Bertha Pappenheim: Life beyond a diagnosis


Have you ever felt the need to reinvent yourself? To break free from the constraints of expectations and redefine your own path? Join Yael and Schwab as they explore the legacy of Bertha Pappenheim, aka Sigmund Freud’s Anna O, a remarkable Jewish woman who defied societal norms and transcended the confines of her diagnosis.

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Schwab: Welcome to Jewish History Nerds, where we do exactly what it sounds like. Nerd out on awesome stories in Jewish history.

Yael: I’m Yael Steiner, and my childhood dream was to stay in school forever.

Schwab: I’m Jonathan Schwab, and I am in school forever.

Yael: Schwab, I am so excited for this week’s topic. I did peek, so I know what it is, but I also don’t know anything about this person, and my sense is that she’s pretty awesome.

Bertha Pappenheim, 1882 (22 years old). (Photo: Archive of Sanatorium Bellevue, Kreuzlingen, Germany via Wikipedia Commons)

Schwab: Yeah. Yes. It will shock you to hear, Yael, but for, I want to say the third time this season, I’m bringing you the story of an awesome Jewish woman who’s really incredible.

Yael: Guys, Schwab is an expert in awesome Jewish women.

Schwab: You know, I am really thankful for the fact that I have many awesome Jewish women in my life. So I am happy to think of that as an area of interest and expertise.

Yael: So who are we talking about?

Schwab: This Jewish woman, her name is Bertha Pappenheim. She was born in 1859, dies in 1936. 

Yael: I hadn’t heard of her, but based on the minimal reading that I did, just to know who she is and have a teensy bit of context for this conversation, she seems like someone I should know about.

Schwab: So she there is another name Anna O which I don’t some of our listeners might recognize, some might not, but Anna O is connected to someone named Sigmund Freud, who I’m guessing you have heard of.

Yael: So of the three names you just said, Sigmund Freud is the only one that I’ve heard of. But I get the sense that Anna O is an important character in the history of Sigmund Freud. And I probably don’t know about her because I got in a fight with my psychology professor the first week of the semester and decided to drop the class.

Schwab: Nice. So if you had made it past that first week of Intro to Psych, I think Anna O would have come up. When you said in the history, I assume that it’s not a deliberate reference, but it’s referenced in a book called Studies in Hysteria.

Yael: Uh oh.

Schwab: So Anna O is one of the patients profiled in that book. And Anna O is the pseudonym for this woman, Bertha Pappenheim.

Yael: And I’m assuming hysteria, studies of hysteria only included studies of women.

Schwab: Yeah, are you familiar with hysteria?

Yael: What do you mean, am I familiar with it? Doesn’t that happen to every woman?

Schwab: Yeah, so hysteria, right, is yes, a diagnosis of women that actually is related, I think, to the Greek word for uterus. And it’s sort of just this catch-all term for when, I don’t know, you have a female patient who’s acting in a way that’s strange.

Yael: Women be crazy.

Schwab: Yeah, that’s pretty much, a thousand years of treating women in a nutshell. But yeah, Bertha Pappenheim is, I think, most famous for being this person, Anna O. But what’s incredibly interesting about her is that’s really not at all the most important thing about her entire life.

Yael: Was she a prominent person outside of the fact that she was a patient of Freud’s?

Schwab: She was extremely prominent. She actually, she wasn’t even a patient of Freud. This is a great example of the thing that she’s known for isn’t actually even what happened. But yes, she was very prominent in her time recognized for that. I think the best equivalent I can think of, I think we’ve spoken about this on a different episode, but I get real Hamilton vibes from this entire story in that, yeah.

Yael: Wow.

Schwab: Not in the particulars of the things she does but in sort of how her story is told. And Hamilton the, you know, the musical which I know you’re familiar with. Before that musical came out like Alexander Hamilton was most famously known for being shot by the vice president, and that sort of overshadowed all these other things that he did that were lost to history.

Yael: And let’s be real, if there hadn’t been an amazing Got Milk commercial about that, I’m not sure that I even would have known that he got shot by the vice president.

Schwab: Right, yeah. Our Gen Z listeners, who we reference all the time, will have no idea what we’re talking about with Got Milk commercials. But millennials will love that reference.

Yael: So what you’re saying is the thing that she’s most famous for is not the most interesting thing about her.

Schwab: Not even remotely. And the most interesting things about her have been sort of lost. If people know about her, the one sentence that they know is, oh, she’s, you know, Anna O, who’s profiled in this book. But yeah, so she did lots of stuff that I want to get into.

