50 Years of the Sigmund Freud Museum

Looking Back to the Future

Fifty years later, we look back on June 15, 1971, with the photojournalist Barbara Pflaum, who documented the opening of the Sigmund Freud Museum. In the presence of Austrian Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and numerous national and international dignitaries, a Freud memorial was opened that day on the site where the founder of psychoanalysis had worked.

The Sigmund Freud Society had been founded three years previously. Under the presidency of the exiled Viennese Friedrich Hacker and with the aid of the state and the city, this society succeeded in purchasing the first rooms of the museum. As its director, Harald Leupold-Löwenthal was responsible for the first exhibition, which presented countless images, publications, and documents on Freud’s life and work.

In an act of reconciliation, the museum’s founding was supported primarily by Anna Freud: among other things, she donated the furniture of the waiting room from her father’s former practice and in the early 1970s launched what is now the “Library of Psychoanalysis” at Berggasse 19. She herself only came to Vienna a month later to visit her lost hometown, from which she had been expelled in 1938, on the occasion of the twenty-seventh congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association. Paula Fichtl, housekeeper and confidante of the Freud family, traveled from London especially for the museum’s opening and brought Sigmund Freud’s hat and walking stick with her.