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for Books and Writers
by Bamber Gascoigne

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."
(Avoimin silmin: ajatuksia ja artikkeleita 1990-luvulta by Anne Fried, Kirjapaja, 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, studying 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 ("thin, almost skin and bone"), 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. After the war, Fried read Seghers' dissertation  Jude und Judentum im Werke Rembrandts (1924); the writer Eva Lippold, a concentration camp survivor, borrowed it to her.

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 school.

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, published by WSOY, 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.

"Kalligrafia sellaisena kuin Masoudi sitä opettaa ja Tournier sen ymmärtää on viisautta täyudellistä tietämistä. Se vaatii aulista mieltä ja henkistä voimaa sekä fyysistä harjoittelua, jonka avvulla käsi oppii vakaaksi ja pystyy kirjoittamaan viestiä välittävät merkit. Siinainvuoren ja Taaborinvuoren ilmestykset saavat ilmauksensa kalligrafiassa."
('Saatesanat' by Anne Fried, in Taaborinvuori ja Siinainvuori by Michel Tournier, suomentanut Annikki Suni, Taide, 1990

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 occasionally 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 at 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 Finnish, 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. 

Fried's 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, both published by Otava, 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: Kertomuksen varjon ilmeneminen Anne Friedin Elämän väreissä ja Lisälehdissä sekä Pirkko Saision Pienimmässä yhteisessä jaettavassa ja Eva Weinin Kulkueessa by Virpi Stenlund (pro gradu, 2000)

Selected works:

  • Bilder von Théodore Fried, Individualität: Zweimonatsschift für Philosophie et Kunst, 1927 [by Anny Politzer]
  • Report of Four Years of Work at the Guidance Clinic for Retarded Children, 1955 (American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 1955 Jul; 60)
  • A Work Camp Program for Potential Delinquents, 1959 (The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 1959 vol. 322 no. 1)
  • Marko Tapio, 1975 (engl. käsikirjoituksesta suom. Raija Mattila)
  • Thank You for These Illusions: Poems by Finnish Women Writers, 1981 (edited and translated by Anne Fried)
  • Literatur und Politik in Finnland: Wechselwirkung zwischen Nachkriegsliteratur und Politik, 1982
  • Myytti ja usko Michel Tournierin tuotannossa, 1984 (engl. käsikirjoituksesta suom. Annikki Suni; original title: Michel Tournier: Myth and Faith in Literature)
  • Elämän värit, 1987 (engl. käsikirjoituksesta suom. Annikki Suni)
    - Farben des Lebens (Leipzig: Kiepenheuer, 1991)
  • Lempeän kuoleman tyyssija: raportti saattohoidosta, 1988 (saks. käsikirjoituksesta suom. Oili Suominen; original title: Wo man in Frieden sterben kann)
  • Kirjailijan kutsu: 14 esseetä kansainvälisestä kirjallisuudesta, 1989
  • Pieniä sanoja sinulle elämästä, 1991 (edited by Anne Fried; translated into Finnish by Oili Suominen)
  • Lisälehtiä, 1992 (saksan- ja englanninkielisestä käsikirjoituksesta suom. Oili Suominen)
  • Kaipauksen hiljaiset äänet, 1994 (englannin- ja saksankielisestä käsikirjoituksesta suomentaneet Markku Mannila, Kersti Juva ja Kirsti Aalto)
  • Hiljaisuus, 1995 (saksankielisestä käsikirjoituksesta suom. Maija Pellikka; original illustrations from Little Meditations on Silence)
  • Elämän värit; Lisälehtiä, 1997
  • Avoimin silmin: ajatuksia ja artikkeleita 1990-luvulta, 1997 (edited by Maija Nyman)
  • Senioriteetti voimavarana, 1998 (with others, edited by Jarmo Heinonen)
  • Sanat kuin kosketus: Anne Friedin ajatuksia, 1999 (edited by Harri Markkula)

Essays, articles, reviews, forewords and afterwords:

  • Joosef-saarna: mietteitä Marko Tapion viimeisestä käsikirjoituksesta, Kirjallisuudentutkijain seuran vuosikirja = Annuaire des historiens de la littérature. 30, edited by Pertti Lassila, 1977
  • 'Begegnung und erinnerung', Sinn und Form 3/1981
  • Review: Kaukana Maailmasta: Historiaa ja muistoja Petsamosta by Erno Paasilinna, World Literature Today, Vol. 55, No. 3, Summer, 1981
  • Adamin ylösnousemus / Yoram Kaniuk, 1982 (original title: Adam resurrected; afterword by A.F.) 
  • Vieras, ystävä / Christoph Hein, 1985 (orginal title: Der fremde Freund; foreword by A.F.)
  • Rakastaja / Marguerite Duras, 1985 (original title: L'amant; foreword by A.F.)
  • Review: Michel Tournier by William Cloonan, World Literature Today, Vol. 60, No. 2, Spring 1986
  • Tien loppu / Christoph Hein, 1987 (original title: Horns Ende; epilogue by A.F.)
  • Tuska / Marguerite Duras, 1987 (original title: La douleur; foreword by A.F.)
  • Saatesanat: taide ja omaelämäkerta / Taaborinvuori ja Siinainvuori by Michel Tournier, 1990 (foreword by A.F.)
  • 'Epäpoliittisia reflektioita poliittisista kysymyksistä', Talouselämä 16/1990
  • 'Sota ei jätä ketään rauhaan', Helsingin Sanomien Kuukausiliite 5/1991
  • 'Kolminaisuuden mysteerit', Ruumiin kulttuuri 2/1991
  • 'Hölderlin Phantasie', Gingo Baum, 1991
  • 'Euroopan kulttuuriyhteisö', Tiedepolitiikka-lehti 2/1992
  • 'An Interpretation of Style', Nordisk Arkitekturforskning, 4/1993
  • 'Fiktion todellisuus ja uskon konkreetisuus', Kuka&Miksi: Dorothy L. Sayers 100 vuotta, 1993 (toim. Leena Lehtolainen)
  • 'The European Community of Culture', Leif 4/1993
  • 'Masson ja totuus'. Suomen Kuvalehti 44/1994
  • 'Selbstfindung, Gedanke zu Paul Celans Gespräch im Gebirg', Entschluss 3/1994
  • 'Köyhyyde ulottuvuudet', Nuori Voima 4/1995
  • 'Vapautuksen teologi', Suomen Kuvalehti 21/1995
  • 'Arktisen hysterian prologi', Loogillista ihmettelyä: Kirjoituksia Marko Tapiosta, 1995 (toim. Miisa Jääskeläinen)
  • 'Wienin vainotut ja hyväntekijät', Helsingin Sanomien Kuukausiliite 8/1996
  • 'Elämän kuvastimis', Suomen Kuvalehti 17/1996
  • 'Syvälle Saarikoskeen', Suomen Kuvalehti 42/1996
  • 'Sielun haavoituvuus', Kirjojen Suomi, 1966 (toim. Juhani Salokannel)
  • 'XII - Seman - Jeesus kuolee ristillä', Ristin tie, 1997 (toim. Tapio Saraneva)
  • 'Ihminen ja kaupunki', Vanhuus kaupungissa, 1977 (toim. Antti Karisto)
  • 'Hetkipalvelukset ja hetkipalveluskirjat', Hiljaisuuden etsijöitä, 1998 (toim. Tertti Lappalainen)

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