Books Recommended by Viktor E. Frankl
Reading “Man’s Search for Meaning“, Viktor Frankl‘s memories, will make you put things into perspective and rethink your whole existence.
Viktor Frankl’s the Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist who survived four concentration camps, including Auschwitz, while he lost his whole family – his parents, brother, and pregnant wife all died.
In his book he talks about how he stayed alive, and also discusses the meaning of life and searching for human meaning.
Frankl’s the “father” of logotherapy”, an analysis form that’s considered the third Viennese school of psychotherapy, along with Freud’s psychoanalysis and Alfred Alder’s individual psychology.
Viktor was born in Vienna in a Jewish family. He studied medicine in his hometown, specializing in neurology and psychiatry, with a focus on depression and suicide. During his time as a med student, he organized a free counselling program for high school students. The following year after the program, not a single Viennese student committed suicide, and Frankl was noticed by important psychologists.
In 1938, Viktor was prohibited from treating “Aryan” patients due to his Jewish identity, and started working at the Rothschild Hospital – the only hospital in Vienna where Jews were still admitted. During his time at Rothschild Hospital, Frankl saved several patients from being euthanized through some disputed actions, such as deliberately giving false diagnoses.
In 1942, Frankl and his family were deported at Theresienstadt Ghetto, a lager that was designated as a model community for middle-class Jews. There, Viktor worked as a general practitioner in a clinic and wrote and gave lectures. He also helped preventing suicide and organized a unit to help camp newcomers to overcome shock and grief.
In the following years Viktor helped several inmates, was transported to different lagers, lost his wife, parents, and brother, and got typhoid.
On the 8th of March 1945, Frankl was liberated by American soldiers.
Not long after that, he released ‘Man’s Search for Meaning‘, the book where he shares his memories as a concentration camp inmate. The experience led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living.
After his horrible experiences, Frankl concluded that even in the most painful and awful situations, life has potential meaning. This conclusion served as a basis for his logotherapy and existential analysis.