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Glasgow's "Department of Psycho-Semitics", 1940-60: the Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer

Kenneth Collins

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 45, 2013 Glasgow's "Department of Psycho-Semitics", 1940-60: the Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer KENNETH COLLINS The subject of medicine and the Holocaust is an important topic for scholars and the place of refugee physicians in their new countries is becoming an increasingly significant part of these studies. One of the key topics at the special Congress of the Israel Medical Association, marking the centenary of the organization and held in December 2012, was related to medicine and the Holocaust, with the session held at Yad Vashem. The programme focused on the contribution of refugee physicians and on the difficulty many faced in obtaining registration in their new countries, as well as on the care of Holocaust survivors, especially of those who settled in Israel. It was acknowl edged there that, in the literature of Holocaust medicine the story of medical refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe has received, quite understandably, less attention than the tragic events which engulfed their medical colleagues as they faced the full onslaught of the Nazi's "Final Solution". This paper focuses attention on just two refugee practitioners, Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer, who practised in Glasgow between the 1930s and 1960s, and whose careers and Jewish writings touch on important topics in contem porary Jewish thought. Karl Abenheimer (1898-1973) was born in Mannheim, Germany, and though a qualified lawyer also trained in psychoanalysis before arriving in Glasgow in 1936. He had a considerable influence on the developing special ity in Glasgow and many of his psychology-based studies of literature have been published. Joseph Schorstein (1909-1976) was born in Moravia, now Czech Republic, and graduated in medicine in Vienna. He specialized in neurosurgery in Manchester, eventually settling in Glasgow following wartime army service. Schorstein was acknowledged as the "spiritual mentor and rabbi" of the famous, but iconoclastic, Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing (1929-1988) who at one time held a commanding position in twentieth century psychiatry. While Abenheimer and Schorstein were widely different in their person 23</page><page sequence="2">Kenneth Collins alities, there was an intellectual rapport and they became firm friends. In the early 1950s they established a study group of philosophers, theologians and psychiatrists which brought their world view and especially Jewish thought from Central Europe, to a new generation of Scottish thinkers. Jack Rillie, the head of English Literature at the University of Glasgow, considered Schorstein to be a "driven" personality - "well read, very intelligent, often obsessively serious, but somewhat unpredictable and undisciplined in his contributions."1 Indeed, Laing described him as a tormented genius. Abenheimer was said to be "charismatic and clever but also very wise with an appalling English accent."2 The influx of mainly Jewish medical refugees from Central Europe during the 1930s was to have a profound influence on Scottish medicine, especially in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. With the encouragement of local psychiatrists, such as Angus McNiven in Glasgow and Peter McCowan in Dumfries, leading figures in Continental psychiatry, such as Willi Meyer-Gross, Erwin Stengel, Herbert Rosenfeld and Felix Post, were attracted to Scotland to study and prac tise, developing new techniques in psychotherapy and neuropathology before moving south as their British careers developed. McNiven had taken up the cause of the refugee psychiatrists and analysts before the war with the support of Edward Glover, a Glasgow graduate and one-time Chairman of the British Psychology Society. Glover, the author of The Technique of Psychoanalysis (1928), had been analysed in Berlin by the Jewish psychoanalyst Karl Abraham, an early and significant colleague of Freud.1 By the early 1950s the presence of a group of refugee psychiatrists at one of Glasgow's leading academic mental health departments was established enough for Laing to call it the "Department of Psycho-Semitic Medicine". It was in this environment that the Abenheimer and Schorstein group was able to flourish, and through it influence a generation of physicians, philoso phers and theologians. Jack Rillie, "The Abenheimer-Schorstein Group", Edinburgh Review 78-9 (1988): 105.1 would like to express my thanks to Robert R. Calder for his generous help and support and to Robert R. Calder and Pat Schorstein for sharing with me their collection of Joseph Schorstein's writings (including material held by Aileen Campbell Nye) and copies of presentations made to the Abenheimer-Schorstein Group. I am grateful to Dr Malcolm Ingram, former psychiatrist at the University of Glasgow, Department of Psychological Medicine, and to the late Professor Fred Stone, former Professor of Child Psychiatry at the University of Glasgow, for his reminiscences of the Schorstein-Abenheimer Group. I was fortunate also to have discussed aspects of the refugee psychiatrists in Scotland with the late Dr Arthur Shenkin prior to his sudden death in 2002.1 am grateful to the family of the late Dr Abraham Glasser and to the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre for sharing Dr Glasser's papers and oral history testimony with me. R. D. Laing, "Joe Schorstein Biographical Notes", Dec. 1978, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections, MS. Laing A531/1-3. Kenneth Collins, "Angus McNiven and the Austrian Psychoanalysts", Glasgow Medicine (Sept Oct. 1985): 18-19. 