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Ich hiess Tatiana Rosenthal




About the " Psycho-suiciders"

About Tatiana Rosenthal's biography

About T. Rosenthal's essays










  Photo: Sabine Spielrein



  Photo: V. M. Bechterev

Photo:  Bechterev during a hypnosis seance.
  Photo: Max Eitingon


  Photo: a portrait of Dostoevsky  

Photo: A. Adler






Background music: Nash parovoz [Our Locomotive] 1918

"Freud's Russia" by James L. Rice (Transaction Publishers, 1993)
(page 73-74)
<<Jung's Zurich had long been a preferred base for Russian students, many of them dissidents or sometime revolutionaries. In the immediate period that concerns us, at least five medical students from Russia participated in Jung's psychoanalytic discussion group, each of whom later made professional contributions to the movement. These included Fanny Chalewsky from Rostov-on-the-Don, who earned her M.D. in Zurich in 1907; Esther Aptekmann, who earned her M.D. in 1911; Tatiana Rosenthal, who was a student from 1901 to 1905 and from 1906 to 1911 and who earned her M.D. in 1911; Sabina Spielrein, also of Rostov-on-the-Don, who was a student from 1905 to 1911 and earned her M.D. in 1911; and Max Eitingon, who earned his M.D. in 1909. All were Jewish, an ethnic identity that played an important part in Jung's personal relationships with them and with Freud. Of their political orientations during these student years little can be said with certainty, though it is significant that Rosenthal interrupted hr studies to participate in the 1905 Revolution and returned permanently to Russia in 1911. Aptekmann and Spielrein returned in 1923. Rosenthal committed suicide in 1921, and the following year a detailed account of her life was published in the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. The profile of her youthful radical idealism is no doubt typical of many young revolutionaries:

... full of enthusiasm for social amelioration... joined the social democratic party ... studies interrupted several times by her zeal for the revolutionary agitation in Russia ... in 1906 returned to Zurich weary and dispirited, wavering between medicine and law... by accident came across Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and was full of enthusiasm, foreseeing a new horizon for psychology along the path of self-revelation to which Freud points the way... She exclaimed: "What a harmony we might have with the combination of Freud and Marx!"1

Such views, though not universal among Jung's Russian students, certainly had a prominent currency and contributed to the national stereotype, notably the combined enthusiasm for revolution and utopian idealism, and the ideological counterpoise of destruction and renewal. It may be added that Tatiana Rosenthal's discovery of psychoanalysis was probably not by accident, because Jung's contact with Freud also dates from early 1906.>>


(page 142)

<< One further publication may be cited here as a possible stimulus to Freud's views at just that moment. Dr. Tatiana Rosenthal, a student of Jung's, had returned to Russia in 1911. At first driven by political and medical idealism, she became chief clinician at Betcherev's new Brain Pathology Institute in Petrograd. Toward the end of 1920 a report of her work was relayed by Freud's Berlin colleagues (Max Eitingon and Sara Neiditsch) to the Internationale Zeitschrift fur Psychoanalyse. Among other things, it included a synopsis of her unfinished essay "The Suffering and Creativity of Dostoevsky - A Psychogenic Study", published a year earlier in a Soviet periodical. Just in time to be included with this account in Freud's journal, a death notice was also received in Vienna: Tatiana Rosenthal, one of the very few didactic analysts in the Soviet medical establishment, an esteemed member of her profession, and the mother of a gifted child, had committed suicide at the age of thirty-six. Her obituary appeared in the Zeitschrift just below the detailed review of her work on Dostoevsky.

Rosenthal, like many Russian of the revolutionary era, was attracted to the views  of Adler, advocate of a social and rational medicine, who had parted with Freud in 1911. Once the psychiatrist of Trotsky's righthand man Joffe, by 1918 Adler had already spoken out against the violence of the Bolsheviks, correctly predicting a European reaction. In 1920, by the way, Adler also published a lecture (delivered in 1918 in Switzerland) on Dostoevsky. It is rather bland, certainly was not seen by Rosenthal, and was rightly ignored by Freud. No doubt Freud would have said of Adler, as a decade before he had joked about the Russians, that he had "some utopian dream of a world-benefiting therapy" and wanted the work to go faster. Many Russian clinicians of 1920 clung tenaciously, or grimly, to some utopian dream. The dream did not heal Dr. Rosenthal. The resumé of her article on Dostoevsky, which carries his career only to his arrest in 1849 but was to have been continued, concludes by quoting her directly:

We shall see that the basic tone of [Dostoevsky's] creativity remained unaltered: it is a feeling of self-abasement, and rebellion against this feeling, which intensifies into a diametrically opposite feeling of his own elect predestination [Auserwaehltheit]. Tha latter is accompanied by an aggressive tendency. (Adler)


(follows at pages 143 and 144)  
"Complete Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham, 1907-1925" edited by Ernst Falzeder (Karnac Books, 2002) pagg. XX-XXI  

