By Robert Whiston FRSA, 01 November 2009
Anna Freud was born towards the close of 1895 and Emeritus Professor of Psychology Doug Davis in his book “Lost Girl” intimately describes her early years and the problems she experienced in her adolescence.
By 1919 (aged 25), Anna underwent more than a year of analysis by her father to treat what some have described as her jealousy, depression and masochistic tendencies. It has been interpreted from Sigmund Freud writings that he beat Anna as part of the therapy. However, this approach appears not to have worked for Anna was later to write in 1923 a paper which some see as an autobiographical recounting of her own experiences, (“The Relation of Beating Phantasies to a Day Dream” ) ‘My father is beating the child whom I hate.” 
Davis and Prof. Patrick Mahoney (University of Montreal) both independently comment on her anorexia (an eating disorder) during her teenage years and of her latent-homosexuality. Mahoney is best known for his meticulous work in dissecting Sigmund Freud’s personality (see the “Rat Man” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Man).
They and other authors contend that Anna Freud developed in early adolescence a severe psychopathology, consisting of sado-masochistic fantasies accompanied by compulsive masturbation, an eating disorder, and depression. They speculate as to its possibly iatrogenic nature, namely a complication induced in a patient by a physician’s activity or therapy.
However it has to be recalled that Sigmund and Martha Freud had 6 children and in her first years of life we read in “Guide to Psychoanalytic Developmental Theories” (by Joseph Palombo, Barry Koch and Harold Bendicsen) that:
“ … Anna felt abandoned by her father [due to his work] and neglected by her mother who did not breast feed Anna as she had done with her other children. In fact, she took a holiday away from the family for several months shortly after Anna’s birth.”
Many speculate that her transition from a teenager lacking self-esteem and enduring inner demons (1919 – 1922) to unchallenged guardian of her father’s legacy (circa 1939) is in no small part due to her psychological dependency on her father, which some have described, though perhaps not meant in a sexual context, as ‘incestuous’.
Freud established himself – or disestablished himself – as a family therapist in that unique act of wild analysis when he took his own daughter into an impossible and incestuous treatment.
It was during the 1920s that Anna Freud began volunteer work at the Baumgarten Home which cared for Jewish children that were orphaned or made homeless by the World War I. Here she met some of the early psychoanalytic pioneers, Siegfried Bernfeld, Willi Hoffer, both ardent Jewish socialists and August Aichhorn. 
August Aichhorn has to be considered one of the prime founder of psychoanalytic education and his seminal work with disadvantaged youth is still cited today (“Wayward Youth” (1925), translated into English in 1935). 
Advancement in a ‘science’ still in its infancy might be adjudged relatively easy and so it was that from 1927 to 1934 Anna Freud became General Secretary of the fledgling International Psychoanalytical Association. Then, in 1935 Anna became director of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Training Institute. 
It was through such positions she could build up contacts and the networks with the early pioneers and who would come to serve her well later in London and then America.
Notwithstanding her personality defects Anna Freud helped to establish the Hietzing School, in 1927, with money provided by Dorothy Burlingham and Eva Rosenfeld.  Aichhorn’s work, which emphasised the impact of early deprivation and the need to take into account any paucity in emotional attachment when working with young delinquents greatly influenced Anna Freud in setting up the Hietzing School.
The school catered for about twenty pupils and the children tended to come from households predisposed to psychoanalysis, understand it or to themselves be ‘in analyses.
Ten years later (1937), Anna Freud was involved with the Jackson Nursery aimed at the poor and needy in Vienna and funded this time by an Edith Banfield Jackson, an American philanthropist. Jackson had entered the Freud’s sphere in January of 1930, at the age of 35 when she had begun her psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud (case 36). Her letters, especially to her sister Helen Jackson, are the principal source in her case. 
Both the 1927 and the 1937 initiatives and their funders were to prove useful American entrees for Freud’s later work, i.e. post 1945.
In particular the Jackson Nursery was an experiment in the application of psychoanalytic principles to the care of the young child combined with meticulous note taking of every nuance displayed.
Edith Jackson was to later champion the ‘rooming-in’ plan which allowed parents and newborns to be together. The Jackson Nursery format was therefore the precursor of daycare centres that are now found all across America.
Unfortunately, after only a few months of operation the nursery had to close with the rise of fascism in Europe and the annexation of Austria into the German Reich.
At this point (1938) Anna Freud flees Austria for England and is extensively referenced as “throwing herself into her work”  and of “recognising the need to provide shelters for orphans and children and their families who were political refugees from concentration camps, or made homeless by the war”.
