Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Freud Museum

It was in this house that Sigmund Freud spent the last year of his life. He moved in on 27th September 1938 and remained here until his death at the age of 83 on 23 September 1939. The house remained occupied until the death of Anna Freud in 1982. In accordance with her wishes, it was turned into a museum after her death and opened to the public in July 1986. 

Freud came to London a refugee from the Nazis. In Germany the works of Freud and fellow psychoanalysts were publicly burned in 1933 and during the following years most members of the predominantly Jewish psychoanalytical community in Germany and Austria emigrated. However, Freud refused to leave; it was not until Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938 and the Freud family was subjected to Nazi harassment that he moved away from Vienna. The house in London was recreated by his son Ernst and housekeeper Paula Fichtl, in order to give him the same working environment as in Vienna. 

For the last 16 years of his life Freud suffered from cancer of the palate. Yet he continued to work: in England he completed "Moses and Monotheism" and began his final unfinished work, "Outline of Psychoanalysis". He also maintained his practice and received a number of patients for analysis at Maresfield Gardens. 

His study is saturated with antiques from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Orient. The importance of the collection is evident in Freud's use of archaeology as a metaphor for psychoanalysis. On the other hand, the library at 20 Maresfield Garden contains all the books he chose to bring with him from Vienna, covering a wide range of books.  

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