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Vienna, Freud's Secondary School in


After home-schooling and studies at a private primary school during his elementary school years, in 1865 Sigmund Freud enrolled in the first class of the newly constructed Leopoldstädter Kommunalrealgymnasium, and later (1868-1869) at the Obergymnasium, located at Taborstrasse 24 in the second district in Vienna. He completed the degree course, earning high praise, received the school prize in his third year, and in 1873, in his eighth year, received the Matura (high-school diploma) with honors after passing his qualifying exams. These included: composition, in German, on the theme "What considerations should guide us in choosing a profession?"; Latin exam: Virgil, Book IX, 176-223; Oskar Seyffert, book XIII"; Greek exam: Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, v. 14-57; and mathematics.

The ratio of Catholics to Jews in the second-year class was thirty to twenty-eight; in the eighth-year class it was six to five. As to anti-Semitism in the upper classes, from Freud's fifth year, the name "Sigmund" appears on school documents instead of "Sigismund," probably because of ridicule; otherwise there are no traces of an administrative change of his first name.

There are numerous allusions to Freud's secondary-school years in his scientific works, particularly in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900a), for example, the dream of the botanical monograph. His esteem for his high school teachers never diminished: Samuel Hammerschlag, who taught religion and was also librarian to the Jewish community and a friend of Freud's father; Viktor Ritter von Kraus, who taught German, history, and philosophy.

During his eighth year (university preparation), Freud was at the head of his class. His friends included Heinrich Braun, Wolf Knöpfmacher, Salomon Lipiner, Siegmund Lustgarten, Ignaz Rosanes, Eduard Silberstein, Julius Wagner, and Richard Wahle.

Freud contributed to the school's fiftieth anniversary celebration, in 1914, with an article, "Some Reflections on Schoolboy Psychology," that appeared in the commemorative brochure. For the fiftieth anniversary of Freud's death in 1989, the Erzherzog Rainer Realgymnasium was renamed the Sigmund Freud Gymnasium.

Eva Laible

See also: Adolescence; Darwin, Darwinism, and psychoanalysis; Psychology and psychoanalysis; Silberstein, Eduard; Suicide.


Freud, Sigmund. (1900a). The interpretation of dreams. SE, 4-5.

. (1914f). Some reflections on schoolboy psychology. SE, 13, 239-244.

Laible, Eva. (1989).Über Sigmund Freuds Gymnasialzeit, 125 Jahre Bg./B.R.G. Wien II. Festschrift Sigmund Freud, dem berühmtesten Schüler unseres Gymnasiums zur 50. Wiederkehr seines Todestages gewidmet (pp. 19-30). Vienna: Festschrift Sigmund Freud.

Pokorny, Alois. (1865). Jarhesberichte des Leopoldstädter Kommunal-Real- und Obergymnasiums in Wien. Wien 1865-1874. Vienna: Verlag des Leopoldstädter Real- und Obergymnasiums.

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