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Anne Fried (1903-1998)


Austrian-born writer, who immigrated to the United States on the outbreak of World War II. After a long career in education and social work, Anne Fried moved to Finland, where she established herself as a novelist, essayist, and critic.

"Ei pidä pelätä eikä yrittää karkottaa kuoleman ajatusta, vaan on omaksuttava sellainen elämänasenne, jonka myötä loppu on sekä henkisesti että sielullisesti niin rauhallinen kuin suinkin mahdollista." (Anne Fried in Avoimin silmin, 1997)

Anne Fried was born in Vienna into a middle-class Jewish family. Her father, Robert Politzer, was a goldsmith. Ida Bresnitz, Fried's mother, had lost her parents at an early age in a fire and she grew up in the family of his father's Freemason friends. As an active person, Ida founded a successful charity organization and arranged with her friends summer vacations for Jewish children. Ida's plans to continue her studies at a university or at a teacher's school did not come true, because the family considered it unnecessary for a woman.

Among the family friends were the painter Isidor Kaufmann, Alfred Robert Friedrich Freiherr von Winterstein, Sigmund Freud's pupil, Hugo Breitner, an influential Social-Democratic politician, and the booksellers Hugo Heller and Paul Knepler. At the Heller bookstore Rabindranath Tagore signed his book to Fried. Gustav Klimt's paintings influenced her deeply, and she loved the plays of Arthur Schnitzler. Through the medical student Ernst Papanek, she became involved in voluntary welfare work.

In 1922 Fried entered the University of Heidelberg, studying literature. She also studied in Jena and at the University of Tübingen, receiving her Ph.D. in 1926. Her dissertation dealt with German mystics; Fried had read the works of Jakob Böhme, Angelus Silesius, Heinrich Seuse while still at school.

During her visit in Paris in 1927, she met Theodore Fried (1902-1980), a Hungarian artist. They married in November. Later Fried depicted the years between the wars, that they were very naïve: "literature was more real than past revolutions and wars". Their son, Risto Fried (1930-2004), born in Paris, moved in 1968 to Finland, where he worked a psychiatrist. His major publications include Freud on the Acropiolis – a Detective Story (2003).

Fried wrote reviews to several magazines and found regular work at the magazine Individualität, which appeared in Basel, and from Forum in Prague. In the 1930s Fried helped refugees, who escaped the Nazis. Her neighbour was the refugee writer Anna Seghers – Fried never met Seghers personally but was at a meeting where Seghers spoke. Seghers's life has paralles with Fried's own: similar social background, studies at university (Heidelberg), interest in literature and art, and an exile – a story common to a number of European intellectuals at that time.

Hiljaisuus on aine jossa elämme.
Se ympäröi meitä
kuin ilma
kuin valo
kuin pimeys.

Hiljaisuus, 1995)

When Fried's marriage was coming to end, she moved in 1938 with her son to the United States, starting first as a teacher at Newark Junior College, and then she was employed as Dr. Philip Levine's laboratory assistant at Newark Beth Hospital. For a short time Fried worked at a bookstore, she also took odd jobs as a secretary and proofreader, until she was offered a post as a teacher of retarded children at Amity Hall. Between 1945 and 1948 she studied sosiology at the Columbia University, receiving her M.A. in 1948. In the 1950s she became director of Fuld Neighbourhood House in East Harlem.

Before moving to Finland in 1969, Fried worked at The New York City Mission Society and as a director of James Weldon Johnson Community Center. Fried's career in the United States lasted 31 years. Fried visited Helsinki for the first time in 1961 with her sister. In the new home country she began another career. Fried studied Finnish two years at the Columbia University, and then joined his son Christopher (Risto), who had settled in Finland with his family.

During her American years Fried had written poems and essays, among others about Ellery Queen's novels – she was a friend of Hilda Wiesenthal, who was married to Fred Dannay, the other writer behind the pseudonym. At the University of Helsinki, Fried studied literature in 1971-1973. Her teacher, Kai Laitinen, said later: "I realized that I was not only teacher at the course but also a pupil at her humanistic school of life." In 1975 Fried published a study about the writer Marko Tapio. His book, Terassi (1962), she had first read in New York. She found the novel, which was enough small, from a bookshop by accident.

Since the appearance of Marko Tapio, Fried published eleven books. Her literary studies, including Literatur und Politik in Finnland (1982), Myytti ja usko Michel Tournierin tuotannossa (1984), autobiographical pieces, and essays are considered a valuable contribution to Finnish literary culture. Her views about aging and terminal care gained wide response and her interviews in radio and television deeply touched the audiences. "Death, the inevitability of the end, is already in us, from the very first moment of our existence." (Anne Fried in Avoimin silmin)

"The sources of creative life are dreams, time spent in nature and with friends, art hobbies, sports, and traveling," Fried once said. "Luovan elämän lähteitä ovat uni, luonnossa ja ystävien parissa vietetty aika, taideharrastukset, urheilu ja matkustaminen. Ja joillekin meistä tärkeintä kaikesta on täydellinen vetäytyminen hiljaisuuteen – meditaation – runous – yksinolo Jumalan kanssa." (from Kaipauksen hiljaiset äänet, 1994) In her essays, translated from English or from German into Finnish, Fried has dealt with such promiment writers as Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, Marguerite Duras, Peter Handke, Paul Celan, and Jaan Kross. The subjets are set against the political, sociological, moral and historical powers that have shaped our 20th-century. Fried's style is clear, objective and dispassionate, but on the other hand she also offers close and valuable insights to her own experiences or to scenes from books that have affected her deeply. In 1995 she received The Cultural Award of the Church (Kirkon kulttuuripalkinto). She was made in 1997 honorary doctor at the Theological Faculty of the University of Helsinki. Anne Fried died in Helsinki on December 11, 1998, at the age of 95.

