Freud writes to the long time family housekeeper, Paula Fichtl, well after the Freud's left Vienna in 1938 to escape the Nazis after the Austrian Anschluss. The Freud family settled in London, in Marsfield Gardens. In full, "My dear, good Paula, Only yesterday I received your letter of the 5th, the first one came much faster. I am sorry that you are freezing so much, but it does not surprise me. One reason is the different climate the other that we are so spoiled in the evenly heated house. Just walk rigorously to warm you. Sure, vacation in the summer would be quite a different story but who knows if it would have worked out. I feel sincerely with you, that your poor father is miserable. Old age altogether is not good, that I know myself. Here winter hasn't arrived yet. Mr. Green did not come twice, can you imagine? We don't know whether he is ill or whether his fear of not being as well looked after in your absence causes it. Otherwise, everything goes its regular way. I'll be glad, however, when you, well rested, will be back in the house fidgeting about. I shall enjoy the thermometer, but don't spend so much money. We are not that badly off here. Good bye and all the best...." She signs, "from your Old Mother Freud."
Martha and Sigmund Freud were married for 53 years. The first biography of Martha Freud was published in 2006, written by Katja Behling who portrays Freud as loyal and steadfast. The author concluded that Martha Freud, "contributed in no small measure to the extraordinary success of psychoanalysis as it went from strength to strength and spread from Vienna to the four corners of the earth." Behling writes that, Martha Freud changed after her husband's death. The first Friday after his [Sigmund Freud] death she lit candles, reviving the Jewish tradition he had persuaded her to drop. I think she kept her religion inside her the whole time. She could have chosen a safe professor to marry and have lived in probably frustrated contentment. But she had spirit and chose a far more rocky, but interesting path, in partnership with the man she loved.” [See review of Behling’s biography in The Guardian on line by Hannah Cleaver. Clearly Freud was missing her long time family housekeeper who had started working for the Freud's in 1929 and who not only accompanied them from Austria in 1938 to London, she did so out of loyalty to the family. As a German non-Jewish émigré, Fichtl was interned in a camp on the Isle of Man at the outbreak of war in 1939 and remained there for nine months [see Psychology Today article “The Imported Brain,” by Christopher Badcock, Ph.D.] Still, she stayed with the Freud's through the death of Sigmund, Martha and finally Anna in 1982. She then returned to Salzburg, the place of her birth, and according to an article entitled “Freud’s Nanny and Other Nannies,” by Mariza Correa, “ended her life in an Austrian asylum.” Letters of Martha Freud infrequently come on the market.
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