The Escape of Sigmund Freud
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 12th July, 2011
The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, has been the subject of many biographies and critical studies, but as proof that there is always something new and interesting to say about a truly great figure, David Cohen’s The Escape of Sigmund Freud (JR Books, £18.99) focuses in illuminating fashion on the last few years of Freud’s time in Vienna leading to his exile in London. The key new element is Cohen’s speculation about the exact role of the young Nazi sympathiser and chemist Anton Sauerwald, who seems to have eased the passage for Freud and much of his household, as well as hiding the existence of some of Freud’s foreign bank accounts. It is an exaggeration to compare Sauerwald with Oskar Schindler, but his story is nonetheless intriguing. There are also some fascinating insights into the Freud family’s lifestyle in Vienna as catastrophe approached. All in all, a book that is both enjoyable in itself and likely to stimulate the reader to move on to other accounts of the period and its personalities.