Berggasse 19, Wien IX

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In September 1891 Sigmund Freud, with his wife Martha and his children Mathilde, Martin, and Oliver, moved into a newly constructed building, Berggasse 19, in Vienna's ninth district. Built according to plans by Alexander Stierlin, the building was perfectly suited to its surroundings, consistent with the architecture of the Gründerzeit (founders) style, which changed the face of Berlin, Vienna, and Paris. There were fourteen apartments in the building, all of them sumptuous.

Freud's family occupied the first floor, and it was there that Ernst, Sophie, and Anna were born. In 1896, because of a lack of space, Freud rented an office on the floor below since the apartment opposite his was occupied by his sister Rosa Graf and her children. It wasn't until 1908, when Rosa and her family moved out, that Freud moved into the apartment where he saw patients and received his friends, and which was later catalogued by the photographer Edmund Engelman. He left the apartment in 1938, bringing with him his furniture, his collection of antique objects, and his personal belongings.

After 1908, Freud's family occupied the entire first floor. During the 1930s, Dorothy Burlingham, born Dorothy Tiffany, moved into the second floor while her children were undergoing analysis with Anna Freud. She became friends with Anna and later her close collaborator.

In 1902 a small group, known as the Wednesday Society, began meeting in the apartment at Berggasse 19; it was the first psychoanalytic discussion group. It was there as well that Freud met with his colleaguesmany of whom he considered friendsincluding Sándor Ferenczi, Max Eitingon, and Ernest Jones, along with writers and intellectuals. It was in his office there that Freud wrote the majority of his work.

Since the turn of the century, Freud had surrounded himself with his collection of antique objects, continuously enriched, initially by the purchases he himself made during his trips to Italy and then by those of his friends and colleagues, especially Emanuel Loewy, a professor of archeology. At the end of his life, Freud's collection contained some two thousand, five hundred objects. He got great enjoyment out of the collection, especially when his cancer prevented him from traveling. When he and his family were forced to flee the country, the apartment was rented and all traces of his presence in it disappeared.

The building has housed the Sigmund Freud museum since its opening in 1971, in the presence of Anna Freud, operated by the Sigmund Freud Society. The museum occupies the entire first floor of the building that remained the Freud family residence for nearly fifty years. But it was only with the opening of the museum that the building, which receives nearly forty thousand visitors a year, has assumed its rightful place in the cultural life of Europe.

Ingrid Scholz-Strasser

See also: Austria; Freud, Sigmund Schlomo; Sigmund Freud Museum; Wiener psychoanalytische Vereinigung.


Engelman, Edmund. (1993). Berggasse 19, Sigmund Freud's home and offices, Vienna, 1938, the photographs of Edmund Engelman. New York: Basic Books.

Leupold-Löwenthal, Harald, Lobner, Hanz, and Scholz-Strasser, Inge. (1994). Sigmund-Freud Museum Katalog. Vienna: Christian Brandstätter.

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Berggasse 19, Wien IX

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