Apparently, “she planned a temporary wartime shelter for children” which were later extended to all children who suffered as the result of war conditions, irrespective of nationality, race or religion and as “the scale of the difficulties facing children in the cities became apparent, these plans soon began to grow.”  A reading of the various citations gives the impression that throughout 1940 she is ministering to dozens if not hundreds of children of the Blitz.
With the death of her father and the outbreak of World War II in 1939, it is understandable that as a distraction Anna should throw herself into her work but the citations about the provision of shelters is ambiguous. Air raid or bomb shelters, i.e. ‘Anderson Shelters’, were provided free of charge by the government to the working class, the poor and any one earning less than £250 per annum. It is difficult to see her providing Anderson shelters which offered only minimal protection against bomb bursts or of paying for them to be installed in peoples’ back gardens.  Therefore, ‘shelters’ in this instance must mean refuges, respites, sanctuaries, etc.
The first of the Children’s Rest Centres, to which these shelters must refer, was not opened until Jan 1941 and the concentrating bombing known as ‘the Blitz’ ended soon after, in May 1941. Three such rest centres were set up by Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham but opened only with the financial support from the American Foster Parents’ Plan for War Children (AFPPWC). It is probably this organisation and the co-funding by the British War Relief Society, which we must thank for the extending of Freud’s concern to ‘all’ children.
The first of the what to be later known as the Hampstead War Nurseries or Children’s Rest Centre was in Wedderburn Road, London and most of the 10 – 12 children came with their mothers from the East End of London. It has been calculated by the Anna Freud Centre that in all only 191 children were clients of Children’s Rest Centre throughout the war years.
It is at this point that a contemporary if not earlier equivalent to managing refugee children has to be considered and compared. The Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939) saw not a few hundred child refugees cared for but thousands. The actual numbers of the children who came to Britain, one of several nations (including France, Mexico and Russia), organising passage and relief on a massive scale vary according to sources but the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief conservatively puts the figure at 3,840 children.
The children arrived traumatised in Britain aboard several ships which had been threatened with or actually experienced attack from planes and warships, together with 80 teachers, 120 auxiliaries and 15 catholic priests.
Six hundred children alone came on 21 May 1937 aboard an old converted liner, SS Habana, hired for the risky trip from Bilbao to Southampton.
Those risks were very real and very present. The Habana had to be escorted as she left port and across the Bay of Biscay by two Royal Navy
warships, the battle cruiser ‘HMS Royal
Oak’ and the destroyer “HMS Forester”
waiting a few miles offshore.
Right: The battle cruiser ‘HMS Royal Oak’ (29,000 tons) in command of convoys protecting merchant shipping leaving ‘Western Approaches’ for the Bay of Biscay, along the Spanish coast and into the Mediterranean.
The exodus of the innocent flowed from the indiscriminate daylight bombing and wholesale destruction of a wholly non-military target – Guernica. The Luftwaffe onslaught against mainly women and children in Guernica and the 20,000 shells that rained down on Bilbao in the Basque region of northern Spain gave the 20th century its first taste of children as war refugees.
The academic press is littered with accolades extolling Anna Freud’s vision and how her genius encompassed the study and understanding of children and adults, spanning the gap between theory and practice.  But nothing is said of the ordinary men and women who did the same job 4 years earlier with the Basque children refugees.
These volunteers did not enjoy local, national or generous overseas funding yet they managed to successfully fill the gap between theory and practice for these traumatised children. The organising committee depended on public donations, trade union support and the Co-operative Societies; everything was done on a shoestring. The Women’s Co-operative Guild together with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and the Quakers raised the initial money to establish three homes for the Basque children.
Freud may have pioneered methodical note taking and applied her knowledge of child psychoanalysis but the outcomes for most Spanish refugee children in what were called ‘colonies’ was wholly remarkable.
Once disembarked the children were dispersed in groups to one of 94 such colonies. One such colony was ‘Aldridge Lodge’ in Walsall (8 miles north of Birmingham) run by John Whiston and his wife Louise (helped at the weekends by their three grown up sons).
A crowed deck. Just before sailing on Thursday night another attack saw bombs fall in the water all around the Habana but none hit the ship.
When the second and third of the Children’s Rest Centres, were all working at capacity in 1941, staff cared for 120 children who were aged between 10 days old and 6 years old.
Given the various professional bodies interested, e.g. medical, psychological and nursing, plus the training and education course laid on using the children as catalysts for better understandings, adults outnumbered children. The ratio at the Basque colonies was the inverse, i.e. children outnumbered adults.
