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Fervent desire, mourning and renunciation

On November 28, 1919, Freund’s condition is still alarming in Budapest: “Now we have become modest and want to rejoice over every moment that our friend still spends in our midst.” But the prognosis is clear: “The doctors must fillfill his demand for euthanasia: he has complete justification for it.” Ferenczi wishes to help Freund, who is perfectly lucid, to make arrangements for his legacy: “I would like to give him the satisfaction of securing his large endowment.” On December 3, Freud expresses great concern about Freund’s condition, but is also thinking about the survival of the analytic movement. On December 11, he worries about the fond Anton von Freund is bequeathing to psychoanalysis. The donation has been made but has not yet been notarised, and the transaction proves to be more difficult than expected. On December 17, Ferenczi reports on the negotiations, and on the fact that certain influential people, antagonistic to psychoanalysis, are attempting to direct the endowment towards a charitable organisation, or grant it to a child welfare organisation. He informs Freud of his plan, adding: “The matter is very urgent already with respect to the constantly fluctuating political conditions.” Ferenczi would like to put forward the scientific foundations of psychoanalysis. In his answer dated December 18, Freud steps into the role of a general dispassionately giving orders to his commander-in-chief:

In my view, the original plan of a great teaching and treatment institute can’t be realized in Budapest for a long time to come. Our friend will take this beautiful hope with him. Let us give it up and salvage what can be salvaged.

He encourages Ferenczi to show himself, as Freud does, uncompromising:

All plans which are based on working together with some agency or other are objectionable. We would always be pressed to the wall [...] To accept no additional limitations, to demand that (half of) the amount be handed over directly; in the other instance, complete refusal on your part [...]

Freud goes on to specify the use to which the endowment is to be put. He ends his letter with an order to Ferenczi not to back away from direct confrontation: “You ought to be able to replace the ‘scientific’ rejoinder with a harsh scolding addressed to Body (the mayor of Budapest),” who would like to benefit from a portion of Freund’s endowment. On December 26, Ferenczi, who continues to believe in the mediation process, summarises the difficulties encountered in the ongoing negotiations, which have not yet provided a solution.

In the first letter of the year 1920, like in his recent personal analysis, Ferenczi encounters Freud’s unshakeable firmness, this time used to “scold” him at a particularly vulnerable time when, after having been there for Freund in Budapest as his condition deteriorated, he is now doing his best to carry out negotiations with various government agencies.

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