Sophie Freud 1924 – 2022

Sophie Freud on the balcony of her house. Picture taken by Peter Noemaier on his visit to her home in 2019.

On Friday, June 3, 2022, in her 98th year, Miriam Sophie Freud passed away in her sleep in Massachusetts, USA. Sigmund Freud's granddaughter regularly visited her grandparents with her brother Anton Walter at Berggasse 19, Vienna, before they fled Vienna in 1938. In recent decades, too, one could meet her at Freud's former place of work, even though, as a psychologist, social pedagogue, and social scientist, she was quite skeptical about her grandfather's profession. I remember well our first meeting, which took place in 2015 over cake and tea in the former "Herrenzimmer" - as Sophie explained to me with a twinkle in her eye: In a very personal conversation, she shared her childhood memories and also described how she later dealt with the consequences of the war and especially her history of flight and the relation to that part of the family that, like her father Martin and brother, went into exile in London, while she, left behind in Paris with her mother Ernestine, escaped the Nazi terror in 1942 only closely by fleeing to the USA via Portugal. Despite these formative youth experiences, which she, among other things, impressively conveys in her book "Im Schatten der Familie Freud" (In the Shadow of the Freud Family, 2006), her "looking back" seemed to me to be characterized by a serenity and human greatness acquired over the years. Her direct nature, her precise and eloquent way of thinking as well as her humor will always remain in our memories - above all, Sophie Freud's cosmopolitan generosity, which she knew to combine with a vigilant and equally critical attitude, points a meaningful direction in dealing with Freud's legacy, the fates of his family and the history of us all.


Monika Pessler
on behalf of the Sigmund Freud Museum