24</page><page sequence="3">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer The Royal Colleges of Medicine and Surgery in Glasgow and Edinburgh had been welcoming to the medical refugees, who were mainly of Jewish origin, enabling them to obtain British qualifications in one year, right from the earliest days of Nazi rule. In contrast, the English Royal Colleges increased the length of study required for foreign graduates before they could take the examinations needed for British practice during the 1930s, first to two years and subsequently to three years. Thus it was the Triple Qualification of the three Royal Colleges in Edinburgh and Glasgow rather than the English Conjoint Board qualifica tion which most of the Continental medical refugees were to take.4 It is inter esting that neither Abenheimer, as a lawyer turned psychoanalyst, nor the neurosurgeon Schorstein had entered Scotland in this way. While few of the refugee physicians who requalified in Scotland remained there to practise, Schorstein found both the city and its Jewish community a congenial place in which to work and to reside. The Jewish community in Glasgow in the 1930s was third in size in Britain outside London and its 15,000 Jews, who included a significant community of German-Jewish refugees, maintained a lively religious, social, cultural and welfare network.5 Many of its members had entered the professions or had developed busi nesses which had a major impact on the commercial life of the city. A new generation had grown up who had no personal experience of the shtetl and who had adopted the best elements of the Scottish culture.6 I shall now look at their careers and examine their writings on Jewish themes as one aspect of their enduring legacy. Joseph Schorstein was born in Misslitz (Miroslav) in the Czech Republic, where his father Nahum, a bib lical scholar with a doctorate and a literary interest in Hasidism, was the rabbi. The family moved to Bruenn (Brno) when Rabbi Schorstein took up a pulpit there and Joseph's high-school studies were undertaken at the local gymnasium. Laing recorded that Rabbi Schorstein seems to have been a stern disciplinarian, punishing his son for a childish misdemeanour by making him read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and then interrogating him about it.' Joseph Schorstein grew apart from religious orthodoxy at a young age, while always preserving an acute sense of his Jewish identity. The whole story of the medical refugees, and requalification in Scotland, during the 1930s is told in Kenneth Collins, Go and Learn: The International Story of Jews and Medicine in Scotland 1739 1943 (Aberdeen University Press, 1988). Rayner Kolmel, "German-Jewish Refugees in Scotland", in Aspects of Scottish Jewry, ed. Kenneth Collins (Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, 1987), 55-84. See Kenneth Collins, Second City Jewry: The Jews of Glasgow in the Age ofExpansion (Glasgow: Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, 1990); idem, Be Well! Jewish Immigrant Health and Welfare in Glasgow, 1860-1914 (Edinburgh: Tuckwell Press, 2001 ); Ben Braber, Jews in Glasgow 1879-1939: Immigration and Integration (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007). R. D. Laing, Wisdom, Madness and Folly: The Making of a Psychiatrist 1927-1937 (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1998), 92. 25</page><page sequence="4">Kenneth Collins Schorstein began his medical studies at the University of Vienna while still only seventeen years old and graduated from there in 1931. He moved to England the following year even before the Nazis seized power in Germany. He is believed to have attended a meeting where Hitler was the speaker, was con vinced of the risks of staying in Germany or Austria and saw the value of starting his medical career elsewhere. Most family members were to perish in the Holocaust but his mother survived and came to Glasgow to join him after the war. By 1935 Schorstein had obtained British medical qualifications, passing the final examinations of the English Conjoint Board. He had undertaken clin ical studies at University College Hospital in London and subsequently moved to Manchester where he trained in the developing speciality of neurosurgery. During the Second World War, Schorstein served as a senior neurosur geon in the British Army, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps, in charge of the No. 5 Mobile Neurosurgical Unit in North Africa and Italy.8 His unit was based at a hospital in Naples during the carnage at Monte Cassino in May 1944, dealing with 333 head wound cases in just two weeks.9 He was complimented on his meticulous work, especially on the management of intracranial haematoma caused by missile wounds, and his published studies were the largest on the subject ever collected by one surgeon.10 However, the experience of wartime surgery, sometimes operating for eighteen hours a day under the most adverse condi tions, was to take a heavy toll on Schorstein, affecting his mental equilibrium at times in the following years.11 On returning to Britain at the end of the war, he was based first at the tem porary Military Hospital for Head Injuries in Oxford but soon moved to Glasgow to take up the post of neurosurgeon at Killearn Hospital, a small hospital in the countryside a few miles outside Glasgow, where the West of Scotland Neurosurgical Unit was based. This was part of the University of Glasgow's Medical School and offered Schorstein a prestigious consultant appointment with the scope to advance an academic and surgical career. Schorstein was not able to set up an independent neurosurgical unit, as he once hoped, but he enjoyed a high reputation among his colleagues as a bril liant surgical technician and as a skilled diagnostician.12 Hugh Cairns, "Neurosurgery in the British Army", British Journal of Surgery: War Surgery Supplement i: Wounds of the Head (June 1947): 9-26. See also J. T. Hughes, "Hugh Cairns (1896-1952) and the Mobile Neurosurgical Units of World War II", Journal of Medical Biography 12 (2004): 18-24. Peter H. Schurr, "The Evolution of Field Neurosurgery in the British Army", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 98 (2005): 423-7; Schorstein's wartime casenotes are held by the Library of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. 0 Cairns, "Neurosurgery in the British Army", 19. 1 Interview with Dr Arthur Shenkin. Schorstein exhibited signs of what would today be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder, and was regularly treated at Crichton Royal Hospital. 2 Kenneth Collins, "Joseph Schorstein: R. D. Laing's 'rabbi'", History of Psychiatry 19, no. 2 (2008): 188. 