The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Marie Bonaparte, Napoleon's great-grandniece who helped Freud flee the Nazi regime


Passionate about psychoanalysis, the ultimate descendant of the Bonapartes made the discipline emerge in France. Friend and support of Freud, she helped him to flee the Nazi regime. A story told by Virginie Girod*.

Marie Bonaparte is less well known than her famous great-great-uncle Napoleon.

Yet she had the atavistic audacity.

And Sigmund Freud and French psychoanalysis owe him a lot.

Born in 1882 in Saint-Cloud, Marie Bonaparte married Prince George of Greece at the age of 25, who was introduced to her by her father.

Georges, homosexual, will remain a "faithful companion", the father of their two children, while loving his own uncle, Valdemar of Denmark.

To get away from it all, Marie frequents intellectuals, including science popularizer Gustave Le Bon, author of a famous book on the psychology of crowds.

It was he who introduced him to psychoanalysis, a discipline then shunned in France although Freud was at the height of his glory in Austria.

To discover

  • Scandals


    > Jeff Bezos: the billionaire who wanted to look younger at all costs

  • Watch the Business Masterclass “Investing can be learned” in replay

On video,

In Therapy

, the trailer

intellectual passion

Thanks to a friend, the princess was introduced to the master, and there she began an intensive analysis in Vienna, in September 1925. In a few months, she was convinced by Freud's genius and, back in France, immediately the champion of psychoanalysis.

In particular with five doctors, including René Laforgue, one of the precursors in the field, in 1926 she co-founded the Psychoanalytical Society of Paris, a learned society of reflection on Freudian concepts and their application in the medical world.

The group communicates through the Revue française de psychanalyse, a press organ largely financed by the princess, who also publishes her own research there.

Marie Bonaparte made a name for herself in the industry, and translated Freud's works into French.

Marie Bonaparte organized Freud's exile to London in 1938 (centre).

Here, when changing trains in Paris.

Alamy Stock Photo

A friend in danger

When Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany, Marie understands that Freud, a Jew, whose epistolary friend she has become, will soon be in danger.

She invites him to move out.

The father of psychoanalysis initially refuses, then ends up coming to terms with the facts after the Anschluss in 1938. His favorite daughter, Anna, the heir to his work, was questioned by the Gestapo.

He understands that his notoriety will not be able to protect his family for long.

Marie Bonaparte moved into a branch of the Greek Embassy in Vienna to organize the emigration of the Freuds to England.

The Nazis demanded heavy taxes to let them out of German-held territory.

Marie pays without hesitation a colossal "ransom", which Freud will reimburse in the following months,

just before dying in England in September 1939. During the Second World War, the princess went into exile with the Greek royal family, heading to Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked as a therapist.

She puts an end to her activities in France, and will therefore never be involved in the attempts at collaboration of some of her colleagues, like Laforgue.

"Freud said..."

When she returned to France in 1945 at the age of 63, the new psychoanalysts – including Jacques Lacan – distanced themselves from what they considered to be the guardian of Freudian orthodoxy.

The most acerbic call it “Freud said…”.

Suffering from leukemia, the "last of the Bonapartes" died in 1962 in Saint-Tropez.

Even if its work has been undervalued by a large number of therapists, French psychoanalysis would probably not have had the success that we know without it.

To read: “Marie Bonaparte/Sigmund Freud, complete correspondence, 1925-1939”, Éditions Flammarion.

* Virginie Girod has a doctorate in history.

Find her in the podcast

At the heart of history

, from Europe 1 Studio, on your favorite listening platform.


Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2023-01-27

You may like

News/Politics 2023-02-16T09:24:55.586Z
Life/Entertain 2023-02-11T07:03:36.889Z

Trends 24h

Life/Entertain 2023-03-25T16:41:40.781Z
Life/Entertain 2023-03-25T18:11:52.945Z
Life/Entertain 2023-03-25T17:30:03.017Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.