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This review is from: The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism (Hardcover)
Seig Heil! Seig Heil! Seig Heil! The blood-chilling salute echoes dpwm the years. surrounded by images of the SS, the Gestapo and The Final Solution for the extermination of all Jews. Vienne, l938 and the Germans are at the gates. about to enter Austria and join Hitler's birthplace to the Greater Reich. The Fuhrer rants, his body jerking with his own tension and he screams: One Nation, One People, One Leader.
While the stormtroops await orders, the great thinker Sigmund Freud is in his Vienna study, smoking a cigar and in a nanosecond of thought, tells himself the rise of facisism was inevitable. He wonders how he can protect his family against the barbarians, and he wonders what there is for tea. He can almost feel the shaking as the world teeters on the brink.
Vienna, city of excellence, cultured and sophisticated, is where both leaders were present although they only met through subsidiaries, military and officials. Freud was the academic; Hitler the bloody-stained assassin. Yet Professor Mark Edmundson's thoughtful and brilliant book, The Death of Sigmund Freud sis the uplifting story of a dignified family's ordeal against terror and evil. Some of the Cote d'Azure men's book club wondered why the author concentrated on Hitler and Freud and the answer may be that a Good and Bad plot is unbeatable. The result here is "great read". We follow Freud, an old man in his eighties and his wife Martha when she opens the front door to the Nazi thugs. She invites them to put their rifles in the umbrella stand. They decline. She and daughter Anna put all their money on a table and invite the thugs to help themselves. Enter Freud, white beard bristling, glasses glinting and one fierce stare scatters tgen like mice. Defiant captive Anna mentally defeats the Gestapod. Snapshots of terror; a boy jeered by a mob as he is forced to paint Jude outside his father's shop, old people being beaten up, children wrenched from their parents. An emotional flood of man's inhumanity.
A flashback; Freud lecturing in America and being feted, yet he hated the American religion, the pursuit of the dollar and later, when Roosevelt is instrumental in freeing him from the German yoke, he does not change his mind. Freud had foibles like everyone else, he rejected big cash offers to write for American publishers. He had a satirical sense of humour. The Nazis made him sign a form saying he had been treated well and he wrote on it "I highly recomnmend the Gestapo to everybody" War clouds in London and now daily torture from jawbone cancer despite which he still smokes his cigars. Freud delver and interpreter of the subconscious, asks his doctor not to forsake him. The decision is left to Anna. She says yes though her tears and morphine ends the pain. Hitler killed himself seventeen years later. Freud, one feels, died with more dignity.