Podcast: Psychoanalysis & Exile, 1938-2018

A day conference addressing the experience of living in exile, from 1938 to the present day.

The Freuds In Exile

This day conference explores the historical and current crises that are faced by refugees and asylum seekers the world over.

From the exodus from Nazi Germany and Austria in the 1930s, Anna Freud’s work with child refugees, and how researchers and psychoanalysts work with those seeking refuge today.

Introduction to the conference

Jamie Ruers and Alicia Kent

Introduction to the exhibition Leaving Today: the Freuds in Exile 1938 held at the Freud Museum

Julia Hoffbrand, Acting Curator at the Freud Museum

London Passage to Safety: the Portrait-Photographer as Secondary Witness in Émigré Narratives

Diane Silverthorne, Art Historian and Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Central St. Martins, University of the Arts

An examination of the role of the artist  as ‘secondary witness’, in this case the work of Marion Trestler and her documentary portraiture of twenty-one emigres who fled Austria for London in the inter-war period, some as young adults, others as children on the Kindertransport. The portraits recorded in the book, Vienna-London Passage to Safety Emigre Portraits in Photographs and Words (2017),  have also been the subject of exhibitions in Vienna and in London, and a film, released to co-incide with the anniversary of the Anschluss.

The Escape of Sigmund Freud

David Cohen, Author and Filmmaker

The story of Freud’s flight from Nazi-occupied Vienna, his life in England and the effect this had on him, based upon his publication The Escape of Sigmund Freud (2010).

Build your house first: Anna Freud and migrant experience today

Alicia Kent Lecturer at King’s College London in Comparative Literature and Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.

Alicia Kent discusses Anna Freud’s refugee experience told through objects from the Freud Museum collection, and how curating these objects led her to work with forced migrants in London trying to access higher education.

‘We are in between’: Narrating migrant experiences in France and the UK

Leonie Ansems de Vries, Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London and Coordinator of the Migration Research Group.

This paper addresses Leonie Ansems de Vries’ work in ‘The Jungle’ in Calais and Dunkirk. It goes on to include some insights from her current research with migrants and refugees in London today.


Sheila Melzak, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Director of the Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile.

Sigmund Freud published at the start of the First World War in 1914 that experiences that we have not processed will be repeated in life and through the generations. Anna Freud published in 1936 about the Ego and the Mechanisms we develop unconsciously to defend and protect ourselves. This paper explores how these two in many ways opposite ideas influence our reflections and practice of therapeutic work with young refugees and asylum seekers in 2018.

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