Between them Anna and Dorothy supervised the two London centres dealing with children of all races and religions and supervised the training of approximately 20 young women for work within the centres.
Without the American Foster Parents’ Plan increasing their funding in 1941 the number of children, mostly babies and infants, at the Children’s Rest Centres would not have risen above 30.
Meanwhile Alice Goldberger, located at the third centre (New Barn, Essex), looked after about 30 evacuee children aged between 3 and 6 years. Here most of the staff and workers were refugees from Nazi oppression from Europe (cf. Aldridge Lodge with around 50; no support workers or professionals. Appendix A). New Barn was closed in 1946.
As a touché to Albert J. Solnit reverential portrayal of Anna Freud, she was not alone nor a pioneer in making a crucial difference to children at “high risk”, i.e. of having their physical, emotional and intellectual well-being blighted by poverty, war, physical handicaps, family death and/or family breakdown.
Some Basque children were already orphans and some went back to Spain only to find their fathers had been executed or imprisoned by Franco.
Two significant differences emerge between Freud’s work and that of the volunteers looking after the Basque children; one was cultural and the other was age range. Freud’s subjects tended to be either babies and / or toddlers whereas the volunteers had to cope with adolescent and teenagers (most aged 4 to 14 years) which, even in ideal circumstances, tend to be far more troublesome than babies or toddlers (see below “Arriving at Birmingham Station”).
Other differences are more obvious. Firstly, the Basque children could speak no English unlike Freud’s subjects. Secondly, Freud’s subjects were in their home land, not in a foreign land knowing no one and separated from their relatives (Freud ensured that the mothers of the children visited whenever they could).
‘Attachment theory’ and Bowlby’s writings and the dangers of fatherless parenting were still unknown at this time, certainly to the general public. Freud at the time, it has to be recalled, maintained that fathers posed a danger to their own infants.
It is interesting, therefore, to contrast the role of the many remarkable people like John Whiston who, contrary to Freud’s theory, became a much loved father-figure to the Basque children assigned to his care at Aldridge Lodge; a situation probably repeated in the other 93 ‘colonies’.
The ‘Psychological Parent’ is Invented
Writing in 1942, Freud & Burlingham first formulated a fourfold strategy for the nurseries:
- To repair damage already caused by war conditions to the bodily and mental health of children.
- To prevent further harm being done to the children.
- To do research on the essential psychological needs of children.
- To instruct people interested in the forms of education based on psychological knowledge of the child and generally to work out a pattern of nursery life which can serve as a model for peace-time education in spite of the conditions of war.
To compensate for situations where there was no mother for the children to gravitate towards or a lack of interest shown by a mother in a child, the concept of a ‘psychological parent’ evolved (see Appendix C). The habit of meticulous note taking aided this process and as we shall see in Part 3 this was to have a catastrophic effect for the next generation of children.
Systemising a process – turning it into what might today be called ‘a programme’ – and labelling different stages of child development lent an air of authority to her work and bestowed her train of thought with a degree of legitimacy it may not have deserved. Packaging a concept, with the Freud brand name, made it eminently portable and suitable for the training of others.
There is no uniformity in the descriptions available to the general public of the how, or indeed, what the work at the Hampstead War Nurseries involved. While some sources refer to them as caring in a general way, for children separated from their mothers there is a dearth of recorded symptoms and treated. One source specifies that they were children of single-parent (unmarried ?) families. 
War time conditions did not always make smooth or regular contact by parents possible. As a result children became distressed when their parent-mother (usually) failed to show up.
Many of the familiar difficulties of traumatised and institutionalised children began to be apparent at this point, and those parent-fathers who have ‘contact’ arrangements with their children after a divorce will be aware of the symptoms and flash point this represents.
Despite their best endeavours a significant number of Freud’s children showed a delay in their development in terms of wetting and soiling, aggressive behaviour and tantrums or emotional withdrawal and self-stimulation (e.g. head-banging). This was found to also be the case in the early weeks for those at Aldridge Lodge.
The academically inclined Freud had to recognise that, while she was catering to the physical and intellectual needs of the children – often in ways that were ‘superior’ to home life – it was the ordinary and mundane ‘emotional’ needs of the child that were most likely to suffer in a residential setting.
This was defined as ‘the attachment needs’ of the child – and yet their subsequent developments of action plans to overcome this barrier were more or less unsatisfactory within the residential setting (see Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, 1943).
It was at the Hampstead War Nurseries that children separated from their parents were given foster care in the form of a ‘psychological parent’. By this means Freud intended to help children form what is now termed familial ‘attachments’ by providing continuity of relationships with helpers while still “encouraging mothers to visit as often as possible.” 
