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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Feb 7, 2021

"Each one of these individuals who I interviewed, watched their testimony or read their last words in the desperate letters they wrote to Nazi agencies asking for a little more time to raise a little more money - each one of these individual Jews of Vienna who I came into contact with, brought me closer to my own roots, to my own grandparents who I loved very much and who I never got to ask the questions."


Episode description:

We discuss the political and social context for Freud's years in Vienna starting with Hitler's rise to power in 1933 along with the burning of Freud's books at that time. We learn of the varying optimism and pessimism that were rampant in the Jewish Viennese community culminating in the German invasion in March 1938. We cover the pogrom of March 1938, the role of the witnesses to the atrocities along with the family suicides that became commonplace.

After Freud and most of his family escaped in June 1938 we recognize both the celebration of his reception in London as well as the ongoing calamity that remained in Vienna leading up to Kristallnacht in November 1938.

We also discuss the personal meaning that these events have for Professor Offenberger


Our Guest:

Professor Ilana F. Offenberger is a scholar of history and author of the book, The Jews of Nazi-Vienna, 1938-1945: Rescue and Destruction published by Palgrave Macmillan (2017). Professor Offenberger received a Ph.D. in History from Clark University (Worcester, MA) in May 2010, graduating from the doctoral program in Holocaust History and Genocide Studies.  She earned a B.A. in German Studies from Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY) in 2000 and spent a year of undergraduate study in Salzburg, Austria.   Her dissertation, The Nazification of Vienna and the Response of the Viennese Jews was selected for the first annual Radomir Luza Prize for an outstanding work in Austrian and/or Czechoslovak history in 2012. 


Since 2012, Offenberger teaches in the department of History at University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth.  Her many courses include “Jewish Resistance in the Holocaust;” “Germany 1933-Present;” “Europe in the 20th Century;” “From Auschwitz to Israel;”  “The Jews of Nazi-Vienna,”


She is currently working on a second book project: Preserving Czech-Jewish Life Under Nazi Occupation, 1939-1945.




Recommended Readings:

Bukey, Evan.  Hitler’s Austria: Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era 1938-1945 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000) OVERVIEW  HISTORY NAZISM AUSTRIA


Clare, George. Last Waltz in Vienna: The Rise and Destruction of a Family: 1842-1942 (New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston,1982)  CLASSIC MEMOIR of VIENNESE FAMLY

Offenberger, Ilana F. The Jews of Nazi-Vienna: 1938-1945, Rescue and Destruction.  (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)  COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY JEWISH LIFE IN VIENNA


Orgel, Dorris.  The Devil in Vienna. (Logan: Perfection Learning Corporation, 2004).  A GREAT READ FOR YOUNG ADULTS! FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY, LIFE AFTER ANSCHLUSS


Spitzer, Leo.  Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism (New York: Hill and Wang,1998) MEMOIR: THEMES OF IDENTITY & DISPLACEMENT AFTER EXILE


Secher, Pierre H.  Left Behind in Nazi Vienna: Letters of a Jewish family caught in the Holocaust, 1939-1941 (Jefferson: McFarland & Co, 2004) PRIMARY SOUCE LETTER COLLECTION /A VIENNESE FAMILY DESTROYED BY NAZISM