World-Renowned Psychoanalyst Receives Austrian Citizenship

More+Events ♦ Published: July 4, 2022; 11:17 ♦ (Vindobona)

Erika Freeman, a world-renowned Austro-American psychologist and psychotherapist, was granted Austrian citizenship last week after she was forced to flee her native Vienna to the US at the age of 12 to avoid deportation by the Nazis. She is one of 14,903 survivors and descendants of victims of the Nazi regime who have been granted Austrian citizenship since 2019.

Erika Freeman is known as a mental supporter of numerous celebrities and Hollywood legends. / Picture: © Magistrat der Stadt Wien / Christian Jobst / PID

The world-renowned psychologist and psychotherapist Erika Freeman was awarded Austrian citizenship on the occasion of her 95th birthday.

The lady, who was the mental support of numerous celebrities and Hollywood legends such as Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando or Woody Allen, among others, was born in Vienna in 1927 under the name Erika Polesciuk and had to flee her home country to the US at the age of 12 to escape the terror of the Nazis.

Her mother survived the Nazi terror in Vienna as a "submarine" and was killed in the last weeks of the war, her father barely survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Freeman studied psychology at Columbia University in the USA and began an unprecedented career that made her a regular guest on US talk shows and as a commentator and expert on psychoanalysis from the 1970s onwards.

Since the 2000s, Freeman has also been active as a contemporary witness against forgetting and also came to her old homeland Austria with the project "A Letter To The Stars".

"As a psychoanalyst, you of course know best of all that these experiences trigger traumas that accompany people their whole lives. They are collective traumas that continue for generations. But in her case - it seems - her experiences were something like an initial spark to work with every fibre of her body for a better world, to dissolve hatred and heal the evil in people," said Mayor Michael Ludwig at the presentation of the citizenship certificate at City Hall.

Since 2019, survivors and descendants of victims of the Nazi regime can obtain Austrian citizenship. All procedures are handled by MA 35 in Vienna, which cooperates with the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and the Jewish Community Vienna. So far, 14,903 persons have been able to regain Austrian citizenship through this offer.

Vienna City Government - Magistrat der Stadt Wien