Viktor Frankl

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Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl2.jpg
Frankl in 1965
Born
Viktor Emil Frankl

(1905-03-26)26 March 1905
Died2 September 1997(1997-09-02) (aged 92)
Vienna, Austria
Resting place Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Austria, Old Jewish Section
Nationality Austrian
EducationDoctorate in Medicine, 1925, Doctorate in Philosophy, 1948
Alma mater University of Vienna
OccupationNeurologist, psychiatrist
Known for Logotherapy
Existential analysis
Spouse(s)Tilly Grosser, m. 1941
Eleonore Katharina Schwindt, m. 1947
ChildrenGabriele Frankl-Vesely
Parent(s)Gabriel Frankl and Elsa Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997) [1] [2] was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor, surviving Theresienstadt, Kaufering and Türkheim. Frankl was the founder of the logotherapy method (based on the will to meaning principle) and is most notable for his best-selling book Man's Search for Meaning . The book is an account within the concentration camp hierarchy, where in various camps he practiced, 'concluded' and several times quotes, the validity of means for a Nietzschean survival. [3] Frankl was, for a time, a minor figure in existential therapy and influenced humanistic psychology. [4] He has been the subject of some criticism from notable holocaust analysts [5] [6] who question the levels of Nazi collaboration by Frankl, the inherence in the ideology of logotherapy and its origins itself. A disparate group of others also raise doubts in regard to acts which Frankl willingly pursued in the time before his internment; during that time, as a member of the austro-fascist Fatherland Front, without any medical precedence or training as a surgeon, Frankl - under the oversight of the Nazi administration - insisted on performing experimental Lobotomies on Jews who had resisted arrest, with an overdose of sedatives, and were declared dead by other doctors of the Reich. [7] which psychiatrists and biographers alike suggest - comprises a link to Nazi human experimentation. These and other incidents, hinted at in Frankl's own autobiographical account, such as receiving nazi premium coupons, then promotion into the senior prison warden position, the Kapo ; that, as well as further events after the war, such as the possible cleansing of Frankl's Gestapo file, continue to be looked at by researchers. [8] [9]

Contents

Life before 1945

Frankl was born in Vienna into a Jewish family of civil servants (Beamtenfamilie). His interest in psychology surfaced early. For the final exam (Matura) in Gymnasium, he wrote a paper on the psychology of philosophical thinking. After graduation from Gymnasium in 1923, he studied medicine at the University of Vienna. In practice he specialized in neurology and psychiatry, concentrating on the topics of depression and suicide. His early development was influenced by his contacts with Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, although he would diverge from their teachings. [10] [4]

Physician, therapist

During a part of 1924, Frankl became president of the Sozialistische Mittelschüler Österreich, the Social Democratic youth movement for high school students, throughout Austria. [1] :59 Frankl's first published paper was on the influencing mimic movements of affirmation and negation, published in the then International Journal of Psychoanalysis in 1924. [11]

The following unfinished paper Frankl began to consider was Fools Tell the Truth, the title of a book Frankl had planned to write, as "two times two make four, even if a paranoid patient says it." The concept that what is 'sick' is not necessarily wrong, is a central idea in logotherapy. [12]

Between 1928 and 1930, while still a medical student, he organized and offered a special program to counsel high school students free of charge. The program involved the participation of psychologists such as Charlotte Bühler, and it paid special attention to students at the time when they received their report cards. In 1931, not a single Viennese student committed suicide.[ citation needed ] The success of this program grabbed the attention of the likes of Wilhelm Reich who invited him to Berlin. [2] [13] [ promotional source? ] [14] [ non-primary source needed ]

Austrofascism

Following the seminal watersheds in Austrian history of the 1927 Vienna revolt which left 85 protestors dead and within the backdrop of the censorship of the press, that followed the storming of Hotel Schiff in February 1934 by Austrian police, it kickstarted the Austrian Civil War, the first armed resistance to a fascist government in Europe. A promptly suffocated rebellion involving the Austrian social democrats and unionised factory workers, was supported by the Republikanischer Schutzbund ("Republican Protection League"), in opposition to the increasing totalitarian encroachment of the fascist Austrian state. In this month, February 1934, Frankl would attain membership within the ruling Austrofascist, Vaterländische Front, "Fatherland Front". [15] Once the uprising, punctuated with the shelling of the factory workers with artillery rounds and the hanging of the 9 surviving Republicans was finalized, Austria under the now only sanctioned political party - the Fatherland Front, changed its name from the "Republic of Austria" to the "Federal State of Austria", with the May 1 constitution of that year.

