Bauer, Ida (1882-1945)

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BAUER, IDA (1882-1945)

Ida Bauer, alias Dora, is the subject of Freud's famous case history on an adolescent (Freud, 1905).

Her father, Philip Bauer, who became a rich textile industrialist, was born in 1853 in Pollerskirchen. Her mother, Katherina or Käthe (née Gerber), was born in 1862 in Königinhof, a village that, like her husband's birthplace, was located in the eastern part of Bohemia. Shortly after marriage, the Bauers had their only two children, both born in Vienna: Otto, born on September 5, 1881; and Dora, November 1, 1882. Contrary to his sister, whose reputation stemmed solely from her patienthood, Otto achieved eminence as the parliamentary leader and foreign minister of the First Austrian Republic, as its chief Marxist theorist, and as secretary to the Austrian Social Democratic Worker's Party.

After contracting tuberculosis, the wealthy Philip moved with his family in 1888 from Vienna to B, Freud's designation for Merano, a Tyrolean resort town that is presently in Italy and situated four hundred kilometers to the southwest of Vienna. In Merano the Bauers befriended another resident couple, designated by Freud as Herr and Frau K, the letter pronounced in German the same way as the last syllable of their real married name, Zellenka. Hans Zellenka and his wife Peppina (née Heumann) had two young children, Otto and the congenitally ill Klara, both born in 1891. Although afflicted herself with bouts of tussis nervosa and aphonia, Dora would care for both her sick father and the Zellenka children.

In 1894 Philip became even more sick. Nursed by Peppina, Philip then started a long liaison with her. Dora's conflicts were aggravated by that liaison and also by two traumata that she suffered at the hands of Hans. Although she consulted Freud once in 1898, Dora did not go into treatment with him until the earlier part of October 1900; she abruptly terminated treatment nearly three months later, on the last day of the year. In 1903 she married Ernst Adler, who, not succeeding as a musician, went to work for her father. Summoned by Dora's physician, Felix Deutch visited the bedridden patient in 1923; reportedly she suffered from almost paranoid behavior and found all men detestable. (Dora's one son, Kurt Herbert, won fame as the director of the San Francisco Opera Company.)

In a fateful twist of history, Dora and Peppina later became friends; both were partners as bridge masters during the 1930s when the card game was the craze in Vienna. Because of her brother Otto's Marxist affiliation, the Nazis sought Dora in the late 1930s, and she hid in Peppina's home. Dora emigrated to Paris, and then to New York where she died.

Patrick Mahony

See also: "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria" (Dora/Ida Bauer).


Decker, Hannah. (1991). Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900. New York: The Free Press.

Freud, Sigmund. (1905e [1901]). Fragment of an analysis of a case of hysteria. SE, 7: 1-122.

Loewenberg, Peter. (1985). Decoding the past: The psychohistorical approach. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

Mahony, Patrick. (1996). Freud's Dora: A historical, textual, and psychoanalytic study. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Rogow, Arnold. (1978). A further note to Freud's "Fragment of an analysis of a case of hysteria". Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 26, 311-330.

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Bauer, Ida (1882-1945)

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