20</page><page sequence="5">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer As has been seen, Schorstein has been widely described as the spiritual mentor of R. D. Laing who was one of the highly influential but also highly controversial figures in twentieth-century psychiatry, as he explored the boundaries in schizophrenia and serious mental illness in families. Laing is seen as part of the anti-psychiatry movement, although he objected to the term.13 He was, at the height of his career, the most widely read psychiatrist in the world, reaching people across disciplinary boundaries and in all walks of life.14 Laing acknowledged the influence of Schorstein while his career was in the formative stage, describing him as his "rabbi", drawing on Schorstein's thoughts in many of his key works, including his crucial book The Divided Self. Laing described their first, and dramatic, meeting at Killearn Hospital in his autobiography Wisdom, Madness and Folly f At three o'clock in the morning in the changing room after one operating session that had been going on for hours, Joe Schorstein decided to check me out. He proceeded to grill me from Heraclitus, and in between, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidigger in very specific detail. The interrogation went on for over two hours before Joes was "convinced". After that night, Joe adopted me as his pupil; he became my spiritual father, neurological and intel lectual mentor and guide to European literature. He was the first older, fully educated European intellectual I had come to know. He seemed to be the incar nation of all the positions of the European consciousness: Hasidism, Marxism, science and nihilism. Laing's choice of title for his autobiography was significant. Wisdom, Madness and Folly is a repeated theme from the biblical Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) i: 17: "And I gave my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly: I per ceived that this is also vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much vexa tion; and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow." These verses, well known to Schorstein, would have struck a clear chord with both men, indi cating the limits of understanding and the narrow margin between wisdom and insanity, and the concept of normalcy in a sick society.16 Laing noted that Schorstein had an "impassioned, ethical and ontological objection to the prevailing epistemological presupposition of what he took to 13 Allan Beveridge, Portrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young Man: The Early Writing and Work of R. D. Laing, iQ2y-ig6o (Oxford University Press, 2011), 317. 14 Daniel Burston, Crucible of Experience: R. D. Laing and the Crisis of Psychotherapy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 1. 15 Laing, Wisdom, Madness and Folly, 92-3. 16 Schorstein's enjoyed a considerable facility with biblical and Apocryphal literature. See his letter to Professor Jefferson, 28 Oct. 1945, comparing a letter in the British Medical Journal to a question of the Preacher in Ecclesiasticus; University of Manchester, John Rylands Library, JEF/1/6/1/49. 27</page><page sequence="6">Kenneth Collins be the mainstream, the avalanche of western science. He hated its premises and despised its conclusion and had come to the conviction that it could not but destroy us in only a few years."17 Schorstein was concerned with the problems faced by the National Health Service as it grew and developed. He felt that simple treatments for common ailments were being squeezed by the priority given to more glamorous treat ments including the remarkable life-sustaining developments in his own spe ciality.18 At the same time he was quick to point out the difficulty in providing the human resources to deliver the care required for increasing numbers of severely disabled patients needing long-term institutional care. Indeed, Schorstein looked on scientific and medical advance with a jaundiced eye, describing patients as "prisoners of progress". Cultured and urbane, he had a welcoming clinical manner and his commitment to the welfare of the individual patient was absolute. He took time to support patients through their surgery and rehabilitation at a time when senior surgeons in Britain did not communi cate freely with their patients. "We were so fascinated by our technical abilities, so keen to create new records of survival, that in the dramatic recoveries which we witnessed we were forgetting the main actor - the patient.'"9 Schorstein was a remarkable polymath. He was fluent in Latin, French, Hebrew, German, Italian, Czech and English and could expound for hours on a range of philosophers from Plato to Descartes, Nietzsche and Heidegger. Laing noted that he had been acquainted with Buber, Jaspers and Heidegger but that "he was entirely isolated medically. There was no-one he knew in his own territory who knew what he was talking about".20 The nature of Schorstein's influence on Laing has been challenged by Scottish philosophers who see Laing's contribution as adapting European Continental ideas to a Scottish concern with psychotherapy, as evidenced, for example, in his affinity with the Scottish psychoanalyst W. R. D. Fairbairn, both of whom saw psychotherapy in (differing) religious terms.21 While Laing owed much to Sartre and must have been well read in European philosophy before his first encounter with Schorstein, the debate about Laing's place in Scottish ideas continues. Besides the normal neurosurgical patients, Killearn also dealt with a number of severely disturbed psychiatric patients for whom the only recognized treatment was lobotomy. One of Schorstein's colleagues opposed the proce 17 Laing, "Joe Schorstein Biographical Notes". 18 Joseph Schorstein, "A Crisis", essay about the National Health Service, n.d., on file with the author. " Joseph Schorstein, "The Story of Nan: A Case of Severe Head Injury", Physiotherapy 47 (1961): 335-6 20 Laing, "Joe Schorstein Biographical Notes". 21 Gavin Miller, "How Scottish was R. D. Laing?" History of Psychiatry 20, no. 2 (2009): 226-32. 