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Sigmund Freud Chair Established at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

December 23, 1976
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“The Hebrew University will now stand as the center of Freud’s thinking. In some mystical sense, Sigmund Freud has come home at last.” The words are those of Dr. Charles Ansell of Encino, Calif., a clinical psychologist deeply involved in creating the Sigmund Freud Chair of Psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Freud was a member of the first Board of Governors of the university.

Freud, who was forever interested in tracing his Jewish lineage as far back as possible, was chagrined when he could not attend the historic opening of the university on Mount Scopus in the spring of 1925, Ansell noted. Illness kept him from being present on the day that Lord Balfour stood in the ampitheater overlooking the holy city and officially proclaimed the Hebrew University as the university of the Jewish people. However Freud sent the following message for the occasion: “A university in a place in which knowledge is taught about all differences of religions and of nations. Such an undertaking is a noble witness to the development to which our people has forced its way in two thousand years of unhappy fortune.”

Dr. Martin Wangh of New York, International chairman of the Sigmund Freud Chair Committee, pointed out that “Such a Chair at the Hebrew University had long been one of Freud’s cherished dreams. When, in 1933, Hitler’s book burning foreshadowed the end of free science and art in Europe and the ultimate destruction of European Jewry. Freud explicitly asked that a Chair of psychoanalysis be established at what he warmly called ‘our university.'”

“Today,” Wangh continued, “the Hebrew University-now an institution of world renown–looks forward to the privilege of creating a Sigmund Freud Chair in Psychoanalysis. This Chair, which is to have the broadest humanistic appeal, will become a center for the interchange of psychoanalysis thinking with medicine, the other social sciences, the arts and every study that touches the understanding of man….”

Dr. Morris C. Beckwith, Los Angeles chairman of the Chair committee, said: “This honor to Sigmund Freud by those who have most benefited from his creative genius is long overdue…. I believe that this investment in the future of psychoanalysis, in an area conducive to the growth of human values, is most propitious at this moment in history.”

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