Why Freud Chose Nazi Germany Over America

Posted: May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

TIME

His aversion to America was by no means unconscious: given the choice between safe passage to the United States and increasing oppression at the hands of the Nazis, Sigmund Freud chose to stick with the Nazis.

The father of psychoanalysis — born on this day, May 6, in 1856 — was in his early 80s and “tortured by advanced cancer of the jaw,” per TIME, when he turned down the invitation to the U.S. from a worried nephew who was a publicist in Manhattan.

But Freud was no longer safe in Vienna after the Nazi occupation, since the Gestapo was not only targeting Jews in general but psychoanalysts in particular; their fixation on the id’s uncivilized impulses seemed to the Nazis to undermine the dignity of the Volk. In 1933, mobs of Nazi sympathizers had burned Freud’s books, chanting, per The Atlantic, “Against the soul-destroying overestimation of the…

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