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August 07 , 2008

A Dangerous Legacy

Judaism and the Psychoanalytic Movement


On 23rd July 1908 Sigmund Freud wrote to his colleague Karl Abraham: "Rest assured that if my name were Oberhuber [an obviously non-Jewish name], in spite of everything my innovations would have met with far less resistance."From its beginning, psychoanalysis has been seen as a Jewish affair, and psychoanalysts have always been afraid of ending up in the position of the Jew - that of the outsider. In A Dangerous Legacy: Judaism and Psychoanalysis Hans Reijzer examines how psychoanalysts have managed that fear, in the recent past and in the present. During his research, which led him to Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Jerusalem, Hamburg, and Durban, Reijzer encountered malicious as well as enlightening statements, situations, and incidents. A Dangerous Legacy is a striking study of an interesting area of research. Reijzer's conclusion is surprising: stereotypes about Jews are a factor not only in the everyday world but also in the psychoanalytic world as soon as Jews take part in it.

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