28</page><page sequence="7">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer dure, considering it to be primitive and brutal, while Schorstein believed that there were "deeper ethical issues to such brutality masquerading as treatment".22 He felt that it should be a forbidden treatment as it had not arisen out of a new knowledge of and valuation of man but rather, he considered, it came from the Nazi attitude towards the chronically sick. "It is a question of principle and no compromise is possible or workable as little as we can admit a compromise with regard to the medical killing of people".23 Schorstein published fifteen medical papers during his career with the majority of his neurosurgical articles appearing in the journals during the 1940s.24 He also published or presented a wide range of papers to members of his Glasgow study group and it is from these publications that we can achieve some awareness of his outlook on life, culture and philosophy.25 Schorstein clearly felt that the success of science for the survivors of the Hiroshima gen eration was ambiguous.26 In a paper entitled "Social Responsibility of the Scientist", he shows himself consumed by the concept that rather than the scientist pursuing knowledge it is the scientist being pursued by the need to produce machines with ever greater complexity. He was able to see beyond the concern about the risks posed by the existence of the atom bomb to the causing of other dangers to the planet. He could also see humanity's alienation from the world as a threat to nature, with the exploitation of the oceans and the forests, the pollution of rivers and the extermination of animals. Could the scientist, asked Schorstein, answer the crucial question, not of "What is to be done about it?" but of "Who has done it to us?"27 Schorstein was thus naturally sceptical that science could solve all the problems facing humanity and did not believe that "a profound knowledge of electronics and neuro-anatomy suffices to the give the scientist a superior insight into the meaning and aim of human existence, which is Job's concern [; it is] is both arrogant and confused ... how it came about that the soul, con science and finally human consciousness departed or were taken from us is a question which still awaits answering."28 He asked why the promise of science Laing, "Joe Schorstein Biographical Notes". Joseph Schorstein, comments; Scottish Analytic Group, minutes of a meeting, n.d., copy on file with the author. Schorstein published papers in the British Journal of Surgery Lancet and the British Medical Journal, most in 1940-45 with a couple in 1955. ; Laing, "Joe Schorstein Biographical Notes". Laing noted that it was "a pity that he hardly wrote anything down about his Hasidic, theological and philosophical reflections. He meditated and prayed, though he spoke of them only to a few." 1 Joseph Schorstein, "The Irrelevance of Science" (review of The Relevance of Science by C. F. von Weizsacker), Glasgow Herald, 7 Nov. 1964, p. 9. Joseph Schorstein, "Social Responsibility of the Scientist", unpublished paper, on file with author. : Joseph Schorstein, The Present State of Consciousness (London: Penguin Science Survey B, 1963), 200-23. 29</page><page sequence="8">Kenneth Collins was turning into a threat, questioning why scientific and analytic understand ing was leading to manipulation and control and ultimately denying humanity its freedom. Climate change would not have surprised him. Schorstein was tormented by the image and potential for mass destruction that the bomb rep resented and was appalled that something should be produced just because it was technologically possible. He wrote little publicly about his Jewish background, communicating his meditations and thoughts to only a few. However, some of Schorstein's sur viving texts of papers, mainly given to the Schorstein-Abenheimer Group, fill in several of these gaps. In one paper, on the history and philosophy of Hasidism, Schorstein presents a fair and reflective view of the revivalist Jewish movement which electrified parts of Jewish Eastern Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He had little sympathy for its leadership cult and distanced himself from the way in which Hasidism had used the mystical approach. However, he considered that "Mysticism by no means overlooks the gulf between the infinite and the finite; on the contrary the sep aration is its starting point for the quest - for the secret path which will close the abyss and unite Man and God." He was clearly enamoured with the way of life it represented and the parables of its rabbis which reflected the search for the union of Man and God often in the most mundane ways. "Personality takes the place of doctrine - what is lost in rationality in this change is gained by efficiency."29 Schorstein also attempted to grapple with humanity's isolation and conflict with God, which he saw as inherent in Jewish monotheism, in a series of handwritten jottings about the Book of Job.30 The writings show his effortless facility with the biblical text, with the Book of Psalms and with Talmudic interpretation. Schorstein clearly saw in Job's unique poetic force the insis tent posing of a question to which he saw no answer, believing that the very basis of biblical faith creates a tension between man and his maker. In Job he saw that the bond, stretched beyond its elastic resistance, finally snapped. He considered that the intimate father and son relationship could only be found in the Garden of Eden and that from then on there was a widening gulf and a search from both sides. The Book of Job confirmed for him that "Man's search for clarity and certainty can originate neither from the scientific method nor from its results. Its source is the faith, scientifically invalid, that there must be clarity and convincing conviction." He considered that religious faith contains the fundamental experience of 29 Joseph Schorstein, paper presented to Schorstein-Abenheimer Group, n.d., on file with the author. At the conclusion of his talk, Schorstein relates the tale of the tree, the prayer and the fire. See Elie Weisel, Souls on Fire (New York: Vintage Books, 1973) and Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim (New York: Schocken, 1991). 30 Joseph Schorstein, unpublished writings on the Book of Job, on file with the author. 