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Letters of C.G. Jung and Hilde Kirsch

999 Hilde

Jung-Kirsch Letters


The documents of the C. G. Jung – Hilde Kirsch correspondence, found at the Kirsch archive and the ETH Library archive, are not numerous and are of varying degrees of interest.

The following letters exchanged by Jung and Hilde Kirsch (Hildegard Silber) are selected for their intrinsic value, and because they may cast important side-lights on the main text of this volume.

Frau Hildegard Silber
Gordonstr. 2,
Tel Aviv.

Dear Mrs. Silber,
Dr. C. G. Jung
Seestrasse 228
11 June 19341

The problem you present to me concerns the religious meaning of the transference, which is still apparently unresolved for you.

As long as the transference is active in the essentially instinctive realm, it’s like an ape with

the sun in its head.

This ape searches instinctively for the ideas that are buried in Egypt, from whence comes Mosaic wisdom.

It must be rediscovered, that which Egypt originally taught the children of Israel through Moses.

The image in your dream of the Jewish second-hand shop then changes into the unappetizing pancake, which you make yourself.

One must eat what one cooks in one’s own kitchen; that is, when the traditional symbols have lost their magical power.

Since I would not want to correspond behind the back of your treating physician,

I have taken the liberty of sending this letter to Dr. Kirsch, so that he will be informed about our correspondence.

Typewritten in German, on letterhead, this is the first known letter from Jung to Hilde Kirsch. It was enclosed in Jung’s letter to James Kirsch, “your treating physician,” on 11 June 1934 (p. 57).

At the time, Hildegard Silber (widowed by the death of Hermann Silber in Berlin, June 1933) was living in Tel Aviv and seeing James Kirsch for analysis.

She had met Jung at the Berlin Seminar in June/July 1933, and at Eranos in August 1933, when the Kirsch and Silber families spent two months in Ascona. ~Jung-Kirsch Letters, Page 280, fn 1

Dr. C. G. Jung                                         8 February 1935
Seestrasse 228

Dear Mrs. Silber,

Since I am now in the middle of the semester and must go on a trip at the end of March, it is entirely impossible for me at the moment to accept further patients.

I’ll get back to my practice on the first of May at the earliest, and then, too, I’ll be so busy that I can’t promise anything for the time being.

I’m giving so many lectures that I have to reduce my practice in any case.

Before I’d have time for a new patient, one or another patient would have to drop out.

Very respectfully yours, c. G. JUNG

Notwithstanding Jung’s refusal, Hildegard Silber began to work with both him and Toni Wolff in the spring of 1935, and returned for five more weeks’ work in 1937.

In June 19 3 6, writing from London, she tried to schedule future sessions with Jung.

That letter, the earliest that now exists from Hilde Kirsch to Jung, can be roughly translated as follows:

3 June 19366

Dear Professor Jung!

I recently [wrote?] to Fraulein Wolff, so you may perhaps know that I’ve been through a very hard time.

I wouldn’t like to make [illegible word] demands on your time, and inquire only if you might have time for me in the winter.

I could make myself free here for only about 3 weeks and would have to arrange it carefully with my [enormously?] large household.

This month I’m expecting the baby, and I have the feeling that with this pregnancy a great inner process, as well, has been set in motion.

I’m very isolated here, since the Jungian analysts who have now come here have so much to do with transplantation and outer reality,
they aren’t adapted to [illegible word].

I’d be very grateful to you if you could make time for me in November or January. I hope [illegible word] practice allows

[illegible word] with you [after?]                          January 1.

With respectful greetings,


On 15 December 19 3 6 Hilde Kirsch wrote to request a letter of recommendation (eine Empfehlung), which she could show to the Home Office.

She explained that Dr. Michael Fordham was seeing her for analysis, but that without Jung’s recommendation she was not permitted to work analytically.

Jung’s reply has unfortunately been lost, but evidently he sent the needed letter. 8 and in 1937 Hilde Kirsch became, officially, an analyst.

Some of Hilde ‘s letters between 1937 and 1939 contain urgent requests for additional analytic sessions, to which Jung replies with regret, pointing to his own full schedule, his health, and the political events of the time.

In July 1938 he wrote that he would be unable to give her an hour during his trip to England, either on his way to Oxford or on his way back (Jung to H Kirsch, 2 July 1938, ETH Library archive).

In the spring of 1939, however, he wrote that, although he had intended to schedule no consultations during his short stay in London, he
would make an exception in her case.

He offered her a session on 3 April, 4 pm, at the Montague Hotel (Jung to H Kirsch, 20 March 1939, ETH Libra,y archive).

Four months later she wrote to schedule further sessions. By the time Jung answered, the war had broken out.

13 August 1939

Dear Professor Jung,

May I remind you of our conversation in London in April, when you promised to grant me a few hours after the summer.

As you know, I have a huge household and many other responsibilities as well, and I can only get free for 14 days.

I’d be very grateful if you could tell me quite soon when you can take me. I’d like to see you more than once during the 14 days.

Hoping you’re otherwise well.

With respectful greetings,



2 September 193910

Dear Mrs. Kirsch,’

Under the circumstances our appointment will have to be cancelled. We also have a general mobilization here.

