A Life for Psychoanalysis

IPU Foundation Board Chair Christa Rohde-Dachser receives Federal Cross of Merit

It began with the legacy of a large German logistics service provider and was followed by a life with and for psychoanalysis. On 20 May 2019, Christa-Rohde-Dachser was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon for her honorary commitment and extraordinary work in psychoanalysis, medicine and science.

"Christa Rohde-Dachser is one of the few psychoanalysts who has ever sat behind the wheel of a heavy truck and driven it," was how moderator Jochen Kölsch greeted the psychoanalyst on one evening in the Alpha Forum on BR television. What at first seems humorous is a strong symbol - and it unites the two worlds in which Christa Rohde-Dachser was and is at home.

As the heiress of a logistics group that today employs over 30,000 people, Rohde-Dachser's career began in her father's company. After earning her first diploma in 1959 with a thesis on shipping companies, it quickly drove her back into the scientific business. It had been "like a life's work" for her to first start working for the logistics service provider, "although I always looked at what else was interesting".

IPU President Ilka Quindeau stands in the midst of a tropical plant landscape when she refers to Christa Rohde-Dachser's manifold undertakings and achievements: "This requires courage, a certain coolness, confidence in one's own abilities, the willingness to try something new and unusual, to disregard role clichés, some expectations and one or the other boundary." This evening celebrates her 80th birthday - on the sad occasion of the death of her husband two years late. She has chosen the venue of Biosphere Potsdam as a reminder of their common holidays in the forests all over the world.

Back at university, Rohde-Dachser's career began with a doctorate in sociology, followed by further training as a psychoanalyst and many years of work at Hannover Medical School, where she later qualified as a professor. In 1986 she was appointed to the renowned professorship of psychoanalysis at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, which Alexander Mitscherlich had previously held. Eight years later she founded the Institute for Psychoanalysis of the German Psychoanalytical Society (DPG) and remained its chair until 2004. In 2009, her psychoanalytical work reached another peak when she established the Foundation for the Promotion of University Psychoanalysis and founded the IPU Berlin under its auspices.

Christa Rohde-Dachser started her career with the aim of making psychoanalysis more important again at German universities. Ten years later, the IPU is a psychoanalytical university that resembles Sigmund Freud's ideas. Rohde-Dachser herself sums up: "We have meanwhile managed to be accredited as a university not only by the Berlin Senate, but also by the German Council of Science and Humanities, and in this way to create a new university home for psychoanalysis. We can be pleased about the large number of university collaborations that show how many colleagues from other scientific disciplines hope to gain additional knowledge by including the psychoanalytical questions offered by the IPU in their research, and vice versa".

The Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany with Ribbon is awarded for special "political, economic, social and intellectual achievements as well as for all special services rendered to the Federal Republic of Germany". Christa Rohde-Dachser thus receives the "only general merit award in Germany and thus the highest recognition that the Federal Republic of Germany awards for services to the common good". The IPU with its president and all employees congratulate Christa Rohde-Dachser on this award.