30</page><page sequence="9">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer a personal relationship with the divine.31 While Schorstein had drifted from personal observance of religion, he acknowledged that the present need of society was to confront the sickness that had accompanied scientific develop ment. In this area of personal concern he felt that science was certainly irrel evant. Schorstein was also a skilled musician and was wont to play his violin at the hospital for relaxation and pleasure. He had a repertoire of Hasidic tunes and melodies. Music was important to the Hasidic way of life and Laing picked up a few of Schorstein's songs and took pleasure in relaying classical Jewish melodies from Central Europe to astonished listeners later in life. Schorstein retired early from neurosurgical practice in 1967 because of ill health but was found an academic base in the University Department of Psychological Medicine, then based at the Southern General Hospital, the so-called "Department of Psycho-Semitic Medicine".32 This honorary post gave him time to think and write without the requirement of a defined clinical role. Schorstein had been sceptical about the value of the neuroleptic drugs, intended for the treatment of pyschoses, and while acknowledging that they had done much to ease the burden on psychiatric care he felt that "the mental distress and loneliness remain undisturbed under the camouflage of the drugs whilst the disease runs its course."33 Karl Abenheimer graduated in law at Heidelberg after German army service in the Pale of Settlement during the First World War, where he was uplifted by the vibrant Jewish life he found there. He had already started psychology studies under Karl Jaspers as early as 1919, since law students in Heidelberg were able to take an elective course in a subject outside their faculty. On grad uating he entered the legal profession and became a partner in what was to become his father-in-law's practice in Karlsruhe. Even before he was pre cluded by the Nazis from working as a lawyer, he returned to his interest in psychology. From 1931 he had already begun working with Frieda Fromm Reichmann, herself born in Karlsruhe but with a practice in Heidelberg, pos sibly when she was based just over the border in Strasbourg.34 In 1932 he began publishing short papers on psychoanalytic topics and spending time with Gustav Richard Heyer's circle in Munich.35 It is thought that it was Schorstein, "Irrelevance of Science". Laing, Wisdom, Madness, Folly, 138. Schorstein, Present State of Consciousness, 221. For information on Freida Fromm-Reichman in this period, see Gail A. Hornstein, To Redeem one Person is to Redeem the World: The Life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann (New York: Free Press, 2000); Lawrence J. Friedman, The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love's Prophet (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013). Karl M. Abenheimer, Narcissism, Nihilism, Simplicity and Self: Studies in Literature as Psychology, ed. R. R. Calder (Aberdeen University Press, 1991), 11. 31</page><page sequence="10">Kenneth Collins through Heyer that Abenheimer first met Jung in 1933 and he was with Jung in Zurich in March 1936. Jung is often seen as a controversial figure because of his personal history during the Nazi era when he was president of the German General Medical Society for Psychotherapy. Jewish Jungians generally do not consider Jung antisemitic on a personal level but have been offended by his insensitivity to the plight of Jews during the 1930s and his failure to condemn antisemitism.36 Echoes of these attitudes persist, leading many practitioners to denigrate Jung's role in the history of psychoanalysis. However, Abenheimer should be seen as having his own psychological approach which drew on his training experiences and disagreements with certain crucial contentions of Freud.3' By October 1936 he was in Glasgow being recruited to a post as a psycho analyst by Angus McNiven, then probably the most respected psychiatrist in Glasgow.38 As has been seen, McNiven was acutely aware of the predicament facing Jewish psychiatrists and psychoanalysts in Germany and Austria and was involved from an early stage in recruiting practitioners who could help develop Glasgow as a major centre of modern psychiatric practice.39 Abenheimer established a reputation in Glasgow as a therapist, writer and lecturer and developed a friendship with Schorstein following his arrival in the city. The former lost his hospital post after the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948, as he did not possess medical qualifications, but doctors continued to refer patients privately or came to him to train. His own insights, born of the anxieties of psychological exile, had no shortage of experiences on which to feed, whether as the schoolboy turned soldier in 1916 or as a German Jew in the 1930s. Schorstein's background echoed this sense of psychological exile, both from the problematic relationship with his father and the need to create a new existence in his country of adoption. Abenheimer saw "Freud's lasting achievement and merit not in his theory but in his having created a new empirical science of man's motivation, having found new methods for studying it."40 His thought: "The urge to know what I am is iden tical to the will to become myself" gave succour to a generation of disciples.41 While much of Abenheimer's work has been published, these writings have mainly concerned his essays in literary criticism based on the insights of A balanced account of the attitude of a contemporary Jewish Jungian analyst to Jung's troubled history can be found in Aryeh Maidenbaum, "Carl Jung and the Question of Anti-Semitism: Struggling with Accusations", Jewish Currents: Activist Politics and Arts, at http://jewishcurrents. org/carl-jung-and-the-question-of-anti-semitism-15187; accessed 22 April 2013. Abenheimer never commented on this aspect of Jung's character. Abenheimer, Narcissism, Nihilism, Simplicity, 19. Kenneth Collins, "Angus McNiven and the Austrian Psychoanalysts", 18-19. Ibid. Abenheimer, Narcissism, Nihilism, Simplicity, 113. Ibid., 172. 