In September 1934, the ruling Austro-fascist single-party state, of which Frankl was a member, began to establish internment camps for all those of an opposing political thought, most notably, at Wöllersdorf-Steinabrückl. Austro-fascism, having modeled itself after the pan-ethnic Italian Fascist state, shared its use of internment, total obedience to autocratic rule, initial absence of antisemitism and its similar prohibition and persecution of all proponents of parliamentary democracy, Social democracy, Socialism, Communism, and anarchism alike, as equal "dissidents" - to be arrested and interned.

It was within this climate in Vienna, and operating as a member of the ruling Fatherland Front, from 1933 to 1937, that Frankl completed his residency in neurology and psychiatry at the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital in Vienna. He oversaw the so-called Selbstmörderpavillon, or "suicide pavilion". Here, he treated more than 3000 women who had suicidal tendencies. [2] [ unreliable medical source? ]

In 1937, Frankl established his own private practice in neurology and psychiatry at Alser Strasse 32/12 in Vienna. [2]

The Fatherland Front, of which Frankl was a part, having both its own greeting, the "Front Heil!" and national anthem, [16] would reinforce the new Federal State ideology by means of the cultural and the recreational organisation, called "New Life" (Neues Leben), similar to Nazi Germany's Strength Through Joy, that was intended to consume the entire waking life of workers, inclusive of involvement in cultural after-work organizations. [17]

Beginning with the unopposed Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938, and the outlawing of the now 3 million membered Fatherland Front, with its allegiance to Austria as problematic, Frankl was thereby prohibited from treating "Aryan" patients due to his Jewish identity, and because of the new Anschluss prohibition from owning and operating his prior business/practice. In 1940, Frankl started working at the Rothschild Hospital, where he headed its neurological department. This hospital was the only one in Vienna to which Jews were still admitted. His medical opinions (including deliberately false diagnoses [18] [ better source needed ]) saved several patients[ example needed ] from being euthanised via the Nazi euthanasia program.[ citation needed ] In December 1941 he married Tilly Grosser, with the marriage registered within what was then, Nazi Germany. [2] [4]

Early in 1942, Frankl approached Nazi officials and requested to operate without any surgical qualifications, nor medical precedence, in support for the procedure, exploratory brain lobotomy and trepanation medical experiments approved by the Nazis on unnamed Jews who had committed suicide with an overdose of sedatives, in an act of resistance toward a fate of intended arrest, interrogation, imprisonment and enforced labour in the concentration camps system. Following the approval of Frankl's request and operating without any training as a surgeon, Frankl would publish some of the details on his experiments, in Nazi medical journals, detailing the methods of insertion of his chosen amphetamine drugs into the brains of individuals who resisted, resulting in, at times, an alleged partial resuscitation, in 1942, prior to his own arrest and internment at Theresienstadt ghetto in September later in that year. [19] [9] [20]

Prisoner, psychohygiene facilitator

Terezín transports

Notably late in the War, and in direct contrast to that which was experienced by the vast majority of the Austrian Jewish population, from an initial pre-war population of some 181,882 by July 1942 Austria had only about 2,000 Jews still living comparatively free and openly in their initial homes. [21] [22] Frankl, within this group, would become some of the last Austrian Jews to be interned, two months later, 25 September 1942 with himself, his wife and his parents deported to the Nazi Theresienstadt(Terezín town) Ghetto in Occupied Czechoslovakia.