Yael: And I think she lived at what I think to be one of the most interesting times in history, especially for women. I mean, 1859 to 1936, think about how different the world is on the verge of the United States Civil War, 1859. And then 1936, Hitler’s already come to power. You have the Berlin Olympics, the Nuremberg laws have already been passed, the Great Depression is on its last legs. And in my mind, those two eras of history are so far from each other. The 30s feel very modern to me, and the 1850s, 1860s feel much more ancient. And so much technological change happens during that time that she bridges two really significant eras.

Schwab: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and it’s a time of just unbelievable social upheaval and disruption and the place of women undergoing a radical transformation in a very short amount of time. During her life, exactly as you’re saying, saw the world completely change in so many different ways.

Yael: Was she from Vienna?

Schwab: Yeah, she’s from Vienna and lives much of her life in Austria and then in Germany. And so many of these disruptions and upheavals that happen around her in the entire world deeply affect her life. And she cares deeply about and gets involved in.

Yael: What kind of family did she grow up in?

Schwab: So a very wealthy family, very wealthy, very high society, very well to do, pretty religious. So I guess it makes most sense to tell the story chronologically in the order of her life. So like I said, then, one of the most famous things about her is her struggle with mental illness and her treatment for it. She starts at a young age in her teenage-ish years and seems like it reaches a crisis point around 1880 when she’s 21 years old.

Yael: And from what I know, the very little I know about hysteria as a “mental illness” or diagnosis is that it oftentimes wasn’t mental illness and it wasn’t actually pathological or disordered in any way, it was just a label that was tacked on to difficult women or women who had ideas that maybe deviated from the mainstream.

Schwab: Yeah, definitely, I think that’s certainly part of it and part of the background and this application of the label of hysteria to women who are just acting in some way abnormally. In Bertha’s case, she does have a lot of symptoms, some of them extremely odd. She starts with these symptoms, and it was precipitated by her father falling ill, and her caring very deeply for her father and sort of just round the clock being with her father. She gets very sleep deprived, she gets very disregulated.

My wife is a psychiatrist. She would say, and then Bertha decompensated, which is sort of declined in her. And some of the symptoms that she started presenting with were very strange, including she lost the ability to speak in German, which was one of her native languages, but fully understood and could speak in other languages that she did not really speak as well. But that would come and go.

Sometimes she would be able to speak in German, sometimes she would not. She would get episodes of partial paralysis in parts of her body. She had a lot of pain that was sort of just all over. Sometimes it would focus in different areas. She would see things. They weren’t really hallucinations, but she would exaggerate things that she was seeing or the things that she would see would be very exaggerated. And she also had, it’s hard to figure out exactly what is, but some type of eating disorder where she refused to eat, refused to drink water for a time, and sort of had to be forced to nourish herself as her health continued to decline.

And as her family, again, which was fairly wealthy and well-connected, tried to find treatment, they eventually connected with not Freud, actually, the person who treated her was Josef Breuer, who’s not as famous as Freud. And he has this at the time revolutionary idea that perhaps that she just, you know, really needs to talk about some of these things and initiates, this is a new thing at the time, initiates what we would now identify as therapy and talk therapy.

Yael: Right, talk therapy.

Schwab: And he calls it the talking cure. And he says, rather than trying to do all sorts of drugs or surgery or medical interventions, let’s really talk this out. He also, it’s not exactly how therapy would work now. He had all sorts of ideas of, here’s where this is really originating from, and we have to really engage with these things. And he encourages her to recall memories, some of which maybe she’s really making up, but he takes extensive notes on this case and shares them with Freud and later that gets published as like look how valuable this approach is in combating this mysterious illness that we call hysteria.

Yael: So she was treated and she did find a way to regulate herself after the fact.

Schwab: Here’s one of the crazy twists. No. Breuer claims her as this patient she’s written about in this book. But after he concludes, after he says, we have concluded our treatment, we figured out the root of all of her problems, and now she is really fixed. From medical records, we know this is what happened. Her condition deteriorated more, and she sought more other help, including that she gets hospitalized later. And then does recover, but well after Breuer has ceased his treatment of her.

Yael: And was it contemporaneously known that she was Anna O, or was this something that people learned later?

Schwab: So she, the book gets published, she’s treated by Breuer from 1880 to 1882 about, she’s in her 20s. The book gets published in 1895 with the name Anna O. And it seems like pretty immediately as it’s published, her family was fairly wealthy and famous.

