family on June 4, 1938, settling in London, where he died in September 1939. Not a single one of the emigrated WPV members was to return permanently to Vienna after the war.

Documents, Maps, Lists

The exhibition allows visitors to trace escape routes and shows bureaucratic and organizational efforts by presenting selected biographies, correspondences, historical documents and maps. The most important testimony to this organized escape is a list with names and annotations that Ernest Jones compiled in 1938. Audio and video interviews provide personal insights.

From Individual Historical Fates to Current Refugee Movements

On the basis of selected individual fates of members who fled Vienna, the exhibition illustrates the development of psychoanalysis in exile and its continued life in Vienna after the WPV was reestablished in 1946. The exhibition thus allows for a differentiated approach to questions that are still relevant today, regarding antisemitism and xenophobia as well as current refugee movements.

Digital and Analogue Exhibition

You can view the contents of the presentation in our online exhibitions

Curators of the exhibition were Daniela Finzi and Monika Pessler (Sigmund Freud Museum) in cooperation with the “Working Group on the History of Psychoanalysis“ (Thomas Aichhorn, Georg Augusta, Eva Kohout, Roman Krivanek, Nadja Pakesch, Alix Paulus and Katharina Seifert), which was initiated by the two International Psychoanalytic Association member institutions based in Vienna – the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (WPV) and the Vienna Psychoanalytic Association (WAP).


Special exhibition at the Sigmund Freud Museum
November 12, 2021 to April 18, 2022


Supported by

Stadt Wien – MA 7
Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich für Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (National Fund)
Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies
Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich
Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung
Wiener Arbeitskreis für Psychoanalyse
International Psychoanalytical Association
August Ruhs

Freund:innen des Sigmund Freud Museums
American Friends of the Sigmund Freud Museum


Archiv Thomas Aichhorn
Esther Freud


Scans and Materials:

Austen Riggs Center
Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
British Psychoanalytic Society
Columbia University Libraries
Freud Museum London
KHM Museumsverband
Library of Congress
The National Archives
New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung
Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv

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