The Ghetto, uniquely unlike others, classified "mildest, category 4" housed many middle class and largely all upper-class Jews, with the facility a "model community" or show-camp, set up by the Schutzstaffel (SS) with the express purpose of concealing ongoing slave labor at other facilities, the Holocaust, and, later, the Nazi plan to murder all Jews, with the facility hiding the repeated destination and initially effective international deception, for touring Red Cross representatives permitted to inspect the facility, who were intended to come away reporting good conditions and the 'high-culture' in the community. [23] In the cultural life of the Theresienstadt ghetto, Frankl states he worked as a general practitioner in a clinic and wrote and gave lectures. According to his account, it was when his skills in psychiatry were noticed by the Nazis, he was assigned to the psychiatric care ward in Block B IV, establishing a "psychohygiene" service. He organized a unit "to help" camp newcomers to 'overcome' shock and grief, with the psychohygiene unit distributing, collecting and Frankl then assessing, responses to the questionnaires that Frankl designed for newcomers to have answer, at the moment of stepping off the train, into the town. [2] [24] [25]

Frankl's unit, acting as a "suicide watch", posed to the arrivals at the increasingly overcrowded Ghetto, a series of queries from "Have you ever considered Suicide", to “Why didn’t you committed suicide—and why won’t you now?”. [26] This was assisted by the first female Rabbi, Regina Jonas. [2] [24]

Prisoners that could expose or betray the ghetto as the very opposite of the intended propaganda picture of the model community, to the international Red Cross inspections and reports on Theresienstadt, were threatened punishment under the principle of "kinship liability". It would be years before those in other countries would become fully aware of the conditions some of the vulnerable inside the Ghetto lived under. [27]

On 29 July 1943, Frankl would organize a closed event for the 'Scientific Society' in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, and with the help of the controversial Judenrat Leo Baeck, [28] [29] advertise and hold exclusive events, those directed by Frankl involved a series of lectures, including "Sleep and Sleep Disturbances", "Body and Soul", "Medical Care of the Soul", "Psychology of Mountaineering", "How to keep my nerves healthy?", "Medical ministry", "Existential Problems in Psychotherapy", and "Social Psychotherapy". [24] In Terezin, only the social elite could get tickets for such exclusive events, attendance to these and other theatrical performances became a status symbol. [30] Sometime within Terezin, biographers state that Frankl's father Gabriel, starved to death at Theresienstadt, [19] by Frankl's account he died of pulmonary edema and pneumonia. [2] [4] [24]

After the un-faltering "success" of the June 1944 "Operation embellishment", the so called "beautification" process, conducted in anticipation of the arrival of a Red Cross inspection, that involved the concurrent deporting in May of 7,503 "sick" Terezin inmates to the specific Auschwitz 'family camp', with the specific selection process itself, the list to be deported, or rather the extensive "protection list" of those who would not, decided upon by the prominent members of the Jewish Cultural Council, [31] [32] "to deal with" the overcrowding, simultaneously while cultural figures were likewise encouraged by the administration to perform an increasing number of cultural activities, such as the writing and hosting of lecture events, at a rate which exceeded that of an ordinary town in peacetime. [33] [34] [35] after which the remaining working inmates, [36] were directed by the council in physically decorating the town for the coming Red Cross inspection, in the construction of multiple street cafés and other related normality symbols, that otherwise did not exist, many prominent council inmates, were themselves interviewed and screened by the Gestapo(SS), to determine which would have permission to discuss with the coming representatives, visiting what was re-titled a "Jewish settlement" on the last deportation. After the effective completion of the deception by the Council, eleven transports, totaling 18,402 inmates of the ghetto's 30,000, were themselves deported between September 28, and October 28, 1944. [37] Previously, the Jewish Council had chosen or marked the people to be deported, but now the SS made the selections, ensuring that many members of the Jewish Council, workers and cultural figures were deported also. [31] [32]

Kaufering III camp to Türkheim warden-Kapo

Close to the end of these mass deportations, on 19 October 1944, Frankl, his wife Tilly, Regina Jonas and many others from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, were transported to the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, where he was processed.[ citation needed ] On 25 October, Frankl is listed as arriving in the southern German Kaufering III, of XI labor camp, [19] which held up to 2,000 all-male prisoners in earthen huts. When it opened in June of that year, the prisoners were forced to construct a transport route to connect underground aircraft factories, creating the infrastructure for the mass production of the Messerschmitt Me 262, the world's first jet-powered bomber destroyer. The Nazis hoped it would decisively regain air supremacy and reduce the effectiveness of Allied bombing of the Nazi armament industry. [38] [39] [40]

