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Anna Freud

  • The psychoanalyst Anna Freud and her partner Dorothy Burlingham-Tiffany opened the War Nursery research and care facility in Hampstead in January 1941 under the impact of the bombing of London.
  • Anna
  • Freud
  • 03-12-1895
  • Vienna (AT)
  • 09-10-1982
  • London (GB)
  • Psychoanalyst
  • The psychoanalyst Anna Freud and her partner Dorothy Burlingham-Tiffany opened the War Nursery research and care facility in Hampstead in January 1941 under the impact of the bombing of London.

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  • Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, Jackson Nursery, Vienna, 1937 (© Freud Museum London).
  • In 1938, Anna Freud, her parents Sigmund (1856–1939) and Martha Freud (1861–1951) and other members of the household emigrated from Vienna to London. In Vienna, the respected psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud had come under increasing pressure, and Anna Freud was arrested and interrogated. In June 1938, large parts of the household were transferred to London, including furniture and books, and Freud’s collection of antiques and antique statues was also transferred to exile with the help of a network (Forrester 1998, 21). The Freuds lived in the Primrose Hill neighbourhood (39 Elsworthy Road) for a transitional period after their arrival in London, before moving into their house at 20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead (Freud 1996, 437–444). The architect and Sigmund Freud’s son, Ernst L. Freud, was responsible for remodelling the house (Welter 2012, 154–156). The work and treatment rooms of the London house were preserved intact for decades after Freud’s  death on 23 September 1939. Anna Freud also lived in Maresfield Gardens until the end of her life. The Freud House war located not far away from the architect Ernö Goldfinger's house in 2 Willow Road and the headquarter of the Free German League of Culture (Freier Deutscher Kulturbund).

    Anna Freud became a pioneer in child psychology, who was also consulted by the photographer Edith Tudor-Hart, among others, who introduced her son (Jungk 2015, 141). As in Vienna, Anna Freud was in a living and working relationship in London with the American Dorothy Burlingham-Tiffany, who also came to the British capital in 1940 (Burlingham 1989; Schmölzer 2009, 190–217). The two women had founded the psychoanalytically oriented research institution for young children from impecunious families, the Jackson Nurseries, in Vienna in 1937 (Denker 1995, 26).  Together, Freud and Burlingham then opened the War Nursery research and care facility at two sites in Hampstead (13 Wedderburn Road; 5 Netherhall Gardens) and in a rural outpost near Chelmsford, Essex, in January 1941 under the impact of the bombing of London. War Nursery was sponsored by the American Foster Parents’ Plan for War Children. During the Blitz, families had to seek shelter in underground bunkers or spend the night with their children on the London Underground, where makeshift overnight accommodation had been set up. The War Nursery offered children a temporary home during the war years. Children were taken in alone, but mothers were encouraged to visit regularly. The concept of “family groups” was innovative, meaning that three or four children were grouped together in family units (Kennedy 2009, 314–316). The War Nursery, which existed until November 1945, was not only a wartime care facility, but also a laboratory where Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, together with their team, could make observations and test and implement therapeutic measures. The work was reflected in publications such as Young Children in War-time (1942), War and Children (1943) and Infants without families (1943), co-authored by Freud and Burlingham.
    From 1945, Anna Freud worked with child survivors from Theresienstadt who had come to the UK. She published the results of her studies with Sophie Dann in 1951 as An Experiment in Group Upbringing. In the same year, Anna Freud, together with Dorothy Burlingham and Helen Ross, founded the Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic at 12 Maresfield Gardens, close to her home, which specialised in child pychoanalysis and became an internationally recognised teaching institute for child therapy. Since 1984, this institution has been known as the Anna Freud Centre, taking its name from its founder.

    Before her death, Anna Freud decreed the establishment of a Freud Museum, which opened in 1986. The London Freud Museum displays Sigmund Freud’s material legacy, including personal items such as his address book and coat, in a display case. The centrepiece of his psychoanalytic practice, the couch, as well as his desk, desk chair and antiques are also among the exhibits. On the first floor of the Freud Museum, one room is devoted to the weaving that Anna Freud practised for decades. In 1923 she attended a carpet and tapestry weaving school and continued weaving throughout her life. Brigitte Spreitzer writes about the connection between weaving and writing in Anna Freud's work: “For the daughter [of Sigmund Freud], it is a space of liberation and development for writing, a metaphor of an analogy between doing things sensually with one’s hands and the spiritual act of creation. If language represents experience, Anna experiences something in weaving that is so intrinsic to writing that it has become the word itself for it: lat. texere means ‘to weave/braid’ and is etymologically behind the term ‘text’." (Spreitzer 2014, 66, own translation into English) In the Freud Museum, an exhibition text points to the connection between analysis and textile technique: “Anna often used weaving metaphors to describe the development of the mind. Anna was taught knitting and needlework by her kinderfrau (nanny) [...].  Anna Freud believed it was essential to balance intellectual pursuits with physical activity and she found weaving a relaxing and practical pastime. She kept a large loom in her bedroom [...] and at her country home in Walberswick, Suffolk.” (quote see image in this entry)
    Like the Freud Museum, Anna Freud's former home preserves the history of the family's exile and psychoanalytic work, and tells the story of their arrival and work in London and the borough of Hampstead. After her death in 1982, Anna Freud’s ashes were placed in Freud's Corner at Golders Green Crematorium.

