London & Vienna: Freud’s World & A Family Reunion

London & Vienna: Freud’s World & A Family Reunion

There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes in the Freud’s Butcher universe, but it’s like the proverbial tree falling in the forest: If a blogger doesn’t post about events, did they really happen?

They did, and they will–and here’s the proof.

Psychology Today

I’ve made many forays into discussions of Freud’s life — in order to provide context for my family’s circumstances, it’s useful to explore those of the guy who lived upstairs from one of its members — but those were digressions from the main genealogy focus. Now some exciting things are happening with Freud and Vienna that warrant my undivided attention. Happily, I was given a platform to allow for that: My new Freud’s World blog on PsychologyToday.com. 

Oscar Nemon, Freud, and Yofi, 1931. Courtesy of the Nemon Estate

My first story there, Did Vienna Repress Freud: A New Attitude in Austria, talks about the surprising way that Freud has been largely ignored in the city where he lived most of his life — one that the world associates with him. 

The second, written in the throes of royal wedding fever (so sue me, I succumbed), talks about the creator of the statue that will have arrived in Vienna by the time this is posted: Oscar Nemon: Forgotten Sculptor of the Royals and of Freud. Nemon deserves far more recognition than he has gotten. Perhaps the statue — and a new biography by his daughter, coming out in September — will help. More on that later.

An Upcoming Trip

The life trajectory of the man who occupied a flat above my great uncle’s shop mirrors that of several of my family members. Just as Freud went from Freiberg, a small town in the Austro-Hungarian empire, to Vienna and then to London when Vienna was no longer safe for the Jews, the aunt and uncle and cousins with whom my mother was closest went from Tarnow, Poland, to Vienna and then to London after the war. I have written about the Schmerling family many times. 

I’m very excited to report that I will soon meet several members of that family.

In brief: my great aunt Marie/Mitzi Kornmehl married her first cousin David whose family name was originally Kornmehl too. The story of how it became Schmerling is ongoing…

David and Mitzi had three children: Stella, the oldest, and the twins Hermione (called Herma by her daughter, Mimi by my mother) and Edith/Ditte. My mother was a bit younger than Stella, a bit older than the twins, but she played with all of them.

The twins with their matching hairbows are at the top of the page; here’s my mother and Stella and Flooki.

Flooki, my mother, Rita Rosenbaum, and her cousin Stella Schmerling

You may remember some of these pictures from earlier posts; they are among my favorites.

David had two brothers, Heinrich and Ferdinand, with whom he traveled to Vienna from Tarnow. Like many other things, their means of transportation there is under dispute–legend has it that they walked–but there is no question that the three were close. The brothers were separated when the war came; two of David’s children, the twins Herma and Ditte, went to London. Heinrich and his wife, Lilly, also moved to the UK; one of their two children, Flora, remained there, while the other, Erwin, moved to the US. 

Brothers David and Heinrich Schmerling,  Vienna, June 15, 1906 [?] The handwriting on the side: Gruß und Kuß von deinem lieben —??– (maybe Moritz), which means “Greetings and kisses from your dear…”

So…I will be meeting one of David’s two grandchildren, Herma’s daughter (my second cousin), along with several members of Heinrich’s family, both from the US and the UK branches–an amazing convergence of kin. I’ll report back.

Back to Vienna

And there’s more.

Because the London family reunion was planned for early June, I was able to piggyback on it a quick trip to Vienna for the unveiling of the aforementioned Freud statue and associated symposium, including a reception in the Freud Museum — to which I will be returning to give a talk about the Viennese members of the Kornmehl family on October 4

I can’t begin to tell you how exciting it is that I’ll be doing this. Well, I can begin, but I won’t do it justice. I’ll be discussing the talk in greater detail later. Still, if you think you might be in the neighborhood of Vienna in early October, mark your calendars now. 

 

4 Responses to London & Vienna: Freud’s World & A Family Reunion

  1. Oh this is all so meaningfully exciting-vindication of a long journey you’ve taken of all the writing in your career bringing you, getting you to this place in a life’s geography – all the threads weaving to show the tapestry.

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Thank you for this; you’re absolutely right. I look at the talk in the Freud Museum — bringing my family back to Vienna — as especially significant.

  2. Miron says:

    Hello Edie, I am enjoying your blog a lot. Just one little correction: Freud didn’t come from Freiburg, he came from Freiberg. Be seeing you in October ?

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Thank you! I am always happy to make corrections. And yes, please save October 4 for the talk at the Freud Museum and tell your friends. I hope to see you other times too.

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