Yael: It was very thinly veiled.

Schwab: We know from the details who you’re talking about.

Yael: So how much longer is it before she’s able to do all of these things that you mentioned earlier, which I don’t even know what they are yet…

Schwab: So by the 1890s, which is about 10 years after the initial onset, she has really recovered. And she and her mother moved from Vienna to Frankfurt. She starts traveling all over the world. And it seems like she really is, starts to become very prolific in a number of different domains. Again, she had the means to travel all over the place. So she would write about interesting places that she traveled, interesting people that she met. She was very well educated and spoke and read and wrote in a number of languages.

Yael: You read my mind. I was just about to ask you if she had higher education.

Schwab: Yeah, she was somewhat limited in how high of an education she could get. And she was very aware of that and talks about her feelings of resentment for her brother, who had more opportunities than she did on account of his gender. But she does have access to a lot of education. So she is able to read and write in a whole bunch of languages. And she starts actually translating a lot of things into German, including Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women.

Yael: Wow. It’s interesting because I was thinking about Mary Wellstonecraft briefly while you described hysteria. I was thinking about her and Charlotte Perkins Gilman who wrote The Yellow Wallpaper which is a well-known feminist text about undiagnosed mental illness. So that’s so fascinating. So she was clearly tapped in to the women’s rights movement all over the world if she was reading Vindication of the Rights of Women.

Schwab: Yes. And she, like many people at the time, also held somewhat complicated, like, is she a feminist role model today? Some of the things that she believed or wrote about would be hard to square with that. She was against the suffrage movement. She did not think that women should have the right to vote, despite, you know, all of the other things that she felt and held.

Yael: That is so fascinating. But it doesn’t compute for me that someone like her would think that there’s a distinction in voting rights between men and women.

Schwab: She also, it seemed like, sort of didn’t think that women should be paid for certain types of work, which we’ll get to in a minute. I’ll explain.

Yael: Fascinating. Okay, so she starts translating stuff.

Schwab: Yeah. So she also translates a number of important Jewish work. She translates a text called Tz’enah Ur’enah, which is this Yiddish work that’s often referred to as the women’s Bible. There’s a different thing to learn for every Torah portion of the week. She translates that from Yiddish into German. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Glikl of Hameln. She translates Glikl’s memoirs from the version of Yiddish that it was in into German. She translates a collection of Yiddish stories. She’s actively translating a bunch of secular academic literature and also Jewish literature. And you have to be fairly, you know, well versed to do translating.

Yael: And it also seems like she was taking it upon herself to be well-read and to be immersed in whatever was flourishing at the moment. Is she at all similar to Emma Goldman?

Schwab: Yeah, I kept thinking about Emma Goldman in this. And chronologically, they’re around the same time. I think Emma’s slightly younger. But Emma Goldman also was against women having the right to vote, although if you remember from our episode, although that was because she didn’t think anybody should vote because she doesn’t believe in countries. And there are some similarities there. And some of her political beliefs are things that you can sort of understand in the context of the world in which she was living, how Bertha Pappenheim was pretty ardently against the cause of Zionism. But that can be explained very clearly by the context in which she was living and the causes that she saw as most important.

Yael: Fascinating. So does she make a name for herself with all of these translations and then becomes a public intellectual?

Schwab: Oh, yeah, also, I should have said this. When she first starts writing some stuff, which is because you said make a name for herself, she actually starts out writing them under a different name, under the name of Paul Berthold, which is this play on her own name, like P Berthold instead of Bertha P.

Yael: It’s very Bronte sisters of her.

Schwab: But she then later publishes under her own name and is known, but that’s, her written works, we’re gonna go in an order, aren’t even the things that she’s most famous for.

Yael: Okay, so now you have to tell me, you have to tell me where we’re going.

Schwab: So yeah, I keep teasing, there’s something else that she does. She gets very involved in volunteer and advocacy work. She starts out volunteering at an orphanage near Frankfurt. Like I said, this is a time of a ton of disruption, upheavals. There are a lot of pogroms in the early 1900s. A lot of this gets overshadowed by all of the stuff that comes later, and especially the Holocaust.

