Professor Sigmund Freud 75

Professor Sigmund Freud, the founder of psycho-analysis, will be 75 to-morrow (Wednesday), and many of the papers here have started to-day already publishing articles dealing with his life and work and paying tribute to his achievements, which have given Vienna the honour of being the centre of the great world-wide psycho-analytic movement. He is one of the few giants in modern thought, the papers write, and though his road has been hard, because he is a Jew, he has remained loyal to Judsism and he has not run away from his post, but has stopped in Vienna and fought on until he has to-day secured the recognition of the whole world.

Sigmund Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia, on May 6th., 1856. His father Jacob was a merchant. He was brought up in an orthodox Jewish home, and he has paid tribute to the important part played in his upbringing by his mother, who died only last year. When he graduated in medicine at Vienna University, he became a demonstrator at the Physiological Institute there, and soon after was appointed physician at the Vienna General Hospital. In 1885 he left for Paris to study under Charcot, after being appointed to an instructorship at the Vienna University. It was not until 1892 that he was granted an assistant professorship.

It is quite in keeping with the policy of Vienna University, whose Jewish professors on the Medical Faculty have attracted students from all parts of the globe, Dr. Roback writes in his book “Jewish Influence in Modern Thought”, not even to send an official world of greeting to the famous Freud on his 70th. birthday, although felicitations poured in to him from the most remote corners of the world. Though bringing fame to the University of Vienna in an unprecedented degree, he continues, Freud’s racial affiliations barred his way to the full professorship. His steadily increasing practice and his enormous responsibility as head of the psycho-analytical movement also undermined his academic activities. He still acts as the actual head of a vast organisation reaching out from Vienna to India, Australia, America and Africa. Freud’s influence in the intellectual world, he says, cannot be over-estimated. There are few people who can lay claim to originality. Among contemporary celebrities Freud is one of those few.


We are on safe ground, Professor Roback suggests, in regarding Freud as the Hassid in the history of modern psychology. In many respects Freud’s method is strongly reminiscent of the symbolism which underlies the Cabbalistic philosophy. That Freud does not suffer from a racial inferiority-complex, he continues, is evident from the fact that he is not over-cautions in mentioning or implying his Jewish affiliations. In his “Interpretation of Dreams”, he, in a matter of fact way, explains a dream of his on the basis of his unconscious wish to receive advancement in the University of Vienna, which, however, he knew from the experiences of his Jewish colleagues who were older and equally meritorious, was not to be fulfilled. In his “Psycho-pathology of Every-day Life” he has occasion to allude to several Jewish customs. His acquaintance with Jewish jokes is well manifested in “it and its Relation to the Unconscious”, where he ventures the opinion that there is scarcely to be found a people which makes merry so unrestrainedly over its own shortcomings as the Jews.