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Letter to the Editor   |    
Viennese Anti-Semitism
AARON H. ESMAN, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2003;160:801-801. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.4.801

To the Editor: Paul C. Horton, M.D. (1), is certainly entitled to his opinion of Louis Breger’s revisionist and tendentious biography of Freud. One cannot, however, fail to be astounded by his skepticism about the nature and extent of Austrian and, specifically, Viennese anti-Semitism during Freud’s lifetime (and, in fact, beyond). He seems to be blissfully unaware of the career of the notorious Karl Lueger, repeatedly elected mayor of Vienna largely on the basis of his anti-Semitic platform. He seems further to ignore the rapturous reception given to Hitler by the Viennese populace at the time of the 1938 Anschluss, not to mention the humiliation and worse suffered by Viennese Jews, many of whom were forced by the police to scrub sidewalks with toothbrushes before they were carted off to the death camps. Perhaps he knows nothing of the current Austrian politician Jorg Haider, whose political success was based in no small measure on his justification of certain of Hitler’s policies.

If indeed Dr. Horton is unaware of all this, if indeed he truly finds it "hard to imagine anti-Semitism as having had legs in a country in which Jews had become so powerful" (p. 512), he ought to read a bit of the history of the period. One is tempted to say to him, paraphrasing Wittgenstein, "Of that about which one knows nothing it is best to remain silent."

Reprints are not available; however, Letters to the Editor can be downloaded at http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org.

Horton PC: Book review, L Breger: Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision. Am J Psychiatry  2002; 159:511-512
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References

Horton PC: Book review, L Breger: Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision. Am J Psychiatry  2002; 159:511-512
[CrossRef]
 
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