GermanJews betweenFreud,Marx, andHalakha: Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, Erich Fromm, and the Psychoanalysis of Jewish Ritual in 1920s Heidelberg

  • This essay explores the psychoanalytic sanitarium (Therapeutikum) directed by Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and Erich Fromm in Heidelberg from 1924 to 1928. The Therapeutikum aimed to combine adherence to Jewish ritual with psychoanalytic practice and radical politics for a group of GermanJews who were rethinking their Orthodox backgrounds in light of new intellectual and political currents and modern sensibilities. Visitors to the sanitarium included many leading German-Jewish thinkers, and Heidelberg’s proximity to Frankfurt placed the Therapeutikum in the orbit of the Institute for Social Research and near a major hub in the renaissance of Jewish learning then occurring. At the centre of the article is a discussion of essays by Fromm-Reichmann and Fromm that subjected Jewish ritual (kashrut and shabbat) to psychoanalytic investigation. Appearing in Imago in 1927, the articles marked the two writers’ public break with Orthodox Judaism. This essay argues that the Imago articles marked a crucial moment in the political, intellectual, and religious history of German Jewry. Even if the Fromms’ synthesis of Freudianism, radical politics, andJudaism was conceptually shaky, their sanitarium illustrates the centrality of psychoanalysisças a sensibility, a hermeneutic and above all away of creating social and communal bondsçto a generation of GermanJews navigating the challenges of German and Jewish modernity.

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Author:Paul Lerner
Parent Title (English):Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, Vol. 64, pp. 219-238.
Document Type:Articles
Year of first Publication:2019
Release Date:2022/05/04
Format:PDF-file upon request / PDF-Datei auf Anfrage
Writings about Erich Fromm (Secondary Literature):Articles / Artikel
Erich Fromm's Library and Erich Fromm Archive:Articles / Artikel
Licence (German):
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