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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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Freud’s ‘Rabbi’


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However, not only Samuel Hammerschlag himself but also his family had a formative influence on young Freud, who was deeply impressed by their humanity. Freud had particular affection for Anna Hammerschlag, who was his patient and who served as godmother for his youngest daughter, Anna. Because of the crucial role she played the famous Irma’s Injection, Freud’s “specimen dream” of July 1895 – it is well-recognized that “Irma” was a pseudonym for Anna Hammerschlag – she also became the “godmother” of Freud’s magnum opus, The Interpretation of Dreams.

In one particularly notable example of his affection for his “rabbi” and for the entire Hammerschlag family, Freud wrote to Martha Bernays, his bride-to-be: “I do not know any people kinder, more humane, further removed from any ignoble motive than they, quite apart from the deep-seated sympathy which has existed between myself and the dear old Jewish teacher ever since my school days.”

About the Author: Saul Jay Singer, a nationally recognized legal ethicist, serves as senior legal ethics counsel with the District of Columbia Bar. He is a collector of extraordinary original Judaica documents and letters, and his column appears in The Jewish Press every other week. Mr. Singer welcomes comments at saul.singer@verizon.net.


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