Potsdamer Straße 29 (today 74) – The Berlin Psychoanalytical Institute, situated on Potsdamer Straße in the 1920s, became a key hub of psychoanalysis outside Vienna. Several British writers were trained or analysed here.
Next to Vienna, in the 1920s Berlin became an up-and-coming hub for psychoanalysts from all over Europe, who flocked to the newly opened Berlin Psychoanalytical Institute and its Poliklinik on Potsdamer Straße. Lectures, meetings, joint trips to the psychoanalytical congresses held in Würzburg, Salzburg, and Weimar, training analysis, as well as seeing regular patients, all went on under the guidance of Karl Abraham and his colleagues.
The majority of them had to go into exile once the Nazi Party came into power, but in the 1920s the Institute was a meeting place that attracted numerous Britons, some of whom became famous psychoanalysts themselves. The English translator of Freud’s work, Alix Strachey, frequented it, and there met the Austrian analyst Melanie Klein who later established herself in London with the Stracheys’ help. The modernist writer and film pioneer Bryher, having encountered the Berlin analyst Hanns Sachs by chance, returned to Berlin regularly for her analysis with him. One of the leading female British analysts, Sylvia Payne, was trained here, as well as Ernest and James Glover. Not all of them became famous writers, but all of them found the institute a modern and inspiring place without which their careers would have taken a very different course. It is one of many Berlin places whose energy and impact was cut off brutally by Nazi intervention and enforced exile. Gesa Stedman