Eitingon, Max

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EITINGON, MAX (1881–1943), psychoanalyst. Born in Mohilev, Russia, Eitingon was raised in Leipzig, Germany, where his parents settled. He studied philosophy, first in Heidelberg and then in Marburg, where he was a pupil of Hermann *Cohen. However, he subsequently moved to the study of medicine, and qualified as a physician at Zurich in 1909. There he joined the group of psychiatrists headed by Bleuler and Jung, who tried to give Sigmund *Freud's theories a broader basis by applying them to psychiatric diseases. While still a medical student in 1907, Eitingon went to Vienna, where (as Freud himself disclosed) he was the first foreign visitor to study psychoanalysis at its source. Later he settled in Berlin. During World War i he served in the Austrian medical corps, and his encounter with war neuroses induced him to establish clinics for psychoanalytical treatment. In 1919 he was appointed a member of the so-called "Committee" – a small inner circle at the heart of the psychoanalytical movement. In 1920, together with Karl *Abraham and E. Simmel, he founded the Berlin Psychoanalytic Polyclinic to provide treatment for the underprivileged and to establish a program for the teaching of psychoanalysis. This Polyclinic was in 1924 registered as the Berlin Institute for Psychoanalysis, and became the model on which later institutes were based. Eitingon was elected president of the International Psychoanalytical Association at the Innsbruck congress in 1927. He chaired three later congresses and resigned only in 1932. After the rise of the Nazis, Eitingon immigrated to Jerusalem. In 1933 he founded the Palestine Psychoanalytical Society and a year later he established the Psychoanalytical Institute (subsequently named in his memory), of which he remained the head until his death. His move to Palestine was a natural consequence of his lifelong interest in and devotion to Zionism. He placed the Psychoanalytical Institute, as well as his own experience, at the disposal of Youth Aliyah.


M. Wulff (ed.), Max Eitingon: In Memoriam (1950); E. Jones, The Life and Work of S. Freud, 2 (1955) and 3 (1957), indices; E. Gumbel, in: Israel Annals of Psychiatry…, 3 (1965), 89; S.L. Pomer, in: F. Alexander et al. (eds.), Psychoanalytic Pioneers (1966), 51–63.

[Heinrich Zwi Winnik]