The all-male camp would reportedly have one display of defiance, or resistance, sometime during "the sixth winter of the War", with food rationing growingly severe and while the means of detection of the alleged theft is not described nor there existing any supporting evidence that it ever took place, the story Frankl recounts is that a prisoner had stolen a quantity of potatoes, with this purportedly detected resulting in the Nazi Guards threatening that if "the individual" wasn't identified, the entire camp would starve for the next day. With the 2,500 men of the Kaufering camp, defying that order to single out anyone as had been intended, going on the hunger strike without any food. [41]

Frankl was at that time of unease, reportedly consulted by a concerned Nazi intermediary, that night in the camp structure, a block warden termed a "Kapo", when the single light bulb of the huts were in and out of darkness, he approached and requested Frankl's intervention when the men's morale was in his view, allegedly low, Frankl recounts standing up from his bunk, before the hungry men, where he delivered to them the perspective of what little had been taken from them and how it could be restored, to not give up hope of their potential coming luck of assignment to a more favorable work outfit and upon the completion of the speech, the single light bulb of the hut, powered by the Nazi electrical system, came back on, with the outcome of Frankl's intervention, reportedly resulting in many of the beleaguered inmates crying and their uninterrupted return to labor the next day. [42] According to Frankl, it was due to his particular feats of physical initiative at this work camp, that they did not go unnoticed by the Nazi administration and he was gifted "premium coupons" in late 1944, beginning of 1945. [19] Similarly, according to Frankl's autobiography, it was when infected with the ubiquitous typhoid, [2] [4] he was allowed to leave the work camp and was offered a move to the so-called rest camp of Türkheim, prison records list his departure from Kaufering as 8 March 1945. [19] Frankl states that in Turkheim he was placed in charge of fifty men with typhus, it was here he rose to the Kapo position of "senior block warden" and began writing his book anew, until 27 April 1945, when the camp was liberated by American soldiers. [19]

Frankl's wife, having likewise been transported via the transit hub, that lay in proximity to, but not in the Auschwitz camp, was sent on to Bergen-Belsen, a facility that housed a considerable number of women and minors, including Anne Frank, where they were forced to work in the shoe recycling labor camp and by the process of Extermination through labour was murdered by the brutal labor conditions sometime close to the time of its liberation in 1945. [19] The only survivor of the Holocaust among Frankl's immediate family was his sister, Stella, who had emigrated from Austria to Australia. [2] [4]

Life after 1945

Liberated after several months in concentration camps, Frankl returned to Vienna, where he dictated to stenographer-typists his well known work, "the flood gates had opened", completing the book, by 1946. [19] Frankl then published his world-famous book entitled, Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe Erlebt das Konzentrationslager ("Saying Yes to Life in Spite of Everything: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp"), known in English by the title Man's Search for Meaning (1959 title: From Death-Camp to Existentialism). [43] In this book, he described the life of an ordinary concentration camp inmate from the objective perspective of a psychiatrist. [4] [44] Frankl believed that people are primarily driven by a "striving to find a meaning in one's life," and that it is this sense of meaning that enables people to overcome painful experiences.

After enduring the sufferings in these camps, Frankl concluded that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has a potential meaning and that, therefore, even suffering is meaningful. This conclusion served as a basis for his logotherapy and existential analysis, which Frankl had described before World War II. He said, "What is to give light - must endure burning." [45]

Frankl's concentration camp experiences shaped both his therapeutic approach and philosophical outlook, as reflected in his seminal publications.

