05/23/2024, 02:39, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST wants to give not only already internationally established psychoanalysts, but also still unknown psychoanalysts the opportunity to post a self-written and not yet published article on the FrontPage of our online magazine!

Our Users then can leave comments, ask questions or discuss the articles in our forum. Our aim is to provide an international platform where for the first time anyone interested in psychoanalysis can exchange ideas on certain topics.
Articles are welcome in German and/ or English.

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(For reasons of readability, the male form is used with personal names, however the female form is also always intended.)

The man who owed his life to a dream
In memory of Felix de Mendelssohn

Author: Moritz Senarclens de Grancy


Felix de Mendelssohn´s sudden death after a short, severe illness deeply shook relatives, friends, and colleagues. With him, we lose a great European intellectual, a committed psychoanalyst, who during his lifetime has made a strong contribution to conveying Freud´s work in culture and society.

As son of the publisher Peter de Mendelssohn and the cultural correspondent, literary critic and novelist Hilde Spiel, Felix de Mendelssohn was born in 1944 in London. His parents fled Vienna in 1936 because of the anti-Semitic policy of Austria - the consequences of a fate de Mendelssohn dealt with in his 2006 published book Flucht in die Freiheit. After returning to Vienna in the 1960s, Felix de Mendelssohn was trained as a psychoanalyst and group analyst. Over the years he was not only active as a clinical psychoanalyst, but also as a book author and he was also part of numerous institutional functions: de Mendelssohn was a member of the Advisory Board of the Sigmund Freud Privatstiftung and department head for psychoanalysis at the Sigmund Freud Privatuniversität, he taught in Kiev, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and, of course, in Vienna, here also as a lecturer for role interpretation and aesthetics at the Max Reinhardt Seminar for Performing Arts.

The second residence of de Mendelssohn was Berlin, where he lived with his wife, the American philosopher Susan Neiman. Just this summer I met him there at a book presentation. He read from Der Mann, der sein Leben einem Traum verdankte: Ein Traumforscher erzählt [N.T. The man who owed his life to a dream: a dream explorer talks], and I was once more able to experience him as a captivating lecturer who knew how to draw his audience in his spell with expressive images. Later, at an Italian restaurant in Wilmersdorf, everyone wanted to sit next to him. What was the fascination that emanated from de Mendelssohn? Whoever had to do with him, soon learned the incredible kindness with which, in spite of his disputability, he encountered his fellow-man, and which always gave one the certainty of dealing with someone special.

Of course, we talked about the Dream. This principal theme of Freud´s psychoanalysis had impressed him throughout his life, which is why he never grew tired of pointing to the relevance of dream interpretation for a deeper understanding of the human soul in his books, speeches, interviews, group analysis and seminars. His comprehensive knowledge of Freud’s work was also the reason why he was able to apply their essence and thought in numerous journal contributions, even beyond the clinical framework.

This year, his essay series Über den Zerfall appeared, which de Mendelssohn, together with Walter Famler of the magazine Wespennest presented in the Sigmund Freud Museum. The theme of the book is the transience of things, the fragility of the human soul and the unstoppable disintegration of the body which every human being knows about and which he often denies. A comforting book and a trailblazing way for those who do not cease to look for an inner attitude to face the truth; And - perhaps - a farewell gift to all those who love and appreciate Felix de Mendelssohn and who will miss him dearly.

Sigmund Freud Museum SFU Belvedere 21er haus stuhleck kunsthalle
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