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Wulff, Mosche (Woolf, Moshe) (1878-1971)


Mosche Wulff (or Moshe Woolf), a physician and teacher, was born on May 10, 1878, in Odessa, Russia, and died in November 1, 1971, in Tel Aviv. The son of an German retailer, after graduating from the Lycée Richelieu in Paris and finishing his studies at a business school, Wulff undertook medical studies in 1900 in Berlin. He defended his thesis in 1905 under the direction of Theodor Ziehen.

The psychiatrist Otto Juliusburger, whom he served as assistant at the Berlin-Lankwitz sanatorium, introduced Wulff to psychoanalysis. He never underwent a training analysis proper, although Karl Abraham, who worked at the sanatorium from 1908, became his teacher. In 1911 he joined the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, and in the same year he returned to Russia, establishing himself in Odessa. When World War I began, he left Odessa for Moscow.

In 1922, after the Russian Revolution, Wulff founded, with Ivan Ermakov among others, the Moscow Psychoanalytic Society. This organization gave birth the next year to the Russian Institute for Psychoanalysis, officially recognized in 1924. From 1922 Wulff worked as a psychoanalyst at the Second Medical Clinic of the University of Moscow.

As early as 1921 Wulff participated in creating a psychoanalytically oriented children's home, which in 1923 became a polyclinic and expanded into a state institute where training programs were available. After Lenin's death, however, rejection of psychoanalysis began to spread, eventually leading to the dissolution of the all psychoanalytic institutions and organized activity. Wulff was elected president of the Russian Institute for Psychoanalysis at the end of 1924, yet after a few months it was closed.

In 1927 Wulff left the Soviet Union. Returning to Berlin, he worked at the famous Schloss-Tegel Sanitarium, founded that year by Ernst Simmel. Under financial stress, this institution closed in 1931.

Wulff emigrated to Tel-Aviv in 1933 to found, with Max Eitingon and other members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, the Psychoanalytic Society of Palestine. After Eitingon's death, Wulff served as its president from 1947 to 1954 (in 1948 it became known as the Psychoanalytic Society of Israel). He remained honorary president of the society until his death, after a long illness.

Among his most remarkable works are "Beiträge zur infantilen Sexualität" (Contributions to infantile sexuality; 1912), his frequently cited 1932 paper "Über einen interessanten oralen Symptomenkomplex und seine Beziehung zur Sucht" (An interesting oral symptom complex and its relation to addiction), and "The Child's Moral Development" (1941). He wrote in Hebrew as well as in German and English. Additional articles in English include "On Castration Anxiety" (1955) and "Fetishism and Object Choice in Early Childhood" (1946).

Mosche Wulff is mainly important for his pioneering work in introducing psychoanalysis to Russia and to Israel, where he trained a generation of analysts and psychiatrists. His translations of some of Freud's works into Russian have been reprinted in recent years. He was primarily interested in the analysis of children and in psychoanalytically inspired pedagogy. Some of his works on infantile psychology became standard works of reference for training teachers and educators.

Ruth Kloocke

See also: Germany; Israel; Psychoterapia (Psixoterapija-Obozrenie voprosov lecenija I prikladonoj ); Russia/USSR; Tegel (Schloss Tegel).


Jaffe, Ruth. (1966). Moshe Woolf: Pioneering in Russia and Israel. In Franz Alexander, Samuel Eisenstein, and Martin Grotjahn (Eds.), Psychoanalytic pioneers. New York: Basic Books.

Kloocke, Ruth. (1995). Mosche Wulff, 1878-1871. Luzifer-Amor, 8 (16), 87-101.

Miller, Martin. (1998). Freud and the Bolsheviks: Psychoanalysis in imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Woolf, Moshe. (1941). The child's moral development. In K. R. Eissler (Ed.), Searchlights on delinquency (pp. 263-272). London: Imago.

. (1955). On castration anxiety. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36, 95-104.

Wulff, Mosche. (1912). Beitrage zur infantilen Sexualitat. Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, 2, 6-17.

. (1932).Über einen interessanten oralen Symptomenkomplex und seine Beziehung zur Sucht. Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 18, 283-302.

. (1946). Fetishism and object choice in early childhood. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 15, 450-471.

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