He often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of Men to exist: decent ones and unprincipled ones. These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. "Under such conditions, who could blame them for trying to dope themselves?" "These were the men who were employed in the gas chambers and crematoriums, and who knew very well that one day they would have to leave their enforced role of executioners and become victims themselves." [44]

In 1946, he was appointed to run the Vienna Polyclinic of Neurology. He remained there until 1971. In 1947 he married his second wife Eleonore Katharina Schwindt. She was a practicing Catholic, and the couple respected each other's religious backgrounds, going to both church and synagogue, and celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah. They had one daughter, Gabriele, who went on to become a child psychologist. [2] [4] [46]

In 1948, Frankl earned a Ph.D.[ where? ] in philosophy. His dissertation, The Unconscious God, is an examination of the relation of psychology and religion. [47] In this, Frankl advocates for the use of the Socratic dialogue or "self-discovery discourse" to be used with clients, to get in touch with their "Noetic" (or spiritual) unconscious. [48]

Grave of Viktor Frankl in Vienna Grave of Viktor Frankl 02.jpg
Grave of Viktor Frankl in Vienna

In 1955, he was awarded a professorship of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna, and as visiting professor, he resided at Harvard University (1961), at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (1966), and at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh (1972).

Religious recruitment and initial raising of authoritarianism

In the 1950s, Frankl began to recruit Methodist ministers and similar pastoral psychologists, to promote logotherapy amongst them. In the 1960s, the wider psychology establishment would "turn against" Frankl, when the other major proponent of existential psychoanalysis - Rollo May, began to question the nature of logotherapy, and Man’s Search for Meaning; he would similarly go on to publish a criticism and argue that the practice of logotherapy - is authoritarian. [49] [50]

The American Psychiatric Association awarded Frankl the 1985 Oskar Pfister Award for important contributions to religion and psychiatry. [51]

Frankl published 39 books, which were translated into 49 languages. [52] He lectured and taught seminars all over the world and received 29 honorary doctoral degrees. [46]

Frankl died of heart failure on 2 September 1997. He was survived by his wife Eleonore, one daughter, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. [53]

Controversy

"Auschwitz survivor" testimony

In The Missing Pieces of the Puzzle: A Reflection on the Odd Career of Viktor Frankl, Professor of history, Timothy Pytell of California State University, San Bernardino, [54] conveys the numerous discrepancies and omissions in Frankl's "Auschwitz survivor" account and later autobiography, which many of his contemporaries, such as Thomas Szasz, similarly have raised. [8] In Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning the book devotes approximately half of its contents to describing Auschwitz and the psychology of its prisoners, suggesting a long stay at the death camp, however his wording is contradictory and to Pytell, "profoundly deceptive", when rather the impression of staying for months, Frankl was held close to the train, in the "depot prisoner" area of Auschwitz and for no more than a few days, he was neither registered there, nor assigned a number before being sent on to a subsidiary work camp of Dachau, known as Kaufering III, that together with Terezín, is the true setting of much of what is described in his book. [55] [40] [56]

Origins and implications of logotherapy

Frankl's doctrine was that one must instill meaning in the events in one's life, and that work and suffering can lead to finding meaning, with this ultimately what would lead to fulfillment and happiness. In 1982 the scholar and holocaust analyst Lawrence L. Langer, who while also critical of Frankl's distortions on the true experience of those at Auschwitz, [20] and Frankl's amoral focus on "meaning", that in Langer's assessment could just as equally be applied to Nazis "finding meaning in making the world free from Jews", [57] would go on to write "if this [logotherapy] doctrine had been more succinctly worded, the Nazis might have substituted it for the cruel mockery of Arbeit Macht Frei"["work sets free", read by those entering Auschwitz]. [58] With, in professor Pytell's view, Langer also penetrating through Frankl's disturbed subtext that Holocaust "survival [was] a matter of mental health. With Langer criticizing Frankl's tone as almost self-congratulatory and promotional throughout, that "it comes as no surprise to the reader, as he closes the volume, that the real hero of Man's Search for Meaning is not man, but Viktor Frankl" by the continuation of the same fantasy of world-view meaning-making, which is precisely what had perturbed civilization into the holocaust-genocide of this era and others. [59]

