“Our paths will cross again!”
A key experience for the young Neumann was meeting Julie Blumenfeld, his later wife, who also came from a bourgeois Jewish family. Both were still grammar school students when they met. In contrast to Erich, Julie was not intellectually active, but primarily politically and socially engaged, not least thanks to her membership in “Blau-Weiss,” a Jewish hiking association.
In the aftermath of World War I, when Germany, yet above all Berlin, faced an influx of Eastern Jewish refugees, Julie worked as a voluntary social worker in a home for Eastern Jewish children. As in Erich’s family, Zionism also sparked great controversy among the Blumenfelds. After finishing their education—Erich as a philosopher and physician, Julie as an infant nurse and chirologist—the couple left their native Germany in 1933. They had meanwhile married and had a young son. Their next way station was Zurich, where they both trained as analysts with C.G. Jung.