"As long as I live, psychoanalysis will never penetrate my establishments."
I had found the quote in Melinda Guttman's biography of Pappenheim, The Enigma of Anna O, prefaced by the words:
'In later years, when someone suggested that one of her wards needed psychoanalytic treatment, she exclaimed vehemently….'
I was intrigued by the words and checked out the original source given by Guttmann - Bertha Pappenheim: Leben und Schriften by Dora Edinger - to find out more.
I found that there was no evidence of her having said the words in question. Edinger wrote that the only comment about psychoanalysis by Pappenheim she had been able to find was:
"Psychoanalyse ist in der Hand des Arztes, was die Beichte in der Hand das Katholischen Geistlichen ist; es hängt von dem Anwender under Anwendung ab, ob sie ein gutes Instrument oder ein zweischneidiges Schwert ist."
Guttmann translates this as:
'"Psychoanalysis is to the doctor, what confession is to a Catholic priest. Whether it is a good device or a double-edged sword depends on the user and how it is used."'
Edinger then continues:
'Es steht aber nach den Aussagen ihrer späteren engsten Mitarbeiterinnen fest, dass sie jede psychoanalytische Behandlung eines unter ihrer Fürsorge stehenden Menschen immer streng verboten hat.'
This translates as:
However, according to her closest colleagues she always strictly forbade psychoanalytic treatment for any of the people in her care.
I may seem to be splitting hairs here. The paraphrase means much the same as the words Guttmann puts into Pappenheim's mouth after all. But words such as 'as long as I live', 'penetrate' and the adverb 'vehemently' invest the view expressed with far greater emotional charge than the more neutral terms of Edinger's original version. If we consider only the latter, we have no way of knowing what Pappenheim's objection was founded on - it could, for example, have been simply a question of cost - while in Guttmann's version we are seduced into believing that Pappenheim thought psychoanalysis to be an abomination, full stop.
This is the kind of thing which blurs the boundaries between biography and biographical novelisation, where a measure of creativity is to be expected. Biography is history and its claims should be verifiable or at least backed up by reliable sources. Guttmann, to use a term coined by Hilary Clinton when caught out trying to embellish an incident in her own personal history, 'misspoke'. It diminishes Guttmann's credibility and makes the reader wonder how many other instances of misspeaking her work may contain.