Pytell later would remark on the particularly sharp insight of Langer's reading of Frankl's holocaust testimony, noting that with Langer's criticism published in 1982 before Pytell's biography, the former had thus drawn the controversial parallels, or accommodations in ideology without the knowledge that Victor Frankl was an advocate/"embraced" [60] the key ideas of the Nazi psychotherapy movement ("will and responsibility" [61] ) as a form of therapy in the late 1930s. When at that time Frankl would submit a paper and contributed to the Göring institute in Vienna 1937 and again in early 1938 connecting the logotherapy focus on "world-view" to the "work of some of the leading Nazi psychotherapists", [62] both at a time before Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938. [63] [64] Frankl's founding logotherapy paper, was submitted to and published in the Zentrallblatt fuer Psychotherapie[ sic ] the journal of the Goering Institute, a psychotherapy movement, with the "proclaimed agenda of building psychotherapy that affirmed a Nazi-oriented worldview". [65]

The origins of logotherapy, as described by Frankl, were therefore a major issue of continuity that Biographer Pytell argues were potentially problematic for Frankl because he had laid out the main elements of logotherapy while working for/contributing to the Nazi-affiliated Göring Institute. Principally Frankl's 1937 paper, that was published by the institute. [64] This association, as a source of controversy, that logotherapy was palatable to National Socialism is the reason Pytell suggests, Frankl took two different stances on how the concentration-camp experience affected the course of his psychotherapy theory. Namely, that within the original English edition of Frankl's most well known book, Man's Search for Meaning, the suggestion is made and still largely held that logotherapy was itself derived from his camp experience, with the claim as it appears in the original edition, that this form of psychotherapy was "not concocted in the philosopher's armchair nor at the analyst's couch; it took shape in the hard school of air-raid shelters and bomb craters; in concentration camps and prisoner of war camps." Frankl's statements however to this effect would be deleted from later editions, though in the 1963 edition, a similar statement again appeared on the back of the book jacket of Man's Search for Meaning.

Frankl over the years would with these widely read statements and others, switch between the claim that logotherapy took shape in the camps to the claim that the camps merely were a testing ground of his already preconceived theories. An uncovering of the matter would occur in 1977 with Frankl revealing on this controversy, though compounding another, stating "People think I came out of Auschwitz with a brand-new psychotherapy. This is not the case." [19]

Jewish relations and experiments on the resistance

In the post war years, Frankl's attitude towards not pursuing justice nor assigning collective guilt to the Austrian people for collaborating with or acquiescing in the face of Nazism, led to "frayed" relationships between Frankl, many Viennese and the larger American Jewish community, such that in 1978 when attempting to give a lecture at the institute of Adult Jewish Studies in New York, Frankl was confronted with an outburst of boos from the audience and was called a "nazi pig". [63] [66] From some initial 160,000 Jews in Vienna prior the war and with the majority having fled during the Anschluss, to the US and elsewhere, of the 65,000 Viennese Jews that remained behind and who were arrested/deported to concentration camps, less than 2,000 survived. [67]

In 1988 Frankl would further "stir up sentiment against him" by being photographed next to and in accepting the Great Silver Medal with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria as a holocaust survivor, from President Waldheim, a controversial president of Austria who concurrent with the medal ceremony, was gripped by revelations that he had lied about his WWII military record and was under investigation for complicity in Nazi War crimes. Frankl's acceptance of the medal was viewed by a large segment of the international Jewish community as a betrayal and by a disparate group of commentators, that its timing was politically motivated, an attempt to rehabilitate Waldheim's reputation on the world stage. [68] In his "Gutachten" Gestapo profile, Frankl is described as "politically perfect" by the Nazi secret police, with Frankl's membership in the Austro-fascist "Fatherland Front" in 1934, similarly stated in isolation, Frankl was interviewed twice by the secret police during the war, yet nothing of the expected contents, the subject of discussion or any further information on these interviews, is contained in Frankl's file, suggesting to biographers that Frankl's file was "cleansed" sometime after the war. [69]

