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Dr. Richard Detlev Loewenberg (1940s, 1950s) | NCP-LA

Name: Dr. Richard Detlev Loewenberg (1940s, 1950s)
Variant Name: Richard Loewenberg


Historical Note:

Richard Detlev Loewenberg was born as the son of Jenny and Jakob Loewenberg in Hamburg in 1898. He studied medicine at the Universities of Goettingen, Freiburg and Hamburg, where he received his M.D. degree in 1923. Following an internship and residencies in internal medicine and neurology, he was assistant in neuropsychiatry at the University Hospital in Hamburg from 1929 to 1933. In 1931 he married Sophie Borowicz. Their son Peter was born two years later. After the Nazis came to power, the family immigrated to Shanghai, where Richard D. Loewenberg continued to work as instructor and part-time consultant at the Shanghai Mercy Hospital for Nervous Diseases from 1933 to 1937. Afterwards he immigrated to California and started to work at St Joseph's Hospital where he passed his State Board examination in 1939. After three more years of staff work in the same hospital, he became Assistant Division Surgeon at the Western Pacific Railroad Hospital in Portola, CA. Later he went to Bakersfield, CA where he worked as the Director of Mental Hygiene Division at the Kern County Health Department and as Chief of Neuropsychiatric Service at the Kern General Hospital. In 1946 he was certified as psychiatrist by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. In 1948 he had to give up his position but continued publishing articles about medical and general subjects. Later he started to lecture at the University of Southern California where he died of an apoplexy during one of his lectures on April 29, 1954.

Dr. Peter Loewenberg is the son of Richard Loewenberg, psychoanalyst and historian.

Peter Loewenberg was born during the time that Hitler acceded to power in Germany. His father's concern for the safety of his family during Hitler's reign led him to research various countries to move to, eventually settling in Shanghai, China. It is there that Loewenberg spent the first four years of his life. He was later raised in Bakersfield, California.  His father was a university psychiatrist and a humanist who wrote on Kant, Lichtenberg, and Nietzsche. His mother, who had been a socialist activist in the Weimar Republic, was a public health nurse.

Loewenberg traced his parents activism and sacrifice to his pursuance of a diverse and profound education in 20th-century European cultural history, Austro-German history, and political psychology, as he saw it. "My intense conviction of the value of dual training has a personal, subjective source as well as the power of its subsequent value for my own work as a historian." He was educated at the left-wing University of California, Berkeley and the Free University of Berlin.

With collaboration between Nancy Chodorow at the University of California at Berkeley and Bob Nemiroff at the University of California at San Diego, Loewenberg was one of the founders of the University of California Interdisciplinary Psychoanalytic Consortium, and the coordinator for their first meeting which consisted of 30 faculty and graduate students from the 10 different campuses of the University of California, in 1993. His view is that psychoanalysis allows the historian "to more effectively move back and forth across the internal boundaries between conscious, pre-conscious, and unconscious processes."

Sources: Leo Baeck Institute, New York
Note Author: Dr. Vladimir Melamed





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