chapter  Chapter 7
13 Pages

“… A general and identical revolution of minds” 1

The pogroms of November 1938 and the Jung–Neumann correspondence
WithAngelica Löwe

Chapter 7 describes the crisis into which Neumann fell when the extermination of the Jews in Germany no longer permitted him to adopt an interpretative distance to history. This crisis, which can be illustrated by four letters from the beginning of the November 1938 pogroms to the end of the following year, reveals the limits of the relationship between Neumann and Jung. The first letter documents how much Neumann feels abandoned by Jung as his spiritual father. In his impotent rage, Neumann falls into the trap of indicting his own people.

In his reply, Jung decides to make a momentous self-correction: He retracts the hitherto axiomatically assumed difference between Jewish or Christian-Western collective unconscious in favour of claiming an “identical revolution of spirits.” This shatters Neumann’s endeavour to forge a specifically Jewish identity for himself. One year later he reports a long dream, which needs to be interpreted as Neumann working through his complex relationship with Jung as well as his personal crisis. Jung’s answer suggests that their spiritual bond had been severed for the time being.