32</page><page sequence="11">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer an analyst of the human condition. Fortunately, a number of his papers, all covering Jewish subjects, reached the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre as part of the collection of material bequeathed by a former Glasgow general practi tioner, Dr Emil (Abraham) Glasser. Glasser, who was able to converse in German, had significant contacts with local refugees, especially those like Abenheimer who had arrived during the 1930s. Many of the earlier refugee patients he cared for managed to find their way to America but later arrivals, he found, tended to stay and many became successful in business and the professions. Glasser described Abenheimer as "essentially Jewish with a warm Jewish personality".42 He was a Zionist, from his days in student Zionist circles in Heidelberg, and religious in the sense that he believed in God and was a fol lower of Jung, rather than Freud, thus seeing religious behaviour and con cepts in a positive light. However, Abenheimer did not believe in the practices of formal religion and his Jewishness was cultural and national rather than observant. In his description of Freud's thoughts on religion written in 1959, which are described in Freud's book The Future of an Illusion, Abenheimer pointed to Freud's self-perceived heroism as he destroyed the religious illu sions of human grandeur. This was, he felt, related to Freud's nineteenth century Jewish need to assimilate to the secularist humanism he saw in gentile society. Schorstein and Abenheimer's study group brought the culture milieu of Central Europe, and the thought of Buber, Kierkegaard and Jaspers, to a gen eration of Glasgow physicians, theologians, philosophers and scholars from other disciplines. As to its philosophical orientation, Jack Rillie saw the pre dominant existentialist interest of its members inclining it in a personalist direction.43 The group had gradually formed in Glasgow during the 1950s when the restless intellectual energy of Abenheimer and Schorstein coalesced around a small discussion group of about a dozen academics discussing papers presented by its members. The Abenheimer-Schorstein Group examined basic questions of human existence, meeting every few weeks until after Abenheimer's death in 1973.44 Variously known also as the Abenheimer Group or the Schorstein Group, the participants were personally vetted to ensure their compatibility and aca demic competence, as the group functioned also as a congenial social gather ing besides its serious intellectual function. Members of the group included the philosophers J. J. Russell and John Macquarrie and the theologian Ronald 42 Dr Abraham (Emil) Glasser interviewed 29 September and 7 October 1988; Glasgow, Scottish Jewish Archives Centre (hereafter, SJAC), Oral History Interviews. 43 Jack Rillie, "The Abenheimer-Schorstein Group", Edinburgh Review 32 (1978-79): 106. 44 R. R. Calder, "The Abenheimer-Schorstein Group", in Abenheimer, Narcissism, Nihilism, Simplicity, 166-9; Rillie, "Abenheimer-Schorstein Group", 104-8. 33</page><page sequence="12">Kenneth Collins Gregor Smith who supplied a natural intellectual energy and a passion of con viction to the group. His enthusiasm for Buber led to his translating Buber's I and Thou into English. Laing described a visit made by Buber to Glasgow where he was "privileged" to attend Buber's lecture to members of the Jewish community rather than the event at Glasgow University. There were Jewish scholars such as the Slavist Jacob (Jack) Miller, the classicist Abraham Wasserstein and the later child psychiatrist Fred Stone, which enhanced the group's intellectual underpinning. Laing participated briefly in the group until he went to London in 1957 but presented papers there in subsequent visits to the city. The drafts of some of The Divided Self on which Laing was working before he left Glasgow, were discussed in the group and some of Laing's literary control in this work can be attributed to input from Schorstein and Abenheimer.45 In 1958 Abenheimer suggested to Laing that "alternative formulations" would be needed for the basic ideas in The Divided Self '\î\t was to achieve "its potential of a good book".46 Rillie, too, acknowledged the personal contribution the group had made in providing a context within which he could read and appreciate the work of Buber as something not distant or foreign, beyond the fact that his friend Smith was the English translator of I and Thou. By the time of Abenheimer's death in 1973, Schorstein was himself in poor health and without their pres ence the group could not survive. There were attempts to revive it but it was a product of its times and founders. As Rillie observed, it was a unique organ ism and had come to the end of its natural life.47 One of the participants, Dr Cameron MacDonald, a physician trained in psychotherapy by Abenheimer, formed part of a second group, established by Abenheimer for psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic practitioners. Abenheimer was critical of Freud's psychology of the human mind which saw humanity as the battleground of primitive animal forces against the cul tural limitations which try to tame them. Freud's therapeutic goal was to gain control over the instincts by consciousness. Freud used the concept of mental illness which he saw in the society of his time while Abenheimer referred to the goal - which he admitted he had never seen done - of seeing health by visualizing the man who is free from all the mental disturbances which by common consent are regarded as ill. Abenheimer was fortunate to arrive in Glasgow when the first psychother apy clinic, the Lansdowne Clinic, was established. Despite his lack of a medical degree, but more likely because of his background in psychotherapy, 45 Robert Calder, "Abenheimer and Laing: Some Notes", Edinburgh Review 32 (1978-79): m. 46 Karl M. Abenheimer to R. D. Laing, Glasgow, 1958; Glasgow University Library, Special Collections, MS. Laing B47-8. By the time of Laing's death in 1989 his book had sold more than 700,000 copies in Britain alone and had been translated into 30 languages. 47 Rillie, "Abenheimer-Schorstein Group", 107. 34</page><page sequence="13">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer he was accepted as an honorary member of the clinical staff and permitted to treat patients at both the Landsdowne and the Gartnavel Royal Infirmary. In addition he had to set up a private analytic practice as the honoraria paid for clinical and in-patient care was just that - a token sum of money. He was credited with deep insights into personal relationships and especially gener ation clashes in Jewish family businesses between members of the immigrant generation and their sons. It was observed that: "To a remarkable extent he was free of the psychologist's superstition that people have always been wrong and psychology right.48 Abenheimer's Jewish writings Abenheimer's personal engagement with the religious or social life of the Jewish community in Glasgow was marginal but he remained a popular lec turer much in demand by the various Jewish cultural groups. In an early Jewish lecture, entitled "Psychology of Jewish Social Groups", one of the earlier presentations made to the Glasgow Society for