chapter  5
12 Pages

Gross v. Gross

ByGERHARD M. DIENES

Otto Gross, born 1877, was the only child of Hans Gross, coroner, criminal law reformer and later world-famous criminologist in Graz, and his wife, Adele Gross, neÂe Raymann (Dienes 2005: 12).

According to Else JaffeÂ, both parents spoiled their son, whom they treated like a little prince and regarded as a kind of child prodigy. In that family realm, with its humid incestuous atmosphere, law and order belonged to daily life (Nitzschke 2000: 112f.). According to Otto Gross himself, his father, who had received his formal education from the monks of the Benedictine Order in the strict Roman Catholic atmosphere of a `thousand year old school discipline', dominated family life (Dienes 2003: 16). The mother of Otto Gross did not seem to exist. Emotions were hidden behind a facËade of restraint and respectability. The traditional patriarchal order was strictly observed without the participants ever realising to what extent that outward regime would internalise itself as `chaos' inside the family members. Apparent freedom turned out to be the opposite. Proximity almost led to suffocation. Instead of becoming a home, the family was a place of torture (Nitzschke 2000: 112).