100,000 Jews were displaced by this pogrom. That just seems like it pales in comparison to what comes later. But 100,000 people leaving their homes and going to another country is a very large number of people. And one of the things that happens is there’s orphanages all over Europe for kids who have to leave their families, kids whose parents left them seeking safety, kids whose parents are killed. So there’s a ton of these orphans, and Bertha takes a special interest in them and has a lot of ideas about how these orphanages should be run. And up to the time, they were basically just ways to raise these young kids and get them out as quickly as possible.

Yael: Keep a roof over their heads.

Schwab: Keep a roof over their heads, especially in the case of young women, until they are old enough to be married off. And Bertha disagrees with that approach. She sees them as people. And it is sort of radical, but demands that they be educated, insists on cultural enrichment for them, takes them out to plays or shows, insists on having a communal Shabbat dinner every week with these orphans.

Yael: This is fascinating to me, and I don’t know if she was possibly inspired by this movement or this movement takes shape in the United States, maybe from something that was rooted in Europe. But this sounds to me almost exactly like the Settlement House movement on the Lower East Side in the early 1900s, where you had people like Jane Addams who were basically social workers who started these homes for, mostly for children who needed cultural enrichment and education and social services and completely changed the trajectory of the lives of young poor children in New York City at the turn of the century. So she sounds to me like the Viennese Jane Addams.

Schwab: Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right. And you mentioned social worker, one of the ways that people see her is one of the originators of the idea of social work, what she was doing was social work before that was a field at all in any way.

Yael: Right, and that’s what was happening with the settlement houses also, so that’s really interesting that these things were happening contemporaneously.

Schwab: Mmhm. Very possible that one was inspired by or influenced by the other. And she has a vision for that as a not just individually her doing it, but as a movement, she starts a couple of different organizations, one of which is promoting the welfare of women that she helps organize in 1902. By 1922, it has 30,000 members. And also the comparison to Sarah Schenirer also, I think is very apt, a very powerful person with a clear vision with the idea promoting specifically the welfare and education of women.

Yael: And did she incorporate Judaism into any of this, or was this open to general population?

Schwab: It seems like a lot of it is Jewish. It’s not nearly as focused on the religious instruction as Sarah Schenirer is. But like I said, in the orphanage, the same way that Bertha has the weekly outing on Tuesday night, we’re going to hear the philharmonic. On Friday night, we’re gonna sit and eat Shabbat dinner together.

Yael: And was she bankrolling this?

Schwab: It seems like she’s bankrolling it, she’s getting, you know, fundraising for it, just everything. She wasn’t independently wealthy enough to be fully funding everything on her own, but she’s fairly good at getting attention, getting help. One of the ways to keep costs down is that she, and I don’t think that this was like a cost cutting thing. I think she believed this thing. She did not believe that women should be paid for this work. She imagined what we would now call social work, but she really felt like this is the work of women in the world and it’s not a job. There should be standards and people should do it a certain way, but this shouldn’t be seen as an occupation. This is what you’re here to do.

Yael: Wow. And that was particularly gendered for her? If men started doing some of the work in these places, she believed that the men should be paid and that the women shouldn’t?

Schwab: I think that she just thought that men shouldn’t be doing it, that this was a purpose of women. And specifically being a woman, again, one of the organizations that she starts is this women’s mutual aid society where it was women helping women, women who would get pregnant out of marriage, women who were in these chained marriages where their husbands had run off without giving them a religious divorce, women who were orphaned, just women in any sort of crisis, she said, the best people to help them are other women. We are best positioned to be able to assist them.

Yael: How did she feel about marriage on a personal level?

Schwab: She never got married and never had children. And it was not a philosophical objection to it. It seems like she really desperately wanted to have children. And it’s hard to really tell, but it seems like part of the reason might be, again, as it became fairly public that she had this episode of mental illness, now the story about her that I think made it very hard for her to get married.

Yael: I could definitely understand that, particularly at that time, though I can’t say that we’ve made as many strides as we should have even in our current time, but certainly…

Schwab: Mm-hmm, right. Yeah, there’s still plenty of stigma around mental illness. But yeah, definitely even more so than.

Yael: So that makes a lot of sense. I get it. I don’t think it’s justified, but I understand on a practical level that she probably was not sought out as an advantageous match. Fascinating.

Schwab: Yeah. I don’t think that this is relevant to the not getting married piece, but just to further paint you a picture of, what she looked like, she was very short. She was about 4’11” and very, very slight also. So she was really a very small woman, but as we’ll see, very fierce advocate.

Yael: It’s weird to me that you used the word fierce to describe her because the first thing I thought, the thing from Shakespeare, Though she be but little, she is fierce.

