Promised Lands: Freud’s Exiles

13 January 2010 to 21 February 2010

Promised Lands: Freud’s Exiles is a historical exhibition exploring the cultural background and historical forces that determined the fate of Sigmund Freud and his family, and how he became a refugee at the end of his life.

Athena, Freud Museum London collection

It tells the story of the economic emigration of the Freuds from Freiberg to Vienna in 1859 and finishes with the flight of the family from Nazism to England in 1938. The exhibition was first shown at the Freud Museum in 1996.

The accompanying photographic exhibition Immigrants of Influence honours other Austrian refugees who, like Sigmund Freud, fled to England and made a substantial contribution to life in their adopted country. Photographer Peter Rauter (1948-2006) was influenced by his family’s Austrian heritage and his parents’ experience as part of the larger London émigré community.

The exodus of German and Austrian writers, musicians, scientists and intellectuals in the 1930s left an indelible mark on Europe and America. They had a strong influence on many aspects of British culture, yet few visible memorials remain. The Freud Museum is one of these memorials, and survives today not only as a monument to one man’s exile but also to the cause of intellectual freedom.

Among the portraits featured are those of the paediatrician and close colleague of Anna Freud, Josephine Stross, pianist Ferdinand Rauter who played at a private concert for Freud at 20 Maresfield Gardens, painter Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, and art historian Ernst Gombrich,. The original exhibition was awarded the Silver AFAP (Association of Photographers) Award in 1993, and has been kindly loaned by the Austrian Cultural Forum.

Marie Bonaparte, Sigmund Freud and Wililam Bullitt, Paris, 1938. Freud Museum London collection