Rosenfeld, Eva Marie (1892-1977)

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The psychoanalyst Eva Rosenfeld was born in Berlin in 1892 and died in Great Britain in 1977.

Her father, Theodor Rosenfeld, an impresario and a member of Berlin's wealthy Jewish bourgeoisie, died in 1907, when she was fifteen, leaving her with a mother who went into mourning until her death in 1942. Shortly after her father's death, she decided to look after the Zellerhaus, an institution for poor young orphan girls. At the age of seventeen she became engaged to her cousin Valentin, a young lawyer who knew Freud, and having married him in 1911, she moved to Vienna to live. She had three children, the first two of whom, both boys, died of dysentery in 1918.

She then created an establishment for adolescent girls in difficulty, which Siegfried Bernfeld recommended to Anna Freud in 1924 when Anna was seeking a home for a patient in difficulty. This was the beginning of a friendship between the two young women that lasted until 1932. In July 1927 the death of her fifteen-year-old daughter, Rosemarie (Mädi), in a mountain accident, again drove her to care for children in order to overcome her heartbreak. With the help of Dorothy Burlingham and under the pedagogical and psychoanalytical authority of Anna Freud, she then founded the Burlingham-Rosenfeld Heitzing School, named after the district where the garden of Eva's house was home to the school.

Encouraged by Anna Freud, she commenced analysis with Freud in March 1929, an analysis that lasted until 1932, of which she later said that the "transference was intense and passionate." She also exchanged abundant correspondence with Anna while the latter was staying with her father in the clinic at Tegel. Ernst Simmel, who needed help to manage this disorganized clinic, appealed to Rosenfeld in 1931. As bursar, she was in charge of organizing its dissolution.

When Eva moved to Berlin, it marked the end of the school and her intense friendship with Anna Freud, which was further accentuated by her departure for Great Britain in 1936. She met Melanie Klein shortly after her arrival in London and, fired with enthusiasm for her personality and her work, she commenced analysis with her in 1938, an analysis that was to last in fits and starts until 1941, when Klein left for Scotland and Rosenfeld went to Oxford. Their relationship ended with a break: "You have sacrificed your analysis for the friendship of Anna Freud!" Eva and Anna, in fact, remained in contact until the very end.

There are few details concerning the rest of Rosenfeld's long life, and her career as an analyst. Throughout her life she remained in contact with Anna Freud, although it was obvious that as soon as she left Vienna her place with Anna was taken by Dorothy Burlingham.

Alain de Mijolla

See also: Blos, Peter; Burlingham-Tiffany, Dorothy; Erikson, Erik Homburger; Freud, Anna; Guilbert, Yvette; Hietzing Schule/Burlingham-Rosenfeld School; Tegel (Schloss Tegel).


Heller, Peter. (1990). A child analysis with Anna Freud. Madison, CT: International Universities Press.

. (1992). Anna Freud's letters to Eva Rosenfeld. Madison, CT: International Universities Press.

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Rosenfeld, Eva Marie (1892-1977)

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