Schwab: Yes, very apt.

Yael: If she was living today, she would have that on a t-shirt. Or a mug.

Schwab: Mm-hmm. She was this, going back to her founding of the organization, she’s encouraged to start this organization as a women’s auxiliary of a different organization. And she responded something along the lines of, women are auxiliary to nothing.

Yael: Wow, Bertha!

Schwab: I’ll make an organization for women. But this is not, you know, the ladies auxiliary part of your thing. We’re just gonna do our own thing.

Yael: Right. So is this how she spent most of her adult life? Okay.

Schwab: Then she becomes famous for an even bigger issue. So she goes from caring for people individually in her orphanage to this wider circle of making this organization and advocating for all women. And then she becomes a particular advocate for a major issue at the time, which was human trafficking for prostitution, which, it seems like it was a major problem for Jewish women. It wasn’t limited just to Jews. This was also happening to non-Jews in Poland and Ukraine and Russia and Germany. And this is, again, a fairly large scale problem as it starts to get talked about in the 1910s and 20s. The term used for it is, I want to be very clear, this is a historical term that is problematic in a bunch of ways, but it’s referred to then as white slavery. Now we would call it human trafficking, but that is how people talked about it at the time. And there were a lot of Jewish women who were victims of it. There were also, unfortunately, very ashamedly for the Jewish people, Jewish perpetrators of this. Not exclusively Jewish, but definitely.

Yael: Yeah, there was a large Jewish crime syndicate that was doing this.

Schwab: Yeah. So definitely that is an element. And in addition to the misleading of young women, there also are women who at least at the beginning or not knowing what they were getting themselves into sort of willingly start out as a means of opportunity. There were very few jobs available for women, even fewer, because Bertha Papanheim doesn’t think that you should be paid to be a social worker. So this is maybe in an appealing path towards some sort of independence or some sort of financial means, if the rest of your family is gone, if they can’t support you, maybe this is a way to try to make your way in the world without realizing what you’re getting into.

Bertha becomes very outspoken on this issue, sees this right rightly as an issue of great importance and that’s one of the things that’s controversial about that is she is discouraged from making such a big deal about this. There are those who feel like this we don’t need to publicize this is going on, that might exacerbate the situation in some way, it’s more shameful, like we shouldn’t be discussing this thing that we know is happening, but let’s not talk about it.

So she does advocacy work. She’s talking about this. She convenes conferences about this at the first, she’s the first president of something called the Judischer Frauenbund, the League of Jewish Women and she runs it. And this was one of the causes of it, but not the only one. The First World Congress of Jewish Women in Vienna in 1923, there were five major topics of conversation and the problem of prostitution was up there on that list, along with the question of Zionism in Palestine. That is how high up this is.

Yael: How prominent is her anti-Zionism in her work?

Schwab: It’s not like the most important part of it. But I do then want to, while we’re talking about that, mention that she was opposed to sending people sending, especially young boys and girls to Palestine on the grounds of she was very concerned about the trafficking of young people and had witnessed firsthand through her work in the orphanage, what happens when unaccompanied minors are separated from their families when there isn’t real support networks, things like that. So I think that was the basis for a lot of her objections to saying, let’s start moving people to, at the time, Palestine.

Yael: It seems like at least at the top of the list, her concern is practical rather than ideological.

Schwab: Yes, yeah. And she, what’s amazing about her is it’s a mix of she writes and speaks about these issues, but she also herself goes to, there’s this story about her, she travels all over the place. She goes to Cairo and in Cairo, she goes to a brothel and confronts the person running this thing. And she confronts the head of his brothel and demands to speak to every one of the women in the house, have a conversation with them, and then speaks to all of these women and says, here are the other things you could be doing, here are the resources for if you want to get out of this, this is how I can help you. This is what you could be doing. These are opportunities for you to relocate, to find other types of work.

And apparently this is something she would do fairly frequently, is walk into these houses and talk to these frequently men who would run them and then speak to all of these women individually and talk them through all the things that they could be doing instead. Again, what we would now call social work.

Yael: Why don’t I know who she is? Why don’t we talk about her?

Schwab: I don’t know. I mean, I think because it’s, you know, this whole issue is one we don’t talk a lot about the problem of prostitution in the early turn of the century, Europe and South America.

