Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychoanalysis, was an Austrian-born physician and early researcher in the field of neurology. Born into a working class Jewish family, Freud was recognized as the brightest among his eight siblings at an early age. As a result, his parents spared no expense in educating him.
After completing his M.D. in 1881, Freud traveled to Paris to study with Jean Martin Charcot, the leading neurologist of the time. This proved to be a life-altering decision as the exposure to Charcot's work in hypnotic treatments led to the development of Freud's own "talking cure". Freud's method believed that patients could release powerful emotional energy that had been 'repressed' by talking. Today, Freud's "talking cure" method is generally regarded as the basis of all psychoanalysis.
In addition to his work with repressed emotions, Freud is also credited with developing the earliest ideas about the role of the unconscious mind in human behavior, the analysis of dreams, and the first organized theories on human sexuality. Throughout his life, Freud published many works. Most notable among these are The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), and The Ego and the Id (1923).
In 1938, the Nazi occupation of Austria forced an ailing Freud to relocate his family to London, where he lived out his last days. A cigar smoker for much of his life, Freud suffered from oral cancer and eventually asked his friend (and physician) Max Schur to assist him in committing suicide. Schur eventually acquiesced and administered three lethal doses of morphine to his friend on September 23, 1939.
Three of Freud’s sisters Marie, Pauline Winternitz, and Rosa Graf-Freud were deported to Treblinka, on September 23, 1942 and murdered in the gas chambers. Freud’s sister Esther Adolphine died in Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943.