For further reading: Anne Fried ystävien silmin, ed. by Maija Pellikka (1998); Elämän värit by Anne Fried (1987); 'Kirjailija Anne Fried' by Pekka Tarkka in Helsingin Sanomat (13.12.1998)

Selected works:

  • Report of Four Years of Work at the Guidance Clinic for Retarded Children, 1955 (American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 1955 Jul; 60)
  • A Work Camp Program for Potential Delinquents, 1959 (The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 1959 vol. 322 no. 1)
  • Marko Tapio, 1975 (suom. Raija Mattila)
  • Thank You for These Illusions: Poems by Finnish Women Writers, 1981 (edited and translated by Anne Fried)
  • Literatur und Politik in Finnland: Wechselwirkung zwischen Nachkriegsliteratur und Politik, 1982
  • Myytti ja usko Michel Tournierin tuotannossa, 1984 (suom. Annikki Suni; original title: Michel Tournier: Myth and Faith in Literature)
  • Elämän värit, 1987 (suom. Annikki Suni)
    - Farben des Lebens (Leipzig: Kiepenheuer, 1991)
  • Lempeän kuoleman tyyssija: raportti saattohoidosta, 1988 (suom. Oili Suominen; original title: Wo man in Frieden sterben kann)
  • Kirjailijan kutsu: 14 esseetä kansainvälisestä kirjallisuudesta, 1989
  • Pieniä sanoja sinulle elämästä, 1991 (edited by Anne Fried; translated into Finnish by Oili Suominen)
  • Lisälehtiä, 1992 (suom. Oili Suominen)
  • Kaipauksen hiljaiset äänet, 1994 (suomentaneet Markku Mannila, Kersti Juva ja Kirsti Aalto)
  • Hiljaisuus, 1995 (suom. Maija Pellikka; original illustrations from Little Meditations on Silence)
  • Elämän värit; Lisälehtiä, 1997
  • Avoimin silmin: ajatuksia ja artikkeleita 1990-luvulta, 1997 (edited by Maija Nyman)
  • Senioriteetti voimavarana, 1998 (with others, edited by Jarmo Heinonen)
  • Sanat kuin kosketus: Anne Friedin ajatuksia, 1999 (edited by Harri Markkula)

Essays, articles, forewords and afterwords:

  • 'Begegnung und erinnerung', Sinn und Form 3/1981
  • Adamin ylösnousemus / Yoram Kaniuk, 1982 (afterword by A.F.) 
  • Vieras, ystävä / Christoph Hein, 1985 (foreword by A.F.)
  • Rakastaja / Marguerite Duras, 1985 (foreword by A.F.)
  • Tien loppu / Christoph Hein, 1987 (epilogue by A.F.)
  • Tuska / Marguerite Duras, 1987 (foreword by A.F.)
  • 'Epäpoliittisia reflektioita poliittisista kysymyksistä', Talouselämä 16/1990
  • 'Sota ei jätä ketään rauhaan', Helsingin Sanomien Kuukausiliite 5/1991
  • 'Kolminaisuuden mysteerit', Ruumiin kulttuuri 2/1991
  • 'Hölderlin Phantasie', Gingo Baum, 1991
  • 'Euroopan kulttuuriyhteisö', Tiedepolitiikka-lehti 2/1992
  • 'An Interpretation of Style', Nordisk Arkitekturforskning, 4/1993
  • 'Fiktion todellisuus ja uskon konkreetisuus', Kuka&Miksi: Dorothy L. Sayers 100 vuotta, 1993 (toim. Leena Lehtolainen)
  • 'The European Community of Culture', Leif 4/1993
  • 'Masson ja totuus'. Suomen Kuvalehti 44/1994
  • 'Selbstfindung, Gedanke zu Paul Celans Gespräch im Gebirg', Entschluss 3/1994
  • 'Köyhyyde ulottuvuudet', Nuori Voima 4/1995
  • 'Vapautuksen teologi', Suomen Kuvalehti 21/1995
  • 'Arktisen hysterian prologi', Loogillista ihmettelyä: Kirjoituksia Marko Tapiosta, 1995 (toim. Miisa Jääskeläinen)
  • 'Wienin vainotut ja hyväntekijät', Helsingin Sanomien Kuukausiliite 8/1996
  • 'Elämän kuvastimis', Suomen Kuvalehti 17/1996
  • 'Syvälle Saarikoskeen', Suomen Kuvalehti 42/1996
  • 'Sielun haavoituvuus', Kirjojen Suomi, 1966 (toim. Juhani Salokannel)
  • 'XII - Seman - Jeesus kuolee ristillä', Ristin tie, 1997 (toim. Tapio Saraneva)
  • 'Ihminen ja kaupunki', Vanhuus kaupungissa, 1977 (toim. Antti Karisto)
  • 'Hetkipalvelukset ja hetkipalveluskirjat', Hiljaisuuden etsijöitä, 1998 (toim. Tertti Lappalainen)

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