Laurence Rickels Online

Nazi Psychoanalysis

Excerpt 2

Not right away, but increasingly, Freud could be referred to only by work, not by name or specific recognizable terms, and more as work of therapy than as that of theory. But while Freud's books were the toast of the 1933 book warmings, at the institute the same works were available to members right to the finish line. Freud's portrait, however, was removed in 1938 from the spot it was in across the hall from the Hitler portrait, which then stared on out into space without other until 1945. In 1936 Felix Boehm got it from highest authority that psychoanalysis, clearly a useful therapy, should negotiate a merger with the other psychotherapeutic groups. Boehm approached the Jungians first. But while the president of the Jung fan club, Eva Moritz, informed Boehm that financial concerns were making her hedge, behind that scene all bets were off, Jung assured her, regarding any close contact with the ambivalently targeted science. He was having the time of his life hating Freud.

A directive from on high planned that the new center of reunified German psychotherapy would build and draw on the facilities, resources, and experience of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute. Up there psychoanalysis met with way less phobicity than what was coming at them from the former colleagues who worked for the competition psychodynamic therapies. No doubt it was the sense of the history of psychoanalysis that the authorities were backing that informs the memorandum or manifesto Boehm and Müller-Braunschweig collaborated on for the new era of compromise formations. They started out advertising psychoanalysis's excellent war record and, for the meantime, emphasized the ongoing efforts of psychoanalysis, as witnessed by the opening of the outpatient clinic with its sliding scale, to make the cure of whatever symptomatology got in the way of socialization (in the way, that is, of going to war) accessible not only down the ranks but, even in peacetime or right on time for a more total war, across class lines (Lockot 141). By 1944, with the end in military sights, the German Institute was receiving mega funding: the amount set aside for the therapy center, which had been doubled for 43/44, was doubled again for 44/45. Was it the end coming soon that was to be therapeutically assuaged and, rather than learned from, lessened through radical subventions. The patience (and patients) of Germany had already passed the test once, the test of long-awaiting the next turn, turn, of a time for war.

The therapy institute was considered basic to the prep work for warfare. Once war started the Institute was awarded the status of "important to the war effort." The Nazi peacetime effort had divided the therapeutic labor of the institute among three deep approaches in support of the war steadfastness of the Germans, soldiers and civilians alike: psychological warfare, frigidity or sterility in women, and male homosexuality that in its final tally counted one promotion and two cure-all efforts. The three-part program was reshuffled for hitting the deck with war on. Psychological warfare was still the number one promotional. Preparedness for war would now be addressed up close, in more direct terms, given the prospect of war neurosis, which the Institute would counter and contain with research on the best treatment methods and with a steady supply of specially trained military psychologists.


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