Katan-Rosenberg, Anny (1898-1992)

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Anny Katan-Rosenberg, psychoanalyst and physician, was born May 1, 1898 in Vienna, Austria, and died in Cleveland, Ohio in the U.S. on December 24, 1992.

The daughter of Mrs. Judith and Dr. Ludwig Rosenberg, she grew up in close contact with the origins of psychoanalysis as her pediatrician father and her pediatrician uncle were two of Freud's three weekly tarok card playing partners. Her uncle Oskar Rie was the Freuds' pediatrician, her cousins later spouses of Ernst Kris and Herman Nunberg. Anna Freud was a childhood acquaintance but not a particularly close companion. Ill in infancy as a failure-to-thrive baby, she was nonetheless most physically active from a young age, and was a skier, mountain climber, and horseback rider all her life.

Her analytic training was marked by a number of unusual features: prior to her analysis with Anna Freud, her first analyst became psychotic and her next two were of limited competence. For her graduation from training she presented not one but two papers; the first was "Optimism and Denial," and the second was "The Role of Displacement in Agoraphobia," a contribution to object loss. In her adolescence, she joined the Anna Freud group of pioneering child psychoanalysts.

She played a very active role in the political storms of prewar Vienna and, after marrying fellow analyst Maurits Katan and moving to the relative safety of the Netherlands, returned many times to Vienna at extraordinary personal risk to facilitate the escape of many analysts, such as Margaret Mahler. She survived the war in the Netherlands on false papers along with her daughter, while her husband and his son (from a prior marriage) survived in hiding. With the support and encouragement of Anna Freud, she and her husband moved to Cleveland, Ohio after the war to establish a psychoanalytic community there.

In Cleveland Katan directed her attention primarily to child analysis, starting a therapeutic preschool in 1950, now the Hanna Perkins School. There she developed the new technique of treating the preschool child by way of its parents. Katan started a child therapy training programan analytic training program for non-medical therapists, modeled on Anna Freud's Hampstead Child Therapy Coursesupported by a child analytic clinic where analysis was available to children as needed on an ability to pay basis. In this setting she developed a unique child psychoanalytic research complex, still active as the Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development.

Her work was marked by the constant practical application and utilization of child analysis, never compromising on standards of training or research. Dr. Anny Katan was a fearless analyst who pursued her analytic goals undaunted by the opposition in the U.S. to lay analysis. The courage that marked her years in Vienna and in the Netherlands during the war never failed her. An astute clinician, she prided herself on being "Anny Katan, Psychoanalyst," continuing in active practice into her nineties.

Robert A. Furman

See also: Katan, Maurits.


Katan, Anny. (1951). The role of displacement in agoraphobia. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32, 1-10.

. (1959). The nursery school as a diagnostic help to the child guidance clinic. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 14, 250-264.

. (1961). Some thoughts about the role of verbalization in early childhood. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 16, 184-189.

. (1972). The infant's first reaction to strangers: distress or anxiety? International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 53, p. 501-503.

. (1973). Children who were raped. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 28, 208-224.