Freud Denkmal at Bellevuehöhe

Freud Denkmal at Bellevuehöhe

Weather has been drizzly and increasingly cold the past few days, which as I have been spending more time studying and tracking down sites related to anti-Semitism in Freud’s lifetime has felt appropriate. As I have been working on Freud’s writings on religion, and the attitudes of his inner circle in Vienna, I realized as a kind of “Aha!” moment while taking a more rambling-than-usual path from the 2nd district to the 9th (my flat to Berggasse 19), retracing in a sense the steps of all those Jewish families with brilliant boys who “moved up” from an Ostjuden enclave to a world of bourgeois assimilation, that anti-Semitism is not simply one theme among many re: psychoanalysis and religion- it is the over-arching reality that affected all of Freud’s cultural writings and the attitudes of the early analysts toward religion, education, history, anthropology, and so much more. Anti-Semitism is a lens through which any scholarship on Freud and religion must be viewed – even when the early analysts themselves were relatively silent about it, it impacted them daily. Saturday I made a real pilgrimage out to the edge of the Vienna Woods to a site where once stood a “Kurhotel” (a spa) that Freud and his family visited, and where Freud first began working on “The Interpretation of Dreams” (publ. 1899/1900). The hotel was destroyed during WWII, but what remains is a sweeping panorama of the city of Vienna, and a wind-swept, empty and quiet hilltop meadow. In 1977 Anna was back in Vienna as Freud’s work was beginning to be honored here, and this little-known monument was dedicated. It’s a simple stone with a bronze tablet that quotes Freud’s own ironic statement in his “Letter to Wilhelm Fliess, Bellevue, 12th June 1900 – Do you suppose that someday a marble tablet will be placed on the house inscribed with these words: In this house on July 24th 1895 the Secret of Dreams was revealed to Dr. Sigmund Freud? At this moment I see little prospect of it.” It took serious determination to find this site. I had some directions that were not entirely correct from an otherwise very lovely guide book “Only in Vienna” by Duncan J.D. Smith, and ended up walking several miles along roadside and woodland trails. But in the end, with the help of a local “Wanderer” (hiker), I was re-directed and found the way. The street that is key to getting to this place is appropriately named “Himmelstrasse” (Heaven Street – or, to be more Freudian about it – Sky Street).

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About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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One Response to Freud Denkmal at Bellevuehöhe

  1. Duncan Smith says:

    Dear Pam – Very much enjoyed your piece about visiting the Freud Denkmal. My name’s Duncan Smith, and I’m the author of “Only in Vienna”. Sorry my directions sent you a little off target. Might I ask which edition of my books you have? And if you are able to provide a more accurate directional text I’d be very happy to include it in the next edition. I’m all for keeping directions brief thereby letting my readers find their own particular path – but I don’t like them getting lost! With best wishes and happy travels in 2014 – Duncan

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