None of Frankl's obituaries mention the unqualified and unskilled brain lobotomy and trepanation medical experiments approved by the Nazis that Frankl performed on Jews who had committed suicide with an overdose of sedatives, in resistance to their impending arrest, imprisonment and enforced labour in the concentration camp system. Operating without any training as a surgeon, Frankl would voluntarily request of the Nazis to perform the experiments on those who had resisted, and once approved - published some of the details on his experiments, the methods of insertion of his chosen amphetamine drugs into the brains of these individuals, resulting in, at times, an alleged partial resuscitation, mainly in 1942 (prior to his own internment at Theresienstadt ghetto in September, later in that year). Historian Günter Bischof of Harvard University, suggests Frankl's approaching and requesting to perform lobotomy experiments could be seen as a way to "ingratiate" himself amongst the Nazis, as the latter were not, at that time, appreciative of the international scrutiny that these suicides were beginning to create, nor "suicide" being listed on arrest records. [19] [9] [20]

Legacy

Frankl's logotherapy and existential analysis is considered "the third Viennese School of Psychotherapy", [52] among the broad category that comprises existentialists. [70] For Irvin Yalom, Frankl, "who has devoted his career to a study of an existential approach to therapy, has apparently concluded that the lack of meaning is the paramount existential stress. To him, existential neurosis is synonymous with a crisis of meaninglessness". [70]

He has coined the term noogenic neurosis, and illustrated it with the example of Sunday neurosis. It refers to a form of anxiety resulting from an awareness, in some people, of the emptiness of their lives once the working week is over. [71] Some complain of a void and a vague discontent. [70] This arises from an existential vacuum, or feeling of meaninglessness, which is a common phenomenon and is characterised by the subjective state of boredom, apathy, and emptiness. One feels cynical, lacks direction, and questions the point of most of life's activities. [70]

"People without a meaning in their life are exposed to aggression, depression and addiction". [44]

Viktor Frankl once recommended that the 'Statue of Liberty' on the East Coast of the United States be complemented by a 'Statue of Responsibility', on the West Coast:

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story, and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness, unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. [72] [73]

Decorations and awards

Bibliography

His books in English are:

See also

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Benjamin Murmelstein Austrian rabbi

Benjamin Israel Murmelstein was an Austrian rabbi. He was one of 17 community rabbis in Vienna in 1938 and the only one remaining in Vienna by late 1939. An important figure and board member of the Jewish group in Vienna during the early stages of the war, he was also an "Ältester" of the Judenrat in the Theresienstadt concentration camp after 1943. He was the only "Judenältester" to survive the Holocaust and has been credited with saving the lives of thousands of Jews by assisting in their emigration, while also being accused of being a Nazi collaborator.

<i>The Doctor and the Soul</i> book by Viktor Frankl

The Doctor and the Soul is a book by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, the Vienesse psychiatrist and founder of logotherapy.

Joseph B. Fabry was an Austrian-American writer associated with the Logotherapy movement. Fabry earned his doctorate from the University of Vienna. Being Jewish, Fabry had attempted to flee from the Nazis, but was arrested and held in a detention camp in Belgium. After the war, Fabry migrated to the United States, eventually moving to Berkeley where he became an editor for the University of California Press. Fabry met Viktor Frankl in 1965 and developed a lifelong friendship with him. Fabry became involved in the Logotherapy movement, writing and editing a number of works, as well as organizing conferences. He also helped found the Institute of Logotherapy in California.

Theresienstadt family camp section of Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp

The Theresienstadt family camp, also known as the Czech family camp, consisted of a group of Jewish inmates from the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, who were held in the BIIb section of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp from 8 September 1943 to 12 July 1944. The Germans created the camp to mislead the outside world about the Final Solution.

Maurice Rossel was a Swiss doctor and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) official during the Holocaust. He is best known for visiting Theresienstadt concentration camp on 23 June 1944; he erroneously reported that Theresienstadt was the final destination for Jewish deportees and that their lives were "almost normal". His report, which is considered "emblematic of the failure of the ICRC" during the Holocaust, undermined the credibility of the more accurate Vrba-Wetzler Report and misled the ICRC about the Final Solution. Rossel later visited Auschwitz concentration camp. In 1979, he was interviewed by Claude Lanzmann; based on this footage, the 1997 film A Visitor from the Living(fr) was produced.

