Hollós, István (1872-1957)

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HOLLÓS, ISTVÁN (1872-1957)

István Hollós, the Hungarian physician, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, was born in Budapest in 1872 and died there in 1957.

The son of a modest artisan (a Jewish tailor, called Heszler before he Magyarized his name), he studied medicine at the Royal School in Budapest. He met Sándor Ferenczi at the beginning of the century and participated in the foundation of the Psychoanalytic Association of Budapest (1913), of which he was vice-president. He worked as an analyst, then did a short analysis with Freud in 1918, followed by control analysis in Vienna with Paul Federn, an analyst specializing in psychotic patients. He was president of the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society from 1933 to 1939.

He was appointed director of the famous Lipotmezö clinic near Budapest, also known as the "Yellow House." He was close to Ferenczi's circle and opened the doors of his asylum to writers (Kosztolànyi and Karinthy) who were interested in psychotic patients and their linguistic productions. During the period of the Hungarian Commune he taught in the university as a psychiatric "exhibitor." He translated Freud into Hungarian, first The Interpretation of Dreams, finished in about 1917, revised by Ferenczi and published by Somlóin about 1934-1935; followed by The Ego and the Id with Géza Dukes, published by Pantheon in 1937. In 1925, under the anti-Semitic regime of Miklós Horthy he had to resign his position as director of the asylum. He wrote a moving testimony to the work he did there and addressed it to Freud, who was prompted to wonder about his own "intolerance" with regard to psychotic patients. He continued to translate Freud and practice as an analyst while maintaining close relations with Ferenczi.

In 1944 thanks to the last minute intervention of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, he and his wife, along with a few other Jews, escaped a tragic death. He wrote an account of the trauma: Letter from a Survivor (Psyche, 24 (3), 1974). Following the death of his wife and a manic episode for which he received treatment, he returned to the Yellow House, where he ended his days.

Hollós was one of the pioneers of a new approach to mental patients who were, as he put it in 1927, "on strike from life." His sensitivity, empathy, humanistic principles, and analytic practice helped him to transform asylum conditions, thus making him a forerunner of the movement to apply psychoanalysis in psychiatric institutions.

Michelle Moreau Ricaud

See also: Ferenczi, Sándor; Hungary.


Ferenczi, Sándor; and Hollós, István. (1922). Zur Psychoanalyse der paralytischen Geistesstörung. Wien : Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag.

Hollós, István. (1914). Egy versmondo betegröl. Nyugat, 8, p. 333-340.

. (1919). Die Phasen des Selbstbewusstseinsaktes. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 5, p. 93-101.

. (1927). Mes adieuxà la Maison jaune. Le Coq-Héron, 100, 1986.

. (1933). Psychopathologie alltäglicher telepathischer Erscheinungen. Imago, 19, 529-546.

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Hollós, István (1872-1957)

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