‘When my father was a little boy in Vienna, he told Anna Freud this dream: He is walking on the rim of the white gravel path that leads around the oval pond in the upper part of the Belvedere Gardens. The birds are singing, the sun is out … Then a blue-black machine with a brilliant array of handles and shafts comes into sight … The machine comes closer and closer … He calls out for help as loud as he can, but no one comes to rescue him. There is nothing he can do; the machine grinds him up.’
Analysis and Exile: Boyhood, Loss, and the Lessons of Anna Freud is a biography with privileged access to historical events, skilfully narrated through the experiences of a young boy, Peter Heller. Peter attended Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham’s Hietzing School in 1920s Vienna. While Anna Freud tries to teach little Peter how to overcome his fears, their native Vienna slides into fascism and he is forced to navigate an increasingly dangerous world. When he is eighteen, he flees to England, only to be deported to Canada, where he is interned as a German-speaking foreign national, placed in the same camp as Nazi POWs.
This incredible story explores the unfolding events surrounding Second World War through the eyes of a young boy trying to stay alive and find his place in the world. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of psychoanalysis, progressive education, Red Vienna, and the European Jewish diaspora in the Second World War.