Sigmund Freud Speaks: The Only Known Recording of His Voice, 1938

On Decem­ber 7, 1938, a BBC radio crew vis­it­ed Sig­mund Freud at his new home at Hamp­stead, North Lon­don. Freud had moved to Eng­land only a few months ear­li­er to escape the Nazi annex­a­tion of Aus­tria. He was 81 years old and suf­fer­ing from incur­able jaw can­cer. Every word was an agony to speak.

Less than a year lat­er, when the pain became unbear­able, Freud asked his doc­tor to admin­is­ter a lethal dose of mor­phine. The BBC record­ing is the only known audio record­ing of Freud, the founder of psy­cho­analy­sis and one of the tow­er­ing intel­lec­tu­al fig­ures of the 20th cen­tu­ry. (Find works by Freud in our col­lec­tion of 300 Free eBooks.) In heav­i­ly accent­ed Eng­lish, he says:

I start­ed my pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ty as a neu­rol­o­gist try­ing to bring relief to my neu­rot­ic patients. Under the influ­ence of an old­er friend and by my own efforts, I dis­cov­ered some impor­tant new facts about the uncon­scious in psy­chic life, the role of instinc­tu­al urges, and so on. Out of these find­ings grew a new sci­ence, psy­cho­analy­sis, a part of psy­chol­o­gy, and a new method of treat­ment of the neu­roses. I had to pay heav­i­ly for this bit of good luck. Peo­ple did not believe in my facts and thought my the­o­ries unsa­vory. Resis­tance was strong and unre­lent­ing. In the end I suc­ceed­ed in acquir­ing pupils and build­ing up an Inter­na­tion­al Psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic Asso­ci­a­tion. But the strug­gle is not yet over.  –Sig­mund Freud.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Carl Gus­tav Jung Pon­ders Death

Free Online Psy­chol­o­gy & Neu­ro­science Cours­es

Down­load Sig­mund Freud’s Great Works as Free eBooks & Free Audio Books: A Dig­i­tal Cel­e­bra­tion on His 160th Birth­day

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Comments (8)
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  • Thank you for shar­ing this resource! It remind­ed me of a tele­phone com­mer­cial years ago with spoofs on Ein­stein and Freud, in which Ein­stein phones up Freud and says, “Hel­lo Sig­mund? Albert here!” I real­ly enjoy the posts from your site.

  • cloudy2 says:

    Was this done on a ‘wire’ record­ing?
    These same ‘wire’ record­ings were avail­able right after the war.

  • Epicfiction says:

    This is real­ly cool! Thanks for post­ing.

  • carlos says:

    This was strange.nFor very long time, I wished to be a psy­cho­an­a­lyst. Then, I was neglat­ed almost every­thing that psychoanalysis…nToday, I don’t give much impor­tance to most of what is called psy­cho­analy­sis, it just isn’t of my inter­est any­more, but his fig­ure still give me the chills… he’s (was) a very charis­mat­ic per­son, fas­ci­nat­ing indeed.

  • Spooky! His voice is exact­ly as I would have imag­ined! :-)

  • Anshu says:

    Very inspir­ing for aspir­ing psy­cho­an­a­lysts like me . its like lis­ten­ing to — ‘the mas­ter’s voice !!’.

    this is the first time i heard Freud’s voice after read­ing a lot of his books ‑he sounds very pro­found . we will be for­ev­er indebt­ed to him for his deep under­stand­ing of the human mind and unflinch­ing courage to find the truth which lies beneath.

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