Jewish-Christian Understanding, on 26 January 1940, he pointed out that persecution had influenced Jewish psychology to a considerable extent but that he felt that the Jewish environment of learning and logical thinking was equally important.49 This had led the contemporary Jewish professional into law, medicine and psychology. He did not believe that assimilation was a solution to the Jewish problem and he pointed out that the German experience had shown that one could not get rid of the Jews without losing much more: moral standards, for example, and rules of decency. He considered that the best defence against antisemitism was self-respect and the calm self-confidence or restraint, known in Hebrew as havlagah, then being displayed by the Jewish population in British Palestine. A highly significant paper delivered by Abenheimer was that on "Jewish Self Hatred" which he presented in November 1943 to Glasgow Bnei Brith. Abenheimer was familiar with Theodor Lessing's book, the first major work on the subject, which had been published in Berlin in 1930: it tried to explain why many Jewish academics held antagonistic views towards Judaism and their fellow Jews. Abenheimer felt that the pattern of the intense Jewish reli gious experience as practised in pre-emancipation Europe had produced a society where the necessary distancing from mother, which was part of a move from emotion to spiritual study, along with the constant competition 48 Editorial, "Introduction to Karl M. Abenheimer, Reflections onfaspers's Concept of'Existence'", Edinburgh Review 74 (1986): 140. 49 Karl M. Abenheimer, "Psychology of Jewish Social Groups", lecture of 26 Jan. 1940; original held in SJAC; copy on fde with the author. 35</page><page sequence="14">Kenneth Collins with other men, produced a centrifugal, even hostile attitude to other Jews. This self-hate and contempt was, he thought, not just the result of living in antisemitic surroundings but followed the radical divergence between male and female ideals in the Jewish tradition, both factors in Freud's Vienna.50 The identification of the term with the polemics of contemporary Jewish discourse related to Zionism and Israel has obscured the real problem which Abenheimer was addressing and which we should probably today call Jewish antisemitism.51 He pointed to the number of Jews who try to hide their Jewishness and feel extremely embarrassed in the presence of traditional Jews, often in the hope of great gentile acceptance. Furthermore, he pointed to the Jewish pleas for tolerance from non-Jews while Jews seemed most intolerant to each other, with inner Jewish discussions tinged with intoler ance, fanaticism and hate. Abenheimer indicated that this turning against one's own personality, on the one hand, led to self-deprecation and an over estimation of the gentile world, which caused the mass flight from Judaism when the ghetto doors opened during the European Enlightenment. On the other hand, Abenheimer regarded what he called the "cant of Jewish superi ority" as a "dangerous self-deception which produces and maintains the illu sion that things are all right within the Jewish sphere."52 In addition it fosters a passivity which makes Jews expect all improvements in their situation as gifts from the Gentiles. Abenheimer believed that the creation of a Jewish country was one solution to this problem, a place where the issues of identity and attachment could be worked through. In the Diaspora he advocated Jewish schools as a means of preparing children for both the Jewish and the gentile worlds. This is not to Karl M. Abenheimer, "Jewish Self Hatred", address to Glasgow Bnei Brith, November 1943, pp. 10—11, quoting Sigmund Freud, "The Resistance Against Psychoanalysis", La Revue Juive, 1925; SJAC. There is extensive contemporary literature on the subject, ranging from the naive optimism of postwar cultural pluralism expressed by Lionel Kochan in a lecture in 1970 when he foresaw an end to the phenomenon; Lionel Kochan, "Jewish Self-Hatred", World Jewish Congress, British Section, London, 1970. Sander Oilman wrote: "One of the most recent forms of Jewish self hatred is the virulent opposition to the existence of the State of Israel"; Sander Gilman, Jewish Self-Hatred: Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), 361. Antony Lerman, "Jewish Self-Hatred: Myth or Reality?", Jewish Quarterly 210 (Summer 2008), accessible at http://www.jewishquarterly.org/issuearchive/ article23Ó6. html?articleid=432. W. M. L. Finlay notes that the expression "self-hatingjew" "is often used rhetorically to discount Jews who differ in their lifestyles, interests or political positions from their accusers"; W. M. L. Finlay, "Pathologizing Dissent: Identity Politics, Zionism and the 'Self-Hating Jew'", British Journal of Social Psychology 44 no. 2 (2005): 201-22. Bernard Wasserstein considers that self-hating Jews "were not so much haters of themselves as haters of 'other'Jews"; Bernard Wasserstein, On the Eve: The Jews of Europe before the Second World War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012), 211. Abenheimer, "Jewish Self Hatred", unpublished paper, SJAC. 36</page><page sequence="15">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer say that he was advocating a simple return to a ghetto-like isolation, as he felt religious observance too stifling and restrictive, but rather a preparation for Jewish youth to live in a world which is both nationalistic and secular. He was a profound admirer of Franz Rosenzweig and, though he did not follow Rosenzweig's embrace of religious observance, he accepted the premise that "Judaism should be shown as a reality pervading all aspects of our life."53 Abenheimer sympathized with Rosenzweig's dilemmas, typical of the 1920s: to be liberal and observant, to harmonize tradition and modern thought and to be part of the community of German Jews, despite his differ ences with the thrust of mainstream assimilatory thought. In a paper on "Freud and the Psychology of the Jews" (1952) Abenheimer acknowledged Freud as the contemporary Jew with the greatest influence on modern thought, more important than such other Jews as Einstein or Bergson. Freud had himself recognized that his Jewishness was an important factor for the understanding of himself and his work and had pointed out that "it was perhaps no mere chance that the first representative of psycho analysis was a Jew".54 Abenheimer