Leo Holzer

Leo Holzer was an Austrian-Czech firefighter and Holocaust survivor best known for leading the fire brigade inside Theresienstadt concentration camp, which he used as a cover for resistance activities. After the war, he remained in communist Czechoslovakia and became an advocate for Czech-German reconciliation.

Transport of Białystok children murder of 1,200 Jewish children by Nazi Germany

On 21 August 1943, during the liquidation of the Białystok Ghetto, about 1,200 Jewish children were put on trains and taken to Theresienstadt concentration camp, where they were held in isolation from other prisoners. On 5 October, they were told that they would be sent to Switzerland in exchange for German prisoners of war. Instead, the train went to Auschwitz concentration camp where all were murdered in gas chambers. The reason for the unusual route of the transport is still debated by scholars; it is believed to be connected to Nazi–Jewish negotiations ongoing at the time and the intervention of Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, who feared that the children would settle in Palestine.

Cultural life of Theresienstadt Ghetto

Theresienstadt was originally designated as a model community for middle-class Jews from Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria. Many educated Jews were inmates of Theresienstadt. In a propaganda effort designed to fool the western allies, the Nazis publicised the camp for its rich cultural life. In reality, according to a Holocaust survivor, "during the early period there were no [musical] instruments whatsoever, and the cultural life came to develop itself only ... when the whole management of Theresienstadt was steered into an organized course."

Theresienstadt was used by the Schutzstaffel (SS) as a "model ghetto" for fooling Red Cross representatives about the ongoing Holocaust and the Nazi plan to murder all Jews. The Nazified German Red Cross visited the ghetto in 1943 and filed the only accurate report on the ghetto, describing overcrowding and undernourishment. In 1944, the ghetto was "beautified" in preparation for a delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Danish government. The delegation visited on 23 June; ICRC delegate Maurice Rossel wrote a favorable report on the ghetto and claimed that no one was deported from Theresienstadt. In April 1945, another ICRC delegation was allowed to visit the ghetto; despite the contemporaneous liberation of other concentration camps, it continued to repeat Rossel's erroneous findings. The SS turned over the ghetto to the ICRC on 2 May, several days before the end of the war.

References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Haddon Klingberg (16 October 2001). When life calls out to us: the love and lifework of Viktor and Elly Frankl. Doubleday. ISBN   978-0-385-50036-4.
  3. VIKTOR FRANKL 1905 - 1997 Dr. C. George Boeree, Shippensburg University "He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how."
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  5. Lawrence Langer, Versions of Survival: The Holocaust and the Human Spirit (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982), p.24. [End Page 107]
  6. Redeeming the Unredeemable:Auschwitz and Man's Search for Meaning, Timothy E. Pytell, California State University. Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 17, Number 1, Spring 2003 Oxford University Press
  7. "Frankl also admitted that the "primary Reich surgeon had refused to undertake the surgeries." When, in order to avoid deportation to concentration camps, patients had been overdosed on sleeping pills and subsequently had been given up for dead by other doctors, Frankl felt justified in attempting relatively novel brain surgery techniques. First, "some injections intravenously ... and if this didn't work I gave them injections into the brain ... into the Cisterna Magna. And if that did not work I made a trepanation, opened the skull..."
  8. 1 2 Szasz, T.S. (2003). The secular cure of souls: "Analysis" or dialogue? Existential Analysis, 14: 203-212 (July).
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  38. 1 2 List of inmates who were transferred to Kaufering III camp, 11/07/1944-16/04/1945
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  54. See Martin Weinmann, ed., Das nationalsozialistische Lagersystem (Frankfurt: Zweitausendeins, 1990), pp.195, 558.
  55. [Suicide Prohibition: The Shame of Medicine By Thomas Szasz pg 62]
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  57. Lawrence Langer, Versions of Survival: The Holocaust and the Human Spirit (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982) As "So nonsensically unspecific is this universal principle of being that one can imagine Heinrich Himmler announcing it to his SS men, or Joseph Goebbels sardonically applying it to the genocide of the Jews!"
  58. Austrian Lives By Günter Bischof pg 241-242
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