Yael: I consider myself fairly well educated when it comes to Jewish history, though obviously I’d learn a lot of new things working on this podcast and talking with you, but in terms of large concepts, I think I’ve been exposed to a lot. I had never heard anything about this problem in the Jewish community, and particularly that a lot of it was organized by Jewish gangsters. And I mean, obviously, I know that no community is immune to everyday human vices. I certainly didn’t think that Jews were beyond reproach when it came to prostitution and crime. But I did not know that this was such a well organized, proliferated endeavor.

Schwab: It’s easy to be one of those things that we skip over, because one, it’s a shameful episode. And again, I don’t want to oversell that this was just a Jewish problem, but the Jews were not immune to this issue. So it’s shameful. And then also, like many things, I feel like things that happen in Europe to Jews in the 1920s and 30s, just get glossed over by the things that happened to Jews in the 1930s and 40s.

Yael: Right. And so many families who were impacted by these problems were completely demolished so their stories don’t even get told.

Schwab: Mm-hmm. Yeah. But as always seems to be the case, while we’re on the topic of the rise of Nazism, Bertha Pappenheim is dying in 1936. She has a malignant tumor and she’s really confined to her bed. She’s quite ill and she dies in May of 1936. In April of 1936, a couple of weeks before her death, in the orphanage that she is still running, not actively, but from her bed, she’s still the person running this orphanage.

One of the employees in the orphanage makes the accusation that one of the orphans, who was a young girl with an intellectual disability, made a disparaging comment about Hitler, which was illegal at the time. But based on this, the Gestapo initiates an investigation into the home and into Bertha. And even though she had been confined to her bed for weeks, again, this is, I think, three weeks before she ultimately dies. She insists on getting out of bed and appearing in person to testify about her home, about this young girl and this young girl’s background and does not seem scared at all to appear and give testimony in this investigation by the Gestapo.

I think that that’s an amazing story about a person who the most famous thing that people know about her is that she was this helpless hysterical young woman who was helped by Breuer and people think Freud, right? And that’s clearly not who she was. That is not the same person as the person who weeks before her own death gets out of bed and goes and brazenly testifies in this Gestapo court.

Yael: I mean, it almost should be irrelevant to her legacy. Not that we should excise parts of people’s pasts, and not that there is anything shameful about what she experienced, but it seems so beside the point of what she accomplished.

Schwab: And like opposite the point she, I think she would be so upset, she spent her whole life rehabilitating women, helping women. She would be like, that’s what people know about me? That this man claimed he treated me, didn’t even succeed, and then wrote a book about it.

Yael: Right. It’s, I mean, it goes to larger questions that we’ve talked about over the course of the season, where how is your legacy defined? Is legacy important? Is legacy the reason that we study history? I mean, we can’t choose the way people tell our story, as you mentioned how.

Schwab: Mm-hmm. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story? Yeah, yeah.

Yael: Exactly. So it’s disheartening to me to know, A, that I knew nothing about this person, B, that the first thing I knew about her or heard about her from outside sources was, oh, she’s a famous patient of Freud, which wasn’t even true. And now that I know what she accomplished and how substantial it is that A and B could be true for me and for so many other people.

Schwab: And I think we can choose that. We can’t choose how our stories get told, but we can choose how to tell the story of Bertha Pappenheim.

Yael: Well, I think you’ve done a great job in the way that you’ve chosen to do it. No, yeah.

Schwab: Oh, thank you. The other thing that I’ve got to say before we end, this is like, it’s not as heavy and monumental as that point. But it’s this other fact about her that I was just like, oh, when do I reveal this? Two weeks ago, we had our episode on Glikl. And at the very end, in describing some of Glikl’s own interesting relationships with her mother and her daughters, you said at the very end, and I think it’s even the last line in the episode. You said something like, Oh, paging Dr. Freud, like, ah, there’s a lot going on here. And Glikl is from the 17th century. Like I said, Bertha translates Glikl’s works from Yiddish, from a version of Yiddish into German. She is also a descendant of Glikl.

Yael: That’s crazy.

Schwab: She comes across this work. She’s like, this is a story that has to be told. I’m going to translate this work. And in a thing that, again, I have no better way of describing this other than in some way, very Freudian, not only does she translate the work, but she also dresses like a 17th century woman would, dresses like Glikl would have, and poses for this picture. And that’s the picture that often gets published with the work. It’s Bertha Pappenheim dressing up as her great, great, great, great whatever.

Yael: It’s Bertha Pappenheim, cosplaying Glikl. Those are some very bizarre coincidences. History is a trip, man.

Schwab: Yeah. And now they’ve wound up on this podcast together.

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