Freud and Burlingham reasoned that it might prove beneficial if they reorganised the nursery population into ‘artificial families’ of 4 or 5 children and one “mother.” These ‘artificial families’ were formed according to the preferences of the staff and the young children (similar to the ‘Senoritas’ who came over with the Basque children) and immediately Freud and Burlingham saw how beneficial this was to the children. The hitherto suppressed need for individual attachment erupted, and in the course of one week all six families were completely and firmly established” (A. Freud, 1973a, p 220).
With the development of positive relationships to carers, children were quickly able to overcome developmental delays (such as in relation to feeding or sleeping) and developed an emotional “aliveness” that is so often absent in institutionalised children.
The developmental delays in relation to feeding or sleeping, which had previously been a feature of the children, were quickly erased and replaced with “an emotional “aliveness” that is so often absent in institutionalised children.” 
Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham published “Young Children in War-time” (1943), which was a review of one years work in a residential war nursery, together with “Infants without Families” which states the case for and against residential care.
It is at this juncture that we see a distinct and critical variation emerge. Until now the child patients of Freud have been younger than the Basque children, both group shave been traumatised by war, but the Basque children come from traditional two parent families and it is not at al clear if the children at Hampstead War Nurseries had two, one or no parents.
It also becomes clear that one group is being institutionalised while the other is in temporary family accommodation, living with their friends and peers, with props from an earlier and happier life.
In a review by H Sheeham-Dare of ‘Infants without Families’ it is made clear that in answer to the question “Does the institution child develop differently from the child brought up in a family?”, the verdict is ‘yes’.  In the first chapter we learn that:
“Superficial observation of children of this kind leaves a conflicting picture. They resemble, so far as outward appearances are concerned, children of middle-class families: they are well developed physically, properly nourished, decently dressed, have acquired clean habits and decent table manners, and can adapt themselves to rules and regulations. So far as character development is concerned, they often prove … not far above the standard of destitute or neglect….”
As a sentimental footnote to her work acclamations are frequently found bearing witness to her integrity and her research work. Reports are legion of how she kept in touch with former children – sending some of them cards and presents on their birthday etc – as if this further validated her work and reinforced her sincerity.
It is perfectly reasonable to suppose that those volunteer looking after the Basque refugees were similarly placed and experienced the same positive exchanges and feedback.
This period saw Anna Freud’s inner-self and career develop in unexpected ways. She moved away from her father’s classical position, which had focused primarily on the unconscious “Id” and began to favour more the importance of the “Ego”. This was where she saw the real inner struggle; the constant struggles and conflicts it experienced and the need to answer contradicting wishes, and balancing desires, values and demands of reality.
As a result her 1940s papers hypothesised what was in “the child’s best interests” using as a base her observations of very young children at thee Hampstead War Nurseries.
The Bulldogs Bank Study
In Part 3 we shall see the more traumatised side of children as we trace developments at the Bulldogs Bank study and the children from Tereisenstadt.
One again we shall see how Freud, in common with John Whiston and his wife Louise, found the traumatised children’s behaviour at first manic and destructive, even frightening.
However, within a short time both groups had, in varying degrees, settled and their hostility or anger at the world for disrupting their world and, in the case of the Basques, their fear of any aeroplane they heard lessened into normality.
The children developed an intense bond with one another which Freud also refers to in her study of Tereisenstadt children (see Freud, Part 3).
The ‘outcomes’, i.e. life chances, 10 and 20 years downstream for those at Aldridge Lodge proved to be excellent. What the outcomes were for Freud’s group is not easily ascertained.
Finally, the question posed in Part 1 (‘Anna Freud – her secret failure’), regarding why Anna Freud was so opposed to fathers participating in their children’s lives has been answered to a large degree in the opening paragraphs of this section (Part 2).
However, in Part 3 we will also see more reasons and the impact on fathers fighting for joint custody, of those demons already mentioned.
Extract from: “Children who fled Franco’s Spanish fascists to a sanctuary in Walsall in the thirties”
Black Country Bugle, May 13th 2004
“ …. Aldridge Lodge was a handsome mansion just off Bosty Lane. Over the years, it had been the comfortable residence of a number of well-to-do gentlemen, including, in 1851, the Rev. T.B. Adams, and in the late nineteenth century Frederick F. Clarke esq. However, it was now turned over to be a haven for around fifty of the Basque children, who are pictured in the postcard on the left, and local craftsmen helped to renovate the buildings.”
