Anni Bergman, a therapist who listens to children, dies at the age of 102

Anni Bergman, a therapist who listens to children, dies at the age of 102


Anna Emilie Rink was born on January 10, 1919 in Vienna. Her father Ernst owned a factory. Her mother Marta (Haas) Rink, a housewife, died of breast cancer when Anni was 10 years old; two sisters also died of the disease. Her father died when she was 17. The family was doing well and Anni was looked after by a housekeeper, which included a chauffeur, a cook and a nanny.

In 1939 she left Vienna and traveled by ship from Italy to Los Angeles.

“When she talked about her escape from the Nazis,” said her son Tobi, “people had said how terrible and frightening it must have been to be torn from home and thrown all alone into an unknown world as a young woman. She has always told people that on the contrary, she is leaving a sheltered and repressive world behind and embarking on a great adventure. She wanted to go to America! “

In Los Angeles, Anni found work as an au pair and assistant to Christine Olden, a psychoanalyst who, like Anni, came from Austria and graduated from the University of California with a bachelor’s degree in music. (She later earned a masters degree from Bank Street College of Education.) Among the European expatriates Dr. Forming Olden’s circle was Peter Bergman, a Polish-born activist, publisher, and writer who had helped people escape the Nazis. Anni and Peter fell in love and married shortly after moving to New York in 1943.

Anni worked as a music teacher at a progressive school in the East Village and wrote a children’s primer on playing the recorder. Peter opened a publishing company, 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 panache and flair, with floral wallpaper, brightly colored textiles, and shelves full of books and other collections.

In her office, with its abundance of colors and objects, it was “like stepping into a magical world,” said Sebastian Zimmerman, a psychiatrist and photographer who worked with Dr. as he put it, their natural habitats. Dr. Bergman stated that she designed her office to be “a secluded world where children have full freedom to express themselves and explore”.



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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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