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Bertha Pappenheim
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Advocate
    (February 27, 1859-May 28, 1936)
    Born in Vienna, Austria
    Founded the League of Jewish Women (1904)
    Founded the Neu-Isenberg orphanage for Jewish girls (1907)
    Wrote 'Little Stories for Children' (1888), 'In the Junk Shop' (1890) and 'Tragic Moments: Three Scenes from Life' (1913)
    As 'Anna O.' was featured in 'Studies on Hysteria' by Joseph Breuer and Sigmund Freud (1895)
    She suffered hallucinations, pyschosomatic paralysis, amnesia, eating disorders and mood swings from depression to anxiety.
    While being treated by Breuer, she became convinced she was pregnant with his child, and experienced morning sickness and other symptoms of pregnancy.
    Breuer and Freud presented 'Anna O' as successfully cured of 'hysteria,' but a month after she stopped seeing Breuer, she was admitted to a sanatorium (July, 1882).
    She was accused of 'insulting Judaism' when she said, 'Under Jewish law a woman is not an individual, not a personality; she is only judged and recognized as a sexual being.'
    She was so opposed to the Zionist movement that she discouraged emigration from Germany to Palestine even after Hitler rose to power.
    Some modern researchers believe that Breuer and Freud misdiagnosed her: they claim her symptoms were not caused by mental illness but by temporal lobe epilepsy, exacerbated by morphine dependence.
    Her only public statement about psychoanalysis: 'Psychoanalysis is in the hands of a doctor what confession is in the hands of a Catholic priest; whether it becomes a good instrument or a double edged sword depends on who is administering it.'
    She campaigned for equality for women, especially in education and the workforce.
    She worked to eliminate prostitution and undertook a hazardous investigation of trafficking in women.
    She changed her position on emigration from Germany after the anti-semitic Nuremburg Laws were passed (1935).
    She said, 'No one is allowed to remain quiet if he knows that somewhere wrong is being done. To know of wrong and to remain quiet makes one partly guilty.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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