Freud’s sister

The novel FREUD’S SISTER, written by Goce Smilevski, has been awarded as The best European fiction in its 2010 version; reveals a Sigmund Freud not only in his role as a scientist, he also makes us see a family man, married, with six children, with a brother and four more women. His biographers refer little to his family of blood. In this story, part reality, part fiction – we suppose – Freud took refuge in London thanks to the procedures of his influential friends, without worrying about obtaining visas for his four elderly sisters, who stayed in Vienna at the mercy of the Nazis. This is the story told in the first person by Adolphine, Freud’s sister.

Sigmund was the eldest of the six children. He was given all the facilities for his studies when the parents, with few resources, noticed the brilliant intelligence of the son. He and Adolphine were very close since they were children, the bond was so strong that it aroused uncontrollable jealousy in the mother, manifesting itself in contempt for the daughter. Seeing the brothers so close, he addressed the girl to hurt her with bitter words that Adolphine did not understand “I preferred not to have given birth to you ”. The girl grew up quiet and taciturn. Her best friend and confidant was Klara Klimt, sister of the now famous painter Gustav Klimt. Klara stood out among young intellectuals for her feminist stance … It is evident that we women have to take alone what the world and our times do not want to give us …

Sigmund Freud married once he received a medical degree. His sister visited him continuously in the hospital where he worked. It was in that place where he met a patient of his brother: Reiner, who was sick with melancholy. The young woman fell in love with him. Upon discharge, the young man settled in an apartment where he received constant visits from Adolphine. He began a relationship of depressed beings and in need of affection. The girl narrates it like this: Words ran out and our inexperienced bodies plunged into a particular orbit… Reiner is dedicated to studying the cause of melancholy, travels, visits museums, devours books and ignores the young woman. Adolphine becomes pregnant, but the news was received with indifference by her partner. His scornful response left an icy hole in her: “He is a son of yours … you can do with him what whatever you want… And gone forever. The young woman goes to her brother for an abortion, but he refuses; however, he convinces another doctor to take over. On the day that Adolphine’s wish was carried out, her brother was with her, comforting her, which reaffirmed the brotherly bond. They had a secret to share. The young woman, unable to continue to bear the harshness of her mother, settled in the psychiatric hospital where her friend Klara Klimt lived, defeated by the misunderstanding of her feminist ideas. The friends shared their loneliness, both protected by the financial help of their respective brothers.

The war came, the Jews began to flee due to the German persecution towards them. Freud’s parents died, the other brother went into exile, and one day the scientist was called by his influential European friends to leave Austria. One of Freud’s biographers, mentions the help that Princess Marie Bonaparte, friend and patient of his, gave him to obtain visas for his in-laws, it is also said that he tried to help his sisters, without success. Instead, the author of the novel narrates that the doctor did nothing to try to prevent his sisters from escaping the Nazi horror. As they arranged the family’s luggage, he argued to the four worn-out sisters: It is an interim measure. This war will pass soon, we will return. In 1938, Dr. Freud, his wife, children, sister-in-law, his doctor, two servants and their dog, left Austria in the middle of the Second World War. The four elderly sisters were stripped of their home and belongings and sent to Nazi concentration camps.

The book contains valuable references and some fragments of the work that Freud wrote on his research. It has been recorded that he was nominated, from 1915 to 1938, for twelve consecutive times for the Nobel Prize in Science and once for the Nobel Prize in Literature … none of them were awarded.

Sigmund Freud died, at the age of 83, of cancer of the larynx. It was the year 1939, in London, the city that sheltered him and recognized his monumental work. His last words were: This is absurd! It’s stupid!

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Freud’s sister