Erwin Ringel Denkmal

Erwin Ringel Denkmal

I’ve been varying my walking route to the Freud Museum, and today happened upon a small park near the Rossau (one block from Freud’s house) dedicated to the “Tiefenpsychologe” (depth psychologist) and university professor Erwin Ringel. Ringel’s history is interesting, and I am catching a whiff of controversy as well (the German Wikipedia article says he was called a “Nestbeschmutzer” (literally, a nest soiler, or a traitor) – but by whom? Psychoanalysts (and which ones?) or the Nazis? He is honored on this Denkmal as therapist “of our Austrian soul,” which creepily echoes some of the pseudo-psychoanalytic rhetoric appropriated by Nazi doctors during the 3rd Reich. On the other hand, he himself was arrested by the Nazis for participating in a student protest against them in 1939. He was responsible for restoring Adler’s psychoanalytic society in Vienna after the war and desired to create a rapprochement between Adler’s and Freud’s work, and it also appears that he had an interest in psychosomatic medicine, art, social work (like Adler) and religion – maybe even a kind of Seelsorge. He is best known for his later work on suicide prevention, and for founding the International Association for Suicide Prevention in 1948. I want to research him further, for sure.


About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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