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||Anne Fried (1903-1998)|
Austrian-born writer, who immigrated to the United States on the outbreak of World War II. After a long career in education and social work, Anne Fried moved to Finland, where she established herself as a novelist, essayist, and critic.
"Ei pidä pelätä eikä yrittää karkottaa kuoleman ajatusta, vaan on omaksuttava sellainen elämänasenne, jonka myötä loppu on sekä henkisesti että sielullisesti niin rauhallinen kuin suinkin mahdollista." (Anne Fried in Avoimin silmin, 1997)
Anne Fried was born in Vienna into a middle-class Jewish family. Her father, Robert Politzer, was a goldsmith. Ida Bresnitz, Fried's mother, had lost her parents at an early age in the 1881 fire in Ringtheater during the performance of Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann. Ida grew up in the family of Rosa and Wilhelm Freyberg, who were her father's Freemason friends. As an active person, Ida founded a successful charity organization and arranged with her companions summer vacations for Jewish children. Ida's plans to continue her studies at a university or at a teacher's school did not come true, because the family considered it unnecessary for a woman.
Among the family friends were the painter Isidor Kaufmann, Alfred Robert Friedrich Freiherr von Winterstein, Sigmund Freud's pupil, Hugo Breitner, an influential Social-Democratic politician, and the booksellers Hugo Heller and Paul Knepler. At the Heller bookstore Rabindranath Tagore signed his book to Fried. Gustav Klimt's paintings influenced her deeply, and she loved the plays of Arthur Schnitzler. While spending holiday in Reichenau, Fried read Arnold Zweig's Novellen um Claudia (1912). A friend of hers named Lucy introduced her to the thought of Maria Montessori. Through the medical student Ernst Papanek, Fried became involved in voluntary welfare work.
Fried grew up in a luxuriously furnished house situated opposite the Theater and der Wien. Fascinated by the books of Karl May,
she played Winnetou and Winona with her sister Lene in its salon and
dining room. In 1922 Fried entered the University of Heidelberg,
literature. She also studied in Jena and at the University of Tübingen,
receiving her Ph.D. in 1926. Her dissertation dealt with German
mystics; Fried had read the works of Jakob Böhme, Angelus Silesius,
Heinrich Seuse while still at school. At Heidelberg she got engaged to
a student of German literature, named Edgar, who called himself
Mephistopheles and absorbed the habit of flagellation. Edgar believed
in Rosicrucianism, of which she had not heard before. He died in a
mental hospital after the war.
During her visit in Paris in 1927, she met Theodore Fried (1902-1980), a Hungarian artist. They married in November. Theodore was also of Jewish origin. Later Fried described the years between the wars as very naïve: "literature was more real than past revolutions and wars". Fried modelled him; in 'The Carousel' from 1928 he painted her as a carousel horse with a curious smile. Their son, Risto Fried (1930-2004), born in Paris, moved in 1968 to Finland, where he worked a psychiatrist. His major publications include Freud on the Acropiolis – a Detective Story (2003).
Fried wrote reviews to several magazines and found regular work at the magazine Individualität, which appeared in Basel, and from Forum in Prague. In the 1930s Fried helped refugees, who escaped the Nazis. Her neighbour was the refugee writer Anna Seghers – Fried attended a meeting where Seghers spoke but she never had a close acquaintance with her. Seghers's life has paralles with Fried's own: similar social background, studies at university (Heidelberg), interest in literature and art, and an exile – a story common to a number of European intellectuals at that time.
Hiljaisuus on aine jossa elämme.
To escape from the Nazi threat, Fried moved in 1938 with her
son to the United States; it was the year Austria was annexed by Germany. Theodore was not granted visa and he came to
New York a few years later. The marriage broke up and in 1947
Theodore married Maria Englehardt, with whom he established an art
Fried worked as a teacher at Newark Junior
College, and then she was employed as Dr. Philip Levine's laboratory
assistant at Newark Beth Hospital. For a short time Fried worked at a
bookstore, she also took odd jobs as a secretary and proofreader at the
Hoffmann LaRoche pharmaceuticals company, until she was offered a post
as a teacher of retarded children at Amity Hall.
