XpatNation’s weekly immigrant history report looks to examine some of the lesser talked about moments in history in the US and around the world. Immigrants and expatriates have been contributing to the US and the world as a whole for centuries, bringing culture, knowledge and expertise as they adapt and thrive in the new worlds they enter.
Sigmund Freud Arrives in England – June 6, 1938Image Source: Diario de Cultura
Sigmund Freud is the acknowledged founder of modern psychoanalysis. Much of his important work took place in the first decade of the 20th century. “In 1900, after a protracted period of self-analysis, he published The Interpretation of Dreams, which is generally regarded as his greatest work. This was followed in 1901 by The Psychopathology of Everyday Life; and in 1905 by Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.
However, one cannot leave out, his advancement of a completely new tripartite (id, ego, and super-ego) model of the mind in his 1923 work The Ego and the Id.
He was such a part of the intellectual life of Vienna, that people forget he was a refugee. Nazi Germany annexed Austria (the Anschluss) in March 1938. Freud was a Jew by birth, and his thoughts and research offended the Reich’s masters. He secured an immigration permit for Britain through Ernest Jones, then the President of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He would die of cancer in September 1939, the month World War II began.
What is interesting is that he could just as well have settled in America. He had a nephew in the states, Edward Bernays (whose mother was Sigmund’s sister, and his father was the brother if Sigmund’s sister. Edward Bernays left Vienna in 1892, and graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City, followed a BA at Cornell University. He became “the Father of Public Relations” — a Madman a generation before the TV show of that name was set. Sigmund had relatives in the States who could have helped him. He simply chose Britain.
Sirhan Sirhan indicted for killing RFK –June 7, 1968Image Source: JFK library
The assassination of Bobby Kennedy remains one of the watershed moments of American history even a half century since he walked into the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. He had just won the California Primary, and may well have been on his way to the Democratic nomination for president – perhaps even the White House. He was shot just a month after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The assassin was a Palestinian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, who “confessed to the crime at his trial and received a death sentence on March 3, 1969. However, since the California State Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty sentences in 1972, Sirhan has spent the rest of his life in prison. According to the New York Times, he has since said that he believed Kennedy was ‘instrumental’ in the oppression of Palestinians.”
He was indicted for the murder on June 7, 1968.
Dutch Arrive on Manhattan – June 10, 1610Image Source: New York Times
New York City was originally called New Amsterdam. It was born a Dutch settlement, and if you look at the city flag, you will see it is a tricolor of blue, white and orange. The latter color representing the Dutch royal House of Orange.
In 1610, Englishman Henry Hudson under contract with the Dutch, explored the region and made it to the bay that bears his name. “The Dutch, meanwhile, were at war with the Habsburg emperor of Spain, and Dutch privateers were attacking the Spanish in the Americas. The Dutch were the world’s foremost traders and merchant mariners, and in 1610 the Dutch set up a trading post on the southern end of Manhattan Island. Among other things, they traded their guns to the Iroquois, the enemy of the French, and the Iroquois became better armed than their rivals, the Huron – allies of the French.”
That trading post would, in 1624, become New Amsterdam under the Charter of the Dutch Indies Company, and would become New York a few decades later after the English defeated the Dutch.
Hitchcock’s The Lodger Debuts – June 11, 1928Image Source: Hitchcock blog
Sir Alfred Hitchcock was the great suspense film director of the last century. His movies include classics like Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest, and The Rear Window. He moved to America in March 1939, and became a fixture in Hollywood. He even had his own anthology TV series in the 1960s called “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” which rivalled the “Twilight Zone” for tension.
But it was with the American debut of The Lodger on June 11, 1928, that Hitchcock’s career took off. Until then, his work was either commercially unsuccessful or the project fell apart before it was released. It was a film about a serial killer, and it would have many of the themes that he would develop in future classics. The film opens with a blond woman screaming (Hitchcock liked blonds in peril); it features an innocent man on the run; and a self-righteous society calling for blood. It also includes a cameo appearance by the director, which would become a hallmark of Hitchcock’s work.
Houdini’s Straight-Jacket Escape 40 Feet Above Manhattan – June 12, 1923Image Source: Pinterest
Harry Houdini was the name of a magician and escape artist born Erich Weiss in Budapest. At the age of 2, he accompanied his family (dad was a rabbi) to America in search of a better life. To earn some money, he had a trapeze act in vaudeville at the age of 9. “At 17, Ehrich, now known as Harry Houdini, left his family to pursue his magic career. By the age of twenty, Harry had been performing small acts throughout New York. He soon married and joined a circus where he began to develop and perfect his escape tricks.”
The greatness of Houdini was proved time and again with every more mystifying magic tricks. But what really sticks is his ability to escape from handcuffs, straight-jackets and other restraints.
As skyscraper in the world’s big cities went higher and higher, Houdini decided to suspend himself upside down at great heights to escape from a straight-jacket. It looked very dangerous, but it actually made it easier to get his arms over his head, which is the key to the escape
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- Famous American Immigrants On Immigration
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XpatNation is a Social News and Lifestyle magazine, focusing on the insights and experiences of ex-patriots living in The United States.
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