<< The Burgholzli quickly attracted a large number  of young physicians and psychiatrists as interns or members of staff. In the German-speaking countries, the only clinic and the name rivalling that of Bleuler and the Burgholzli was that of Kraepelin in Munich, but Kraepelin's classifying approach to psychiatry was clearly losing out among the younger generation to the dynamic views endorsed by those at the Burgholzli. In short, for any ambitious, open-minded young psychiatrist, the Burgholzli was the place to go. Indeed, Zurich - that liberal, metropolitan city, then also Albert Einstein's refuge - became one of the main recruiting centres for the nascent psychoanalytic movement. Most among the first generation of those who practised psychoanalysis as a profession came to Freud via Jung and Bleuler - among them Roberto Greco Assagioli, Ludwig Binswanger,Trigant Burrow, Abraham Arden Brill, Charles Macfie Campbell, Imre Décsi, Max Eitingon, Sàndor Ferenczi, Johann Jakob Honegger, Smith Ely Jelliffe, Ernest Jones, Alphonse Maeder, Herman Nunberg, Johan H. W. van Ophuijsen, Nikolai J. Ossipow, Franz Riklin, Hermann Rorschach, Tatiana Rosenthal, Leonhard Seif, Eugenie Sokolnicka, Sabina Spielrein, Philipp Stein, Wolf stockmayer, Johannes Irgens Stromme, Jaroslaw Stuchlìk, G. Alexander Young - and Karl Abraham.>>






                        Berlin W.

                  11 January 1911

Dear Professor,

Segantini is finished and is coming to you as soon as it has been copied.

Many thanks for your letter. I am glad that the Schriften zur angerwandten Seelenkunde are succeeding each other so rapidly. Today I have to ask you something related to them.

In the last session of our local group, a Russian doctor, Frl. Dr. Rosenthal, who had already been our guest on several occasions, gave a talk:"Psychoanalytical Remarks on Karin Michaelis's 'The Dangerous Age'".6 The lecture was - particularly for a beginner who was in Zurich for a short time and had a little more experience with me - quite outstanding and really deserves to be published. The question is, where. According to the calculations of the authoress, two to three printed sheets could come out. As the subject is topical, it would be desirable for it to appear soon. I thought I might do it like this: I will go through the work in detail with Frl. Dr. R., then send it to you and ask your opinion as to whether the paper is suitable for the Sammlung [Schriften] (and whether we would have to wait not too long for publication). Otherwise I would ask you to hand the manuscript on to the Zentralblatt. Do you agree with this?



(Letter of Karl Abraham to Sigmund Freud)
pag. 125 -126


             Berggasse 19

             20 January 1911

<<Dear Friend,

A ridiculously hectic period, complicated by an accident of my eldest, who broke a thigh skiing (not a complicated fracture, fortunately taking a normal course), has meant that the reply to your letter has had to be put off for such a long time. I scarcely know now with what I should catch up.

I believe I know Frl. Rosenthal from a brief correspondence with her. If you send me the work, I will read it at once and then make a decision about it. Your Segantini is most welcome. Its position is as follows: The translation of Jones's Hamlet is to appear very soon, followed two months later by a paper on parricide by a Zurich doctor of laws, and then comes your Segantini's turn. I cannot expect Deuticke to accept more than five or six volumes a year.

Dr Bjerre was in Vienna for a week and at first made things difficult for me by his taciturnity and stiffness, but finally I worked my way through to discovering his serious personality and good mind. I advised him to join the Berlin group as a member, and I hope he will do so. Scandinavia is, after all, your natural hinterland. (...)>>




                   11 February 1911

Dear Professor,

The Segantini manuscript goes off to you together with these lines. I send it to you with a request for your criticsm that seems particularly necessary to me this time, as it is a piece of work with some personal complexes behind it. Besides, I would like to have your opinion about a question of layout: Would it be useful to include some of the main pictures, since they are not as generally known as some of the works of Bocklin and other modern painters? I would suggest one of the pictures pertaining to the mother-complex and one of the mystical ones (the wicked mothers). If you are in favour of illustrations, would you kindly discuss this with the publisher?

We had the pleasure of seeing Frl. Bernays twice in our home. I heard from her in more detail about the doings of you and your family. I hope that your patient is as well as one can be after so unpleasant an injury.

You will soon be receiving Frl. Dr. Rosenthal's paper; I have spoken to her, and she is in perfect agreement with its publication in the Zentralblatt, as the Schriften are probably too full up for the time being. So you could perhaps save yourself the trouble of reading it and pass the manuscript on direct to Stekel or Adler. Or I could send it direct. Our group is doing splendidly. The day before yesterday Stegmann spoke on asthma, and I spoke about a case of obsessional neurosis. Interest is constant. Next time Koerber is speaking on narcissism. (...)>>

About Tatiana Rosenthal Abraham wrote in a following letter to Freud:



                        17 February 1911

Dear Professor,

Many thanks for the letter and the cards. Your information about Fliess was very welcome. I will get in contact with him and exercise the necessary caution.