Between 1945 and 1948 she studied sosiology at the Columbia University, receiving her M.A. in 1948. In the 1950s she became director of Fuld Neighbourhood House in East Harlem.
Before moving to Finland in 1969, Fried worked at The New York City Mission Society and as a director of James Weldon Johnson Community Center. Fried's career in the United States lasted 31 years. Fried visited Helsinki for the first time in 1961 with her sister. In the new home country she began another career. Fried studied Finnish two years at the Columbia University, and then joined his son Christopher (Risto), who had already settled in Finland with his family.
During her American years Fried had written poems and essays, among others about Ellery Queen's novels – she was a friend of Hilda Wiesenthal, who was married to Fred Dannay, the other writer behind the pseudonym. At the University of Helsinki, Fried studied literature in 1971-1973. Her teacher, Professor Kai Laitinen, realized that he was not only teacher at the course but also a pupil at her humanistic school of life. In 1975 Fried published a study about the writer Marko Tapio, whose book, Terassi (1962), she had first read in New York. She found the novel from a bookshop by accident.
Since the appearance of Marko Tapio, Fried published eleven books. Her literary studies, including Literatur und Politik in Finnland (1982), Myytti ja usko Michel Tournierin tuotannossa
(1984), autobiographical pieces in which a major theme is the important books in her life, and essays are considered an unique
contribution to Finnish literary culture.
Fried met Michel Tournier in
Stockholm – he was on a lecture tour in Sweden – and continued
with him to Uppsala. It turned out, as Fried tells in Lisälehtiä (1992), that they both loved Bach's music
and they had read Selma Lagerlöf's Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (1906-07,
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils) in their childhood. Later she
visited Tournier's house, a former presbytery in Choisel, where he
lived a reclusive life. Once he took her by the had and said, "You came
the right time, on the day my lily blooms."
Fried's views about aging and terminal care gained wide response and her interviews in radio and television deeply touched the audiences. "Death, the inevitability of the end, is already in us, from the very first moment of our existence," she wrote in Avoimin silmin.
In her essays, translated from English or from German into
Fried took a look at such promiment writers as Heinrich Böll, Günter
Grass, Marguerite Duras, Peter Handke, Paul Celan, and Jaan Kross, with
whom and his wife she befriended. The discussions they had lasted into
the night. Kross spoke most of the time and Fried listened.
style is clear, objective and dispassionate. The issues she dealt
with were often set against the
political, sociological, moral and historical powers that shaped the
20th-century. She also offered insights to her own experiences.
However, in the autobiographical works, Elämän värit and Lisälehdet,
she don't write of the psychological trauma of the Holocaust or what
happened to the family house on Papagenostrasse 4. In a note in Elämän värit, Fried tells that her sister Lene moved to the United States soon after their parents
death in 1934.
Fried received in 1995 The Cultural Award of the Church (Kirkon kulttuuripalkinto). She was made in 1997 honorary doctor at the Theological Faculty of the University of Helsinki. Anne Fried died in Helsinki on December 11, 1998, at the age of 95.
"The sources of creative life are dreams, time spent in nature and with friends, art hobbies, sports, and traveling," Fried said in Kaipauksen hiljaset äänet (1994). "Luovan elämän lähteitä ovat uni, luonnossa ja ystävien parissa vietetty aika, taideharrastukset, urheilu ja matkustaminen. Ja joillekin meistä tärkeintä kaikesta on täydellinen vetäytyminen hiljaisuuteen – meditaation – runous – yksinolo Jumalan kanssa."
For further reading: History and the Artist: The Life and Death of Theo Fried by Milton J. Ellenbogen (1967); Anne Fried ystävien silmin, edited by Maija Pellikka (1998); Elämän värit by Anne Fried (1987); 'Kirjailija Anne Fried' by Pekka Tarkka in Helsingin Sanomat (13.12.1998); Kertomuksen varjossa by Virpi Stenlund (pro gradu -tutkielma, Tampere 2000)
Essays, articles, forewords and afterwords: