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Sabina Spielrein was born 1885 into a family of a Jewish merchant in Rostov, and died there in 1942, murdered by Nazi troops. She was one of the first female psychoanalysts. Sabine Spielrein was married to Pavel Scheftel, a physician of Russian Jewish descent. They had two daughters: Renate, born 1912, and Eva, born 1924; both were murdered with their mother in 1942. Scheftel perished in the Great Terror, in 1936.

A student of medicine in Zürich, Spielrein was admitted to Burghölzli Mental Hospital near Zürich, where Carl Gustav Jung worked at time, and remained there from August 17 1904 till June 1 1905. In 1904-1911, she established a deep emotional relationship with C. G. Jung; later Jung was her dissertation advisor, and his own work bore certain influence of Spielrein's. She graduated in 1911, defending a dissertation about a case of schizophrenia; in the same year, she was elected member of Vienna Society of Psychoanalysis.

In 1923, Spielrein returned to Soviet Russia and with Vera Schmidt established a kindergarten in Moscow, nicknamed "White Nursery" by the children (all furniture and walls having been white). The institution was committed to bringing up children as free persons as early as possible. "The White Nursery" was closed down three years later by the authorities under false accusation and it was accused of practising sexual perversions on the children (in fact, Stalin actually enrolled his own son, Vasily, into the "White Nursery", under a false name).

Sabine Spielrein's letters, journals and copies of hospital records were revealed and published, as was her correspondence with Jung and Freud.

A documentary, Ich hieß Sabina Spielrein (My Name was Sabina Spielrein), was made in 2002 by Swedish director Elisabeth Marton and was released in the US in late 2005 (see Spielrein figures prominently in two contemporary British plays: Sabina (1998) by Snoo Wilson and The Talking Cure (2003) by Christopher Hampton. Also, there is a biopic Prendimi l’anima (The Soul Keeper), directed by Roberto Faenza.

Literature[edit | edit source]

  • Sabina Spielrein: Sämtliche Schriften, utgiven av Erika Kittler 1987, ISBN 3-926023-03-1
  • Aldo Carotenuto: Tagebuch einer heimlichen Symmetrie : Sabina Spielrein zwischen Jung und Freud; preface by Johannes Cremerius ; translated to German 1986, Italian original Diario di una segreta simmetria, Sabina Spielrein tra Jung e Freud
  • Covington, C. (2001) Comments on the Burghölzli hospital records of Sabina Spielrein J. Analytical Psychology, 46, 105-116
  • Goldberg, A. (1984) A Secret Symmetry. Sabina Spielrein Between Jung and Freud. Psychoanal Q., 53:135-137
  • Hoffner, A. (2001) Jung's Analysis of Sabina Spielrein and his use of Freud's free association method J. Analytical Psychology, 46, 117-128
  • Kaspit, D. (1994) A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:883-891
  • Raphael-Leff, J. (1983) A Secret Symmetry. Sabina Spielrein Between Jung and Freud. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 10:241-242
  • Richebächer, Sabine (2003) "In league with the devil, and yet you fear fire?" Sabina Spielrein and C. G. Jung: A suppressed scandal from the early days of psychoanalysis. Covington, C. and Wharton, B. Sabina Spielrein. Forgotten pioneer of psychoanalysis. Brunner-Routledge, Hove and New York, 227-249
  • Richebächer, Sabine (2005) Sabina Spielrein. "Eine fast grausame Liebe zur Wissenschaft". Biographie 400 p. Dörlemann Zürich
  • Silverman, M. (1985) A Secret Symmetry. Sabina Spielrein Between Jung And Freud. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 33(S):205-209
  • Thompson, N. (1996) Freud, Jung And Sabina Spielrein: A Most Dangerous Method.. Psychoanal Q., 65:644-649
  • Van Waning, A. (1992) The Works of Pioneering Psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein—'Destruction as a Cause of Coming Into Being'. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 19:399-414

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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