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Analyst's ashes head home after 74 years

Published by in English ·

He was an esteemed colleague of the world's most famous psychologist.
So quite why Austrian-born Alfred Adler's ashes have been left forgotten in Warriston Crematorium for the past 74 years is a situation even Sigmund Freud would find difficult to explain.

The casket was found by John Clifford, Honorary Consul of Austria for Scotland, after a painstaking search of records.

Mr Clifford knew the renowned psychologist, whose most famous concept is the inferiority complex, had died suddenly during a visit to Aberdeen in 1937, however, the whereabouts of his ashes were unknown.

After a breakthrough searching records, Mr Clifford was shocked to discover that the ashes had never left Scotland.

The discovery has prompted a civic reception in the City Chambers, where Adler's ashes will be ceremoniously handed back to his native country.

The casket will be returned to Vienna and re-interred in a grave of honour in the city's Central Cemetery.

Mr Clifford said: "Edinburgh was the only place in Scotland where he could be cremated at the time.

"His family came over for his funeral but for some reasons his ashes were left here.

"I searched local records in Aberdeen and then in Edinburgh at Seafield Crematorium, where Alfred Adler was listed at Warriston.

"I went there and someone took me to where they were.

"In a sense he wasn't lost because he was where he had always been, it's just that no-one knew he was there."

He added: "He is a very important figure in history.

"He's on a par with Sigmund Freud."

Adler was born in Vienna in 1870 and in 1911 co-founded the psychoanalytic movement as a core member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, together with Freud.

That same year, Adler broke with Freud after Freud declared his ideas as too contrary, and he went on to found the Society for Free Psychoanalysis, which in 1913 was renamed the Society for Individual Psychology.

In 1930 he was made an honorary citizen of the City of Vienna and he moved to the United States two years later.

He was invited by the University of Aberdeen to give a series of lectures in 1937, but died suddenly while he was there and was subsequently cremated in Edinburgh at his family's request.

Representatives of the mayor's office will visit Edinburgh for the handing-over ceremony on April 19.

The Austrian Society for Individual Psychology, Lord Provost George Grubb and the Honorary Consul of Austria for Scotland will host a talk and discussion on Adler's life and work, along with two leading psychoanalysts from Vienna and Dr John Shemilt, psychoanalyst of the Scottish Institute of Human Relations and of the British Psychoanalytical Society.




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