A month after the Nazis took over Austria on 12 March 1938, every business owned by Jews had a Nazi appointed to run it. For 82-year-old Sigmund Freud, the world’s leading psychoanalyst, the appointed ‘commissar’ was a 35-year-old chemist, Anton Sauerwald.
Goebbels and Himmler wanted all psychoanalysts, especially Freud, humiliated and killed and Sauerwald was in a position to seal Freud’s fate.
This fascinating book tells of the Nazi raid on Freud’s house on 17 March 1938 when all books and papers were seized and handed to Sauerwald, who was briefed to investigate and find Freud guilty of something. The papers contained evidence of secret bank accounts and company debts – both ‘crimes’ that would prevent the Freuds from leaving Austria. Yet Sauerwald chose to hide this information from his superiors.
Using extensive research and never-before-seen material, David Cohen reveals these last two years of Freud’s life and the fate of Sauerwald, from the unusual rise of Nazi psychotherapists; the arrest of Freud’s daughter, Anna, by the Gestapo; the dramatic saga behind the signing of Freud’s exit visa and his eventual escape to London via Paris; to how Sauerwald met with the ailing Freud in London, and how he was later saved from the Nazi war trials in 1947 by the last-minute intervention of Anna.
This book is a gripping true-life account of Freud’s battle with the Nazis and of the man who saved him.
David Cohen is the author of two biographies of psychologists – John B Watson and Carl Rogers, as well as the bestseller Diana: Death of a Goddess.