Following the launch of our summer exhibition, Leaving Today: The Freuds in Exile 1938, we were contacted by Helen Rosner, who told us a story her aunt had recounted to her about an encounter with Sigmund Freud.
In 2009 I was visiting my ‘aunt’ in Vienna. She was a very old lady but her memory and spirit were formidable.
When I mentioned I was going to the Freud Museum she recalled the following story…
“Before the war we had a flower shop. One evening my mother sent me to [Freud’s apartment on] Berggasse with a big bunch of flowers and a card.
I was told to give the flowers and the card which I had written out very neatly to a Mr Freud.
When I arrived I was shown into a large hallway and waited till he appeared.
He looked serious and sad. But, when I gave him the note his face lit up.
The message was “We are looking forward to seeing you in London.”
Inge could not remember who had sent it, but she remembered that he forgot to tip her and roared with laughter at the memory!
She was a remarkable woman.
After the war she became a successful business woman. She never forgot the suffering and cruelty she witnessed during the war and made a point of welcoming many refugees from various nations and of differing faiths into her home: giving them work, helping them to learn German and to assimilate.
Her name was Inge Kunz-Zur and I miss her wisdom, warmth and humour.
Inge’s visit was probably in May or June 1938, when Vienna was under the control of the Nazis and plans were being frantically made to get the Freud family to safety.
The flowers may have been from the psychoanalyst Ernest Jones, who played an important role in getting the Freuds to London, and his wife Katharina.
Does anyone in your family have recollections of Sigmund Freud? We’d love to hear from you – do contact us!
Leaving Today: The Freuds in Exile, 1938 runs until 30 September 2018.