Scope and Content
Title: Viktor E. Frankl Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1924 - 1998
Accession number: GTU 89-5-012
Shelf location: 2/I/3 - 2/J/1
Frankl, Viktor E.
Size: 24 boxes, 4 folios, 11 linear feet
Type of material: Original file records, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, journal article photocopies/reprints, audio tapes (cassette,
reel to reel), videotapes, posters, books
The Graduate Theological Union.
Source and Date
Robert C. Leslie, 1989
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing
to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of The Graduate Theological Union as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Viktor E. Frankl Collection, GTU 89-5-012, The Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.
Psychiatrists - Austria -- Vienna
Holocaust - Jewish, 1939-1945 - Psychological aspects
Leslie, Robert C. (Robert Campbell), 1917-
Fabry, Joseph B.
Lukas, Elisabeth S.
Sasnett, J. Randolph, 1890-1978
Viktor Emil Frankl (1905 - 1997) was born in Vienna March 26, second child of Elsa and Gabriel Frankl (brother, Walter; sister,
Stella). Gabriel was the Director of Austria's Ministry of Social Service. Viktor developed a lifelong love of mountain climbing
and an interest in psychology in junior high school and began a correspondence with Freud. (All these letters were confiscated
by the Gestapo during WWII.) It was Freud who sent Frankl's first article in for publication in the
International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1924. Shortly after, Alfred Adler began to influence Frankl and in 1925 his second article was published in the
International Journal of Individual Psychology.
Frankl continued his reading, study and thought. While a medical student at the University of Vienna in the 1920's he helped
organize the Academic Society for Medical Psychology. In a lecture before this group, he first spoke of logotherapy. By 1933,
he had systematized his ideas. There are three possible ways to find meaning in life even up to the last breath: "1) a deed
we do, a work we create; 2) an experience, a human encounter, a love; and 3) when confronted with an unchangeable fate, a
change of attitude toward that fate." (pg. 64) We can "wrest meaning from life" by turning "suffering into a human triumph."
Frankl began to set up youth counseling centers in Austrian cities around 1930. He lectured extensively for organizations
of the socialist youth movement in Austria, and as far as Berlin, Prague, and Budapest. During this time, Otto Potzl at the
Vienna University Psychiatric Clinic became a lifelong friend. After Frankl's graduation from the University, he took a position
under Potzl at the Clinic. He also worked four years at the Am Steinhof mental hospital. In 1937, Frankl opened a private
practice, but after the Anschluss in March 1938, he closed his office and took a position at the Jewish Rothschild Hospital.
He was allowed to treat only Jewish patients. He worked to save mentally ill patients from euthanasia by transferring them
to the Jewish Home for the Aged.
When Frankl's number came up to get a visa for the United States, he refused it, choosing to stay with his family and his
patients though he knew deportation to the concentration camps would be inevitable. He met and married Tilly Grosser, a nurse
in the hospital in 1941. Nine months later, they were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, later to Auschwitz.
Tilly died in Bergen-Belsen after its liberation in 1945.
With deportation looming, Frankl wrote a manuscript of
Arztliche Seelsorge (The Doctor and the Soul). He sewed the manuscript into the lining of his coat, but lost it at Auschwitz when they had to dump all their belongings.
He began to reconstruct the manuscript with the gift of a pencil stub and pilfered SS forms. The experience of the camps "enriched"
his theories. He spent three years in four camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering III, and Turkheim. All of his family
died in the camps except his sister Stella who had emigrated to Australia. Frankl survived and returned to Vienna in 1946.
He met and married Eleonore Schwindt, Elly, in 1947. They had one daughter, Gabriele. He was given the position of Head of
the Neurology Department at the Vienna Policlinic Hospital, 1946, which he held for 25 years. He worked on the third draft
Doctor and the Soul: "so much poured out of my heart every day." The same year he dictated
Ein Psycholog erlebt das Konzentrationsleger (English translation by Ilse Lasch,
From Death Camp to Existentialism later titled
Man's Search for Meaning). These were brought to the attention of the American community through Randolph Sasnett and Gordon Allport who wrote the Foreword
to the original English publication.
Frankl continued to live in Vienna. He taught and lectured all over the world, eventually receiving 28 honorary degrees. He
published extensively on logotherapy through articles and 32 books many of which have been translated into several languages.
Austria conferred on Frankl the highest honor of the Republic for scientific achievement. He continued mountain climbing well
into his 80's. Viktor Frankl died in Vienna September 2, 1997.
Viktor Frankl Recollections: An Autobiography (New York: Insight Books, Plenum Press, 1997). GTU Library: RC489 L6 F69613 1997
Scope and Content
The collection originated as the Frankl Library and Memorabilia founded by Robert C. Leslie in 1975. Leslie, Foster Professor
of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, (1954-82) had met and studied with Frankl
in 1961. He organized and was Curator of the collection until 1995. This was the first such archive on Frankl anywhere in
In 1975, Leslie arranged with then Director of the Graduate Theological Union Library, J. Stillson Judah that the Frankl Library
and Memorabilia would be a special collection within the GTU Library. The original intention was that the Frankl Library would
have all materials in its own space within a projected library building. With the change of Library administration, and in
the final plans for what became the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library of the Graduate Theological Union, this space was not provided.
Dr. Leslie, as Curator, acquired and organized material, and worked with the catalogers and GTU Library staff to maintain
the collection. The articles reprints section of the collection was transferred to the GTU Archives in 1989 when the Archives
program was initiated. Other materials were placed in the general library circulating collection, or in the Rare Book Room.
Some material continued to be held in Dr. Leslie's office at the Pacific School of Religion. In 1995, on Dr. Leslie's retirement
from the curatorship, the material from the PSR office was transferred to the GTU Archives. The audiotape and videotape materials
that had been in the Rare Book Room were also transferred to the Archives. Materials in the general library circulating collection
remain in the circulating collection.
Book to GTU Library circulation collection.
The Rohatyn Jewish Community: A Town That Perished, ed. By Mordekhai Amitay (Tel Aviv: Rohatyn Association, 1962). DS135 R93 R63 1962