With warm greetings,

Yours truly,


Jung sent very few letters to James and Hilde Kirsch during the war. The following appears to be his reply to a letter from Hilde (now missing), about the family move to Los Angeles in 1940.

Frau Hilde Kirsch,
6621 Drexel Avenue,
Los Angeles, Calif.

Dear Mrs. Kirsch,

Prof. Dr. C. G. Jung
Seestrasse 228                                  5 May 194112

This is a time when millions of people are threatened by catastrophes and perhaps must be destroyed by these catastrophes.

In Germany the catastrophe came to you. You had to leave Germany.

Then you arrived in England, where the catastrophe again reached you.

You did not have to leave England, but you were unable to do otherwise.

No one can say that you should have stayed in the London raids.

But when suffering comes to human beings, it is always better to stay with the first suffering where one can remain.

For this suffering is still comprehensible.

The second, which comes anyway, is usually incomprehensible, and that is worse.

In America you have landed on virgin ground, where everything begins again from below.

You must begin there from below, in order to live; otherwise it won’t work. For this I wish you the necessary insight and patience!

With cordial greetings,


15 October 1954

Dear Mrs. Kirsch,

Excuse me for writing to you as briefly as possible, since I’m very pressed by work.

Your dream is extraordinarily clear and simple: If you think about the meaning of Christ as a Jewish reformer, who tried to resolve the demonic contrast between good and evil in Yahweh by setting up an exclusively positive or “good”

God-concept, then you can easily recognize the analogy, that in “Job” once again a peculiar rectification of the God-concept takes place.

Not only I, but also you, become symbolically transformed, inasmuch as you quite obviously assume the role of the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven.

This is naturally to be understood in the sense of individuation, and then no misfortune has occurred.

It just shows you, in complete clarity how we, as correct personalities, participate in the life of the archetypes, and how they attempt to realize themselves in ordinary human life.

Everything else you can easily interpret for yourself.

With best greetings,

Yours truly, [no signature in transcription]

In early 1959 Hilde Kirsch wrote to Aniela Jaffe, requesting a certificate from Jung.

She needed the document urgently, to make it possible for her to continue practicing as a psychologist in California.

She apologized for making a demand on Jaffe s time but asked her to write a letter certifying her training and experience.

Her deadline with the State of California was rapidly approaching.

The letter ends,

“I thought I had at least come far enough so that my whole existence wouldn’t be called into question again ”

(H Kirsch to A. Jaffe, 18 February 1959, ETH Library archive).

Jung sent her the following certification.

18 March 195918

To whom it may concern:

I have known Mrs. Hilde Kirsch, 906 Thayer Avenue, Los Angeles, California, since 1933.

Mrs. Kirsch attended my seminar on clinical material in 1933 in Berlin.

She came to Zurich, Switzerland, in 1935, had 4 months of intense training with me and attended my private seminar and the lecture course I gave at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich.

Mrs. Kirsch returned in 1937 for additional training with me, personal as well as clinical.

In 1936 I authorized her to work as an Analytical Psychologist.

In 1939 Mrs. Kirsch attended a seminar I gave in London at the Institute of Medical Psychology, Malet Place, London, England.

After the war she returned again to Zurich in 1950, 1951, 1953, 1955 and 1958, to continue her training.

Dear Professor,

I’d like to thank you sincerely for the letter you wrote to James, regarding my broken legs.

I’ve reflected on it very similarly to the way you described it, but for the moment I still don’t know at all how I’m supposed to arrive at these changes and what it’s all about.

It may interest you to know, I was especially conscious that I might fall, because for a year I’ve been in a depression.

So I was wearing my Swiss mountain boots and carrying a hiking stick from Zermatt.

I was in the desert with my children, and we were walking into a very archaic palm forest.

I was just saying to my children,

“I wonder how and what the Zermatt stick will reach towards this opposite landscape,” when I fell and broke both ankles.

Everything seems to be healing well, and next week the cast will be taken off one leg.

I do hope you are coming through the winter well, and that you don’t feel too tired. I hope to be able to see you again this year.

Once again many thanks, Yours truly,

Dear Professor,
Mrs. Hilde Kirsch
906 Thayer Avenue
Los Angeles 24, California
Hotel Sonnenberg, Zurich               31 October 1960

I am endlessly thankful that you are feeling better, though it hurts very much, of course, that I can’t see you.

But I cannot depart without wishing you, in this manner at least, all that is good and increasing strength, and I hope that the enclosed small items will also help a little with that.

Yours truly, HILDE KIRSCH

Frau Dr. Hilde Kirsch
906 Thayer Avenue
West Los Angeles,

Dear Mrs. Kirsch,
Prof. Dr. C. G. Jung
Seestrasse 228
2 November 1960

Please accept my sincere thanks for the tasty gift with which you remembered me.

I deeply regret that circumstances were so unfavorable this time that I couldn’t receive you.

Such incidents are unfortunately to be expected at my age. One becomes unreliable.

I can only thank you warmly, once again, and wish you a good trip home.

With best greetings to your husband and to you, I remain

Yours truly,

C. G. JUNG  ~Jung-Kirsch Letters, Pages 280-288