I got the story about Ziehen recently from our colleague Maier from Zurich, who was here, visited the clinic, and told the story at our session in the evening. As I was not an ear-witness, I cannot vouch for the wording. I will ask Maier about it once again in writing, and then there will be no more obstacles to its publication.

I see, incidentally, that we have recently taken a somewhat different stand vis-à-vis our opponents. Your "Wild Psychoanalysis", then Bleuler's defence, Jung's remarks to Mendel - this means a step forward out of reserve. If only it carries on with such caution, t will help rather than harm.

 I had a great deal of trouble translating Dr Rosenthal's manuscript into readable German (she is Russian). It will probably be ready in a few days. I myself now believe that it is best suited for the Centalblatt.

Did you read that Segantini's son Mario was arrested in Berlin for fraud? Another deserted from the Army a few years ago and then shot himself. The third is an idler. Only the daughter seems to be worth anything. It is remarkable that the sons completely lack the father's capacity for sublimation.

With cordial greetings from house to house,







(Letter from Freud to Abraham and the following reply by Abraham)
"100 Years of Psychoanalysis: Contributions to the History of Psychoanalysis" by A. Haynal (ed.)( Karnac Books)
page 182  
<<(...) When Ernest Jones complained about the poor results of psychoanalysis among analysts themselves, and promoted "what may be called post-graduate analysis", i.e. the idea that analysts "must continue their analysis from time to time later on" (18 Sept. 1933; Freud & Jones, 1993, p. 729), Freud was eager to assert that this was in fact his own idea:"For years I have been advocating your idea of a 'Postgraduate Analysis', and am also trying to put it into effect. I find such supplementary analyses unexpectedly interesting and helpful. Therefore, in this instance I am stressing my priority!" (15 Oct. 1933; Freud & Jones, 1993, p. 731). His final conclusion is found in print in Analysis terminable and interminable (Freud, 1937c), where he first confirmed the necessity of a training analysis -although he thought that "for practical reasons this analysis can only be short and incomplete" (ibid., p. 248)-, and secondly that "[e]very analyst should periodically - at intervals of five years or so - submit himself to analysis once more, without feeling ashamed of taking this step" (ibid., p. 249).

In fact, many, if not most analysts seem to have acted according to Freud's advice, but with one remarkable restriction: instead of considering this a standard part of their professional training, this whole area is treated either with shame or with curious pride.  Are there other reasons for these postgraduate analyses?

Apart from the necessity to counteract the "déformation professionnelle", there is ample evidence that psychoanalysts seem not only to have had the same problems other human beings have, which would surprise nobody, but indeed had more than their share, and that many of them remained unhappy, not helped by their personal analyses. In fact, a great number of the early psychoanalysts committed suicide: of the 149 persons who were members of the Viennese Psychoanalytic Society between 1902 and 1938, at least nine killed themselves (Paul Federn, Max Kahane, Tatiana Rosenthal, Herbert Silberer, Eugénie Sokolnicka, Wilhelm Stekel, Victor Tausk, and Rosa Walk), that is, six percent or one out of seventeen (Muhlleitner, 1992). When Jakob Honegger, a former assistant of Jung's, with whom Jung had had some sort of mutual analysis, committed suicide, Freud remarked dryly:"Do you know, I think we wear out quite a few men" (Freud & Jung, 1974, p. 413). In addition, a good number of them had drug or alcohol problems (Ruth Mack Brunswick, Otto Gross, Walter Schmideberg ...).>>.





          Bibliographical notes:


(1) S. Neidisch, <<Dr. Tatiana Rosenthal. Petersburg>>, Internationale Zeitschrift fur Psychoanalyse, VII, 1921, pp. 384-85.

(2) A. Carotenuto, Diario di una segreta simmetria, Roma, Astrolabio, 1980.

(3) H. Nunberg, E. Federn (eds.), Protokolle der Wiener Psychoanalitischen Vereinigung, vol. IV, Frankfurt a/m, S. Fischer, 1978.

(4) A. Angelini, La psicoanalisi in Russia, Napoli, Liguori, 1988.

(5) J. Marti, <<La psicoanalisi in Russia e nell'Unione Sovietica dal 1909 al 1930>>, in AA.VV., Critica e storia dell'istituzione psicoanalitica, Roma, Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, 1978.

(6) T. Rosenthal, <<Karin Michaelis: "Das gefährliche Alter" im Lichte der Psychoanalyse>>, in  Zentalblatt fur Psychoanalyse, 1911, p. 277.

(7) T. Rosenthal, "Sofferenza e creazione in Dostojevskij. Analisi psicogenetica", italian translation by Patrizia Sechi, published in Giornale Storico di Psicologia Dinamica, Vol. XIII gennaio 1989 fascicolo 25, page 33. See also in the same number, A.M. Accerboni, <<Tatjana Rosenthal. Una breve stagione analitica>>, page  6 1.


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