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Short biography
Muriel Morris Gardiner was born to a vastly wealthy business family in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from Wellesley College, she studied literature at Oxford University and then went to medical school at the University of Vienna. She wanted to be a psychoanalyst and sought to become a patient of Sigmund Freud. In the early 1930s, she witnessed Nazi assaults on Jewish students and Social Democrats. She joined the anti-Nazi resistance and met Joseph Buttinger, a leader of the movement, who later became her husband. Under the alias "Mary," she served as a secret courier, smuggled false identity documents, and used her apartment as a safe house for political dissidents. At the outbreak of World War II, she returned to the USA but continued to support the anti-Fascist underground financially and help rescue people from the Nazis. She had a distinguished career as a psychoanalyst and teacher, specializing in the treatment of disturbed children. Based on her work as a volunteer psychiatrist at public institutions in New Jersey, she wrote a study of teenage violence, The Deadly Innocents: Portraits of Children Who Kill (1976). She also edited a book about one of Freud's most famous cases, The Wolf Man by The Wolf Man (1971), a patient she had known in Vienna. In 1983, Dr. Gardiner published a memoir, Code Name Mary: Memoirs of an American Woman in the Austrian Underground, and many people noted a resemblance to the character of "Julia" in a chapter of Lillian Hellman's Pentimento. Dr. Gardiner pointed out that, while she and Miss Hellman had never met, they had shared the same lawyer. Dr. Gardiner established the Sigmund Freud Museum in the house in Hampstead, London, where Freud and his daughter Anna lived after they fled Austria. Muriel-Gardiner-Buttinger-Platz in Vienna is named in her honor.
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