“ . .. . they did their utmost to make the children feel at home – despite the fact that none of them could speak Spanish, either! However, the children were accompanied by several “Senoritas”, who helped to overcome the language barriers and were invaluable for advice on the children’s food, especially when the arrival on the dinner table of baked beans – which the children had never seen before – caused much consternation!
Soon, the children had settled into Aldridge Lodge, learning English and making friends with locals, often staying with them in their homes. The Whistons organised games and trips to entertain them, and many Walsall people contributed towards their upkeep, ranging from large sums from sympathetic trade unions to pennies from local children.”
USS Oklahoma (BB-37), embarks US refugees at Bilbao, 1936
The US government moved quickly to extricate it citizens and avoid ‘entanglement’ in another European war.
Left: The USS Oklahoma (BB-37), (27,500 Tons) was diverted to Bilbao in 1936 (nine months before the Habana sailed).
Below: Crewmen holding evacuated children, as refugees are embarked at Bilboa, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, August 1936.
Court hands sisters over to mother’s lesbian lover
By Nick Britten, Daily Telegraph, (Filed: 07/04/2006)
[This case was later overturned – Ed]
Two young sisters at the centre of a bitter custody battle were taken from their biological mother yesterday and sent to live with her former lesbian lover following a landmark court ruling.
The Court of Appeal ruled that although the natural mother had blood ties to the girls, that would no longer be deemed an advantage when both parties had brought the children up.
Because of their joint involvement they might both be considered the “natural parent”, Lord Justice Thorpe said. The girls would be unable to distinguish between them on biological grounds.
The ruling marks a shift from the traditional view that the biological parent holds an advantage in custody battles.
The judge said: “We have moved into a world where norms that seemed safe 20 or more years ago no longer run. In the eyes of the child, the natural parent may be a non-biological parent who, by virtue of long settled care, has become the psychological parent.”
. . . . Lord Justice Thorpe, dismissing the appeal, said that same-sex partners should have the same rights as estranged heterosexual couples, and that the child’s views on which partner was the psychological parent should be considered.
 ‘Lost Girl’ by Doug Davis, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Haverford College http://www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/annafreud.losing.html
 Blass, Rachel B. (1993). “A rereading of Anna Freud’s “Beating fantasies and daydreams.” See also “Reading Freud: a chronological exploration of Freud’s writings” By Jean-Michel Quinodoz” http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9mYrgebP-OMC&pg=PA172&lpg=PA172&dq=Beating+fantasies+and+daydreams&source=bl&ots=V9i-ew9t0c&sig=g83X1ZGeahc_-ck9nfvLWUxiWu4&hl=en&ei=4yHmSumTH-WNjAeW65ChBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Beating%20fantasies%20and%20daydreams&f=false
 Mahoney, P. (1992). “Freud as family therapist: Reflections”, see ‘Freud and the history of psychoanalysis’. http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=jaa.021.0433a and http://www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/annafreud.losing.html
 The first psychoanalytic account of residential care for young people with emotional and behavioural disturbances.
 Edith Banfield Jackson donated $5,000 per year to establish a nursery school. Despite her wish for an intimate relationship with a man, Edith Jackson never married. Source: American Journal of Psychiatry http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/155/2/163
 Edith Banfield Jackson. Also made philanthropic donations to Sigmund Freud http://www.labmeeting.com/paper/25308488/lynn-2003-freud’s-psychoanalysis-of-edith-banfield-jackson-1930-1936
 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Anna Freud: the Hampstead War Nurseries (941) http://www.britannica.com/bps/additionalcontent/18/25975109/Anna-Freud-gli-asili-di-Hampstead-ai-tempi-della-guerra-e-il-ruolo-dellosservazione-infantile-in-psicoanalisi
 This must reflect American authorship as within the British context the need to specify race or religion when detailing relief for refugee children is superfluous.
 Unlike continental Europe there is not a tradition of cellar building in England. The confusion may lie in the Americanised use of the word ‘shelter’.
 Thereafter, London and other cities were routinely bombed but not systematically – the Luftwaffe having lost air supremacy over England by the Spring of 1941.
 A Legacy: Anna Freud’s Views on Childhood and Development by Albert J. Solnit, MD, Yale Child Study Center. http://www.springerlink.com/content/m36010251171u745/
 The other two were at Avoncroft and Elford.
 Freud Museum London http://www.freud.org.uk/education/topic/40053/anna-freud/
 ‘War’s long-term effects’, http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/themes/war/effects.aspx
 Infants without Families’ http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=IJP.026.0078A