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Psychoanalysis and psychoanalysts in France between 1939 and 1945

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France was affected by a deep psychoanalytic silence, both in theoretical and clinical fields, throughout the four years of German occupation. The psychoanalytic Institute closed its doors and the Revue française de Psychanalyse interrupted its publication as soon as the armistice was declared in 1940. Some people, e.g. Rudolf Loewenstein or Princess Marie Bonaparte emigrated, others fought, for instance, Sacha Nacht or Paul Schiff. Daniel Lagache went on with his researches under the auspices of the University of Strasbourg which had sought shelter in Clermont-Ferrand. René Laforgue cooperated with the German occupier; after the Liberation of France in 1944 he was discarded from a group in which, a few years before, he may have entertained the hope of playing an outstanding role. Quite a few of those he analysed remained faithful to him - which was to have an important bearing on the evolution of the psychoanalytic movement in France after 1945. In 1945, indeed, the new generation emerging from the last convulsions of the war, were to gather around the most influential potential leaders: Sacha Nacht and Jacques Lacan. Only after the latency of those silent years, only after those years of violent struggles and cowardice, would the psychoanalytic elaboration appear, along with the institutional feuds to which they gave rise - in a conflictual climate amounting to the scission of 1953.
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Keywords: France (collaboration); France (resistance); German occupation; Laforgue René; Paris Psychoanalytic Society

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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