Sigmund Freud

Freudian Trips

Taking in Jewish London, from the great shrink’s couch to the old Jewish East End (plus, the Cadbury’s kosher chocolate in Birmingham).

Contributing Editor
06/16/2015 - 20:00

If the couch at 20 Maresfield Gardens in London could speak, it would have stories to tell. It was, for years, the consulting couch of Sigmund Freud — and it sits in his immaculately preserved study.

Freud's famous couch. Wikimedia Commons

So Freud and Mahler Walk Into A Cafe...

In 1910, renowned composer and conductor Gustav Mahler met with Sigmund Freud to discuss his troubled relationship with his young wife, Alma. This became the basis for Otho Eskin’s play “Final Analysis,” now playing at the Signature Theatre. Eskin eagerly builds on the real life meeting of great minds by including several other famous figures (from Josef Stalin to philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein) who were also in Vienna around that time. The result is meant to be an exploration of the forces of love and hate in the world and what happens when conflicting worldviews clash. True, the characters rage, ache and exposit to one another in a variety of tones, but too often come off as rather lifeless and static.

Elizabeth Jasicki and Ezra Barnes in "Final Analysis." Joan Marcus

The (Piano) Keys To Her Survival

Centenarian Alice Herz-Sommer, the subject of two books, credits music with sustaining her at Terezin; other new Holocaust books also highlight women’s experiences.
04/09/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

At 108, Alice Herz-Sommer is believed to be the oldest living Holocaust survivor. Born in Prague, she watched her mother being deported to Terezin in 1942, and never saw her again. A year later, she was also deported there with her husband and son. By then, Herz-Sommer was an acclaimed pianist, and continued to play in the concentration camp, giving more than a hundred concerts to fellow prisoners and to the Nazis. Her husband was killed in the camp just before liberation.

New and recently translated books depict women's experiences before and during the Holocaust.
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