noted that Freud, whom he described as "scientific rationalist", had professed no affinity with religion but still identified with the community and never tried to hide his Jewishness. This was more through a refusal to be treated as someone withholding his identity rather than through a positive pride in being Jewish. Abenheimer considered that Freud's foray into human motivation was a field that historically had held much fascination for the Jewish mind, firstly through the Jewish quest for the understanding of human behaviour but also because of the precarious position of the Jew in European society. He pointed to the marked contradictions in Freud's life: a man hostile to Jewish nation alism and religion while pursuing his secular studies with the zeal of a Talmudist; a revolutionary thinker on sex whose own life-style followed tra ditional Jewish values on fidelity and marriage. Again, Abenheimer noted that Freud's autobiography did not mention his mother and barely mentioned his wife, concentrating exclusively on his sci entific achievements and the struggle for recognition. "The man who analysed other people remained an opaque and cloudy figure." At least Freud could be identified by others as conforming to the cultural pattern common to the liberal Jewish society offin-de-siècle Vienna while his views of others often matched the traditional Jewish attitude to the hostile gentile world. Abenheimer pointed out that "the Jewish cultural setting in which Freud grew up" conditioned much of his thought and "provided Freud with the model for the psychological development of man in general." Indeed, 53 Karl M. Abenheimer, "Franz Rosensweig", 3-page article; SJAC. 54 Freud, "Resistance Against Psychoanalysis", quoted in Abenheimer, "Freud and the Psychology of the Jews", address to Glasgow Bnei Brith, June 1952; SJAC. 37</page><page sequence="16">Kenneth Collins Abenheimer also points to the minor role accorded to women in Freud's thought, noting that he held "an implicit belief in her inferiority", though of course women played an important role in his life and many women had a key role in the development of psychoanalysis.55 With the growth of antisemitism in Central Europe in the 1920s, Freud felt compelled to learn more about the Judaism he had rejected. The objec tivity he had shown in his analysis of Jewish jokes some twenty years earlier, which had given his writings what Abenheimer described as "an anti-Semitic tinge", gave way to an examination of Jewish history. Yet, Abenheimer points out that even in Moses and Monotheism Freud has to show that it was the Egyptians rather than the Jews who developed monotheism; in other words, "the truth that he thus propounds is however nothing but an unproven and most improbable hypothesis", indicating that Freud's "concept of Judaism is fallacious. At no time did Judaism consist only in the belief in God and a life of truth and justice."56 It is interesting to note that Abenheimer considered that Freud followed the Jewish liberals "who cleansed Judaism of all the elements which seemed objectionable to either their own or to the Gentile rationalism - but of course they did not believe in this cleansed religion for it had lost all emotional appeal." His conclusion was that Freud ultimately failed to give "a satisfac tory picture of human existence in spite of the many brilliant insights into iso lated mental mechanisms."57 In a later paper entitled "Secularism and Religion in Freud and Jung's Psychology", delivered in 1959, Abenheimer said that: "As this destroyer of (religious) illusions, Freud, like the other great secularists of the nineteenth century felt heroic... they are Promethean rebels who dare to defy tradition, the world of their fathers ... even if it hurts themselves."58 Abenheimer believed that Freud felt that he had discovered that psychol ogy, the truth about the human mind, could be reduced to a branch of phys iology. However, Abenheimer felt that a "distinguishing feature of Jung's teaching is his genuine respect for every manifestation of the human psyche and his readiness to find significance and positive purpose even in the most unpromising phenomena. This contrasts strikingly with Freud's contempt for common humanity and ... reducing highly complex phenomena to being 'nothing but' manifestations of a few primitive urges." Freud, "Resistance Against Psychoanalysis". Abenheimer notes that trust, love and tolerance are also important, elements that are embedded in the Bible, Talmud and the mystical elements of the religion; Abenheimer, lecture notes, "Freud and the Psychology of the Jews", 26; Scottish Jewish Archives Centre Glasgow. Ibid. Karl M. Abenheimer, "Secularism and Religion in Freud and Jung's Psychology", unpublished paper, 1959; SJAC. The following quotations are also from this source. 38</page><page sequence="17">The Jewish thought of Joseph Schorstein and Karl Abenheimer In concluding his critique of Freud and Jung's psychology, Abenheimer draws on Rosenzweig's analysis of the poetry of Yehuda HaLevi, with which he felt that Jung would have fully agreed, indicating that "the Jew is full of the consciousness of suffering and this gives him the right to praise God's world; in spite of it. Religion is the expression of faithfulness to our human experience... it belongs to our common experience of a meaningful cosmos. .. . To speak of religion and ignore man in his suffering, his needs and with his awareness of his death and with his need to come to terms with it all, is meaningless." Conclusion Karl Abenheimer and Joseph Schorstein were complex individuals whose views on medicine, philosophy and of Jewish life were moulded by their expe riences of exile and resettlement. Almost eight decades have passed since their arrival in Britain and their contribution to Scottish philosophy as well as to its medicine is a topic which remains popular with philosophers, literary critics and historians. Intensely aware of their Jewish origins and supporters of Zionism, they were able to analyse contemporary Jewish thought through the prism of their own lives. These writings, some of which have been "hidden" for more than fifty years, enable us to understand better the milieu of these refugee practitioners, their world view and their connections with the Jewish life they left behind in German-speaking Europe and their new active intellectual life in Glasgow. 39</page></plain_text>