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  • Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Annual Report of a Residential War Nursery. Hampstead Nursery, 1942, title page (Photo: Private Archive).
    Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Annual Report of a Residential War Nursery. Hampstead Nursery, 1942 (Photo: Private Archive). Page with addresses of Hampstead Nursery.
    Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Kriegskinder. Jahresbericht des Kriegskinderheims Hampstead Nurseries. Imago Publishing, 1949, cover (Photo: Private Archive). German version of Annual Report of a Residential War Nursery from 1942.
    Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, Cork, 1949 (© Freud Museum London).
    Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud. Anstaltskinder. Imago Publishing, 1950, title page (Photo: Private Archive). German version of Infants without Families, 1943.
    Installation view from the Freud Museum London: Anna Freud at her loom, Walberswick, Suffolk, c. 1960s, Weaving Shuttles of Anna Freud, Crocheted scarf made by Anna Freud (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018. Courtesy of the Freud Museum London).
    Freud House at Maresfield Gardens (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
  • Burlingham, Michael John. The Last Tiffany. A Biography of Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham. Antheneum/MacMillan, 1989.

    Forrester, John. “Freudsches Sammeln.” “Meine ... alten und dreckigen Götter”. Aus Sigmund Freuds Sammlung, edited by Lydia Marinelli, exh. cat. Sigmund Freud-Museum, Vienna, 1998, pp. 21–35.

    Freud, Sigmund. Tagebuch 1929–1939. Kürzeste Chronik (Roter Stern), edited by Michael Molnar and Freud Museum London, translated by Christfried Tögel, Stroemfeld, 1996.

    Gay, Peter. Freud. A Life for Our Time. W.W. Norton & Co., 1988.

    Jungk, Peter Stephan. Die Dunkelkammern der Edith Tudor-Hart. Geschichten eines Lebens. S. Fischer, 2015.

    Kennedy, Hansi. “Children in Conflict. Anna Freud and the War Nurseries.” The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, vol. 64, no. 1, 2009, pp. 306–319. Taylor & Francis Online, doi: 10.1080/00797308.2009.11800826. Accessed 4 June 2020.

    Morra, Joanne. Inside the Freud Museums. History, Memory and site-responsive Art (International Library of Modern and Contemporary Art, 6). I.B. Tauris, 2018. Bloomsbury Collections, doi: 0.5040/9781350986831. Accessed 25 February 2021.

    Schmölzer, Hilde. Frauenliebe: Berühmte weibliche Liebespaare der Geschichte. Promedia, 2009.

    Spreitzer, Brigitte. “Anna Freuds literarische Texte. Einführung.” Anna Freud – Gedichte – Prosa – Übersetzungen, edited by Brigitte Spreitzer, Böhlau, 2014, pp. 11–88.

    Welter, Volker M. Ernst L. Freud, Architect. The Case of the Modern Bourgeois Home (Space & Place, 5). Berghahn, 2012.

    Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth. Anna Freud: A Biography (2nd ed.). Yale University Press, 2008.

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  • My deepest thanks go to Freud Museum London for giving permission to reproduce the photos of Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham-Tiffany.

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  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • London, GB (1938–1982).

  • 39 Elsworthy Road, Primrose Hill, London NW3 (residence, June 1938–September 1938); 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, London NW3 (residence, September 1938–1982); War Nursery, 13 Wedderburn Road, Hampstead, London NW3 (workplace, 1941–1945); War Nursery, 5 Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead, London NW3 (workplace, 1941–1945); Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic (now Anna Freud Centre), 12 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, London NW3 (workplace, opened 1951).

  • London
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Anna Freud." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 21-06-2021.
  • Rosa Schapire
    Art Historian

    The art historian Rosa Schapire, a supporter of Expressionist art, contributed to the presence of Expressionist art in England with loans and donations from her art collections rescued to London.

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    Golders Green Crematorium

    Numerous emigrants were cremated in Golders Green Crematorium after their death, including the gallerist Alfred Flechtheim, the psychoanalyst Anna Freud, the architect Ernö Goldfinger and the art historian Rosa Schapire.

    Word Count: 30

    Edith Tudor-Hart

    The Viennese photographer Edith Tudor-Hart emigrated to England in 1933 and made a name with her photographs focusing on questions of class, social exclusion and the lives of marginalised people.

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    Aid to Russia

    The Aid to Russia exhibition was organised in 1942 by the emigré architect Ernö Goldfinger and his wife, the painter Ursula Goldfinger, at their house in Hampstead.

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    Freie Deutsche Kultur

    The Free German League of Culture was an association of emigrant artists and authors who organised exhibitions, concerts and lectures. The events were announced in the Freie Deutsche Kultur newsletter.

    Word Count: 30