Home Therapeutic relationship Anni Bergman, therapist who listened to children, dies at 102

Anni Bergman, therapist who listened to children, dies at 102



Anna Emilie Rink was born on January 10, 1919 in Vienna. His father, Ernst, owned a factory. Her mother, Marta (Haas) Rink, a housewife, died of the flu when Anni was 10; two sisters also died of the disease. Her father died when she was 17. The family was well off, and Anni was cared for by a house team which included a driver, cook and nanny.

She left Vienna in 1939, traveling by ship from Italy to Los Angeles.

“When she was recounting her escape from the Nazis,” her son Tobi said, “people were saying how horrible and scary it must be to be ripped from home and thrown like a young woman all alone into an unknown world. always told people that on the contrary, she was leaving a protected and repressive world and embarking on a great adventure – she was going to America!

In Los Angeles, Anni found work as an au pair and assistant to Christine Olden, a psychoanalyst from Austria, like Anni, and attended the University of California, where she obtained a Bachelor of Music degree. (She would later earn a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education.) Among the group of European expats who made up Dr. Olden’s circle was Peter Bergman, an activist, publisher, and writer of Polish origin who had worked to help people to escape. the Nazis. Anni and Peter fell in love and married shortly after moving to New York City in 1943.

Anni worked as a music teacher at a progressive school in the East Village and co-wrote a children’s manual on the recorder. Peter opened a publishing house, the Polyglot Press, in a four-story brick townhouse in Chelsea. When he bought the building, the family moved in.

Dr. Bergman’s office was on the top floor, and she decorated it with zest and flair, with flower-patterned wallpaper, brightly colored textiles, and shelves overflowing with books and other collections.

With its riot of colors and objects, being in his office “was like stepping into a magical world,” said Sebastian Zimmerman, psychiatrist and photographer who included Dr. Bergman in “Fifty Shrinks,” his 2014 book of portraits. showing therapists in, as he said, their natural habitats. Dr Bergman explained that she designed her office to be “an isolated world where children have complete freedom to express themselves and explore”.