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Bertha Pappenheim (1859–1936)

Author of Gebete = Prayers

Includes the names: Frauenrechtlerin Bertha Pappenheim

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Bertha Pappenheim was born in Vienna to a prosperous Austrian-Jewish family. She attended a girls' school, and upon leaving she was expected only to learn what was need to attract and keep a husband. She led a boring life, helping her mother, reading, and doing needlework. She often escaped into daydreams. She would later urge other middle-class girls to demand vocational training and higher education. Between 1880 and 1882, Bertha was treated for a variety of nervous symptoms by the physician Josef Breuer. Dr. Breuer kept his then-friend Sigmund Freud informed about the case. Bertha was designated "Anna O" to protect her identify, and Dr. Breuer's talking treatment with her became the first known case of psychoanalysis. Dr. Breuer hypnotized Bertha and encouraged her to explain how her symptoms first appeared. During the treatment, her symptoms began to disappear; Freud’s biographer Ernest Jones considered Bertha to have discovered the benefits of catharsis. In 1889, Bertha moved with her mother to Frankfurt and began to do social and volunteer work. She organized Women’s Welfare, one of the first modern Jewish social welfare organizations. Women’s Welfare set up a day care center, an employment service, and a commission to protect children. In addition, it initiated international outreach programs to help Jews in Eastern Europe. The success of Women's Welfare encouraged Bertha to start the League of Jewish Women (JFB in German) in 1904, which she served as its first president. She went on to found kindergartens, community homes, and schools. Her writing, which began in the 1890s, reflected her feminist and Jewish concerns. In 1899, she published a play entitled Frauenrechte (Women’s Rights) and a translation of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women. She also produced the volume of novellas In der Trodlerbude and other works under the pseudonym Paul Berthold. Her best-known book, Sisyphus Arbeit (The Work of Sisyphus), describing the traffic in women and prostitution in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, appeared in 1924.
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