“… The Jews must go to the tzaddikim”
The year 1933 marked a major political caesura and cultural break in Germany. Hitler was elected chancellor of the Reich and the incipient harassment of Jewish citizens foreshadowed the future terror and extermination. In 1933, Neumann began his analysis with Jung, which he undertook not to deal with personal problems, but rather to exchange and debate ideas on archetypal psychic and spiritual processes in a world in which life had become increasingly threatening for Jews. Jung’s model of the tension between opposites in the psyche, as the basis of the “Principium Individuationis,” may have softened some of the young Neumann’s intellectual relentlessness. He described Jung as a “tzaddik,” a title given in Jewish to persons possessing extraordinary spiritual radiance. There was also considerable discord between the two men, due to Jung’s one-sided publications on the Germanic and Jewish psyche, which were interspersed with anti-Semitic stereotypes. Worth noting in this respect is the debate between the young student James Kirsch and Erich Neumann in the Zionist weekly Jüdische Rundschau.