The last surviving grandchild of Dr. Sigmund Freud has died at the age of 97. Sophie Freud was a professor and chair of the human behavior program at Simmons University in Boston, where she "devoted her career as a psychosociologist to the protection of children and to introducing feminism into the field of social work," according to the New York Times. She often criticized her grandfather’s theories, telling the Boston Globe in 2002 that psychoanalysis is "such a narcissistic indulgence that I cannot believe in it." In 2003, she compared her grandfather to Hitler, calling them both "false prophets" who shared "the ambition to convince other men of the one and only truth they had come upon."
Born in Vienna in 1924, Miriam Sophie Freud's father was Jean Martin Freud, Sigmund Freud’s eldest son. She had regular contact with her grandfather but "no real relationship," she told the Globe, adding that he was not a warm man. The family fled the Nazis in 1938, shortly after Germany annexed Austria. Sophie Freud moved to the US and earned a psych degree from Radcliffe, a master’s from Simmons, and a PhD from Brandeis. In addition to teaching, she volunteered as a counselor to poor, single mothers. The Washington Post says Professor Freud "was easily recognized wherever she went, tooling around on a red motorbike, which she determined to be the most efficient way to get from here to there.”
She is survived by three children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was married for 40 years but divorced in 1985, later admitting that she "could not imagine becoming old with a man at my side," per the NYT, which also reports that—as her death approached—Professor Freud wrote that she planned to reflect on global warming and other crises facing modern humanity. "I shall think of the sorrow of my children, and of the sorrow of my grandchildren for their children, in this harsh new world," she lamented, "and I will leave the world with relief thinking of all that will have been spared me." (Read more Sigmund Freud stories.)