Sunday, April 17, 2011

Anna Freud and the Termination

Freud scholar Jeffrey Masson has written the following about Anna Freud's reaction to the decision of the Freud Archives Board to terminate Masson as projects director of the Archives.


I called Anna Freud in London to tell her what was about to happen.  It was a strange, honest conversation.

"Miss Freud, I am sure you have heard that Dr. Eissler is going to fire me from the Archives."

"Yes.  And I disagree with him.  I did not like that second article in the New York Times.  And I think you are wrong in your views.  But I do not see why you should be so severely punished for holding them.  On one point, however, I feel that I was deceived by Dr. Eissler.  He never told me that you were going to live in my house.  My understanding was that you were to be in charge of the library and of the research, but not actually live in the house."  I never did find out why Eissler never explained this to Anna Freud.  Perhaps he was being discreet, not wanting to bring up the matter of her death, or perhaps he knew she would not like the idea of my living in the house.  Of course, as things turned out, I never did live in the Freud house.

"Did the idea of my living in your house upset you?"

"Frankly, yes it did."

"Why?"

"Because my father would not have wanted it."

"You mean, he would not have liked me?"

"I am not saying that.  But he would not have wanted somebody like you living in the house.  He would have wanted somebody quiet, modest, unobtrusive.  You would have been everywhere, searching for everything, going through boxes, drawers, closets, bringing people in, opening things up.  My father would not have wanted this."  She was right.

Speaking metaphorically, "if I had been a partner at the firm I wouldn't have supported your termination, but that was the Management Committee's decision, so I went along with it."

2 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

Freud's dog was named Yofi. Yofi is the Hebrew word for beautiful. In public Freud always downplayed his Jewishness, but he gave his dog a Hebrew name!

Gary Freedman said...

Why was I so severely punished for holding views about other employees?