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melanie klein trust

Melanie Klein Trust

Furthering the psychoanalytic theory
and technique of Melanie Klein

1882-1902 Childhood



Melanie Reizes is born on 30th March at Tiefer Graben 8, Vienna, to Libussa (née Deutsch, aged 30) and Moriz Reizes (aged 54). Moriz comes from an orthodox Jewish family from Lemberg, Galicia (now Lviv, Ukraine), and her mother from Warbotz, Slovakia. Moriz trained as a doctor, against his highly conservative family's wishes. Libussa was an intelligent, attractive young woman. 

Melanie is the youngest of four children, joining two sisters, Emilie (6) and Sidonie (4), and a brother, Emmanuel (5). The Reizes family moved to Vienna from Deutschkreutz, Hungary (now Burgenland, Austria) at some point between 1878 and 1882. 


When Melanie is three years old, Sigmund Freud (29), is in Paris studying hysteria and hypnosis with the famous neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. Freud's explorations in this area will form the basis of his later theory of psychoanalysis.


Melanie's sister Sidonie, with whom she is closest of all her siblings, dies of scrofula (tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis) at the age of eight. Melanie is just four years old.

In the same year, Freud leaves Paris and returns to Vienna, opening a private medical practice to treat patients with 'nervous' disorders.


The Reizes family inherit a considerable sum of money on the death of Moriz’s father. The family move from their second home in Vienna, a shabby 5th-floor apartment in Borsegasse, to a much larger, more elegant apartment in the middle-class suburb of Martinstrasse.


While young Melanie grows up in the Vienna suburbs, across town the 35-year-old Sigmund Freud moves to Berggasse 19, which will be his home and consulting rooms for the next 47 years.


In the same year as his last child Anna is born, Freud publishes his seminal Studies on Hysteria.


At the age of 16, Melanie has her sights set on studying at the gymnasium (advanced secondary school). She has long wanted to study medicine, and is already aiming specifically at psychiatry. In this year she passes the entrance exams.



Melanie meets her future husband while still only 17 years old. Arthur Stevan Klein is four years older than her and a second cousin. He is studying to be a chemical engineer in Zurich. He proposes to Melanie soon after their first meeting, and she agrees to marry him. The engagement spells the end of Melanie's academic and medical ambitions.


Melanie’s father, Moriz Reizes, dies on 6th April at the age of 72. On 25th December, her older sister Emilie marries Leo Pick, a young doctor.

Sigmund Freud publishes his foundational psychoanalytic work, The Interpretation of Dreams. Introducing his groundbreaking ideas about 'dream-work', latent and manifest content, repression, wish fulfilment and child sexuality, he will later describe this work as, "the most valuable of all the discoveries it has been my good fortune to make". Although at first widely ignored or disparaged, the book lays the foundations for the entire corpus of psychoanalytic thought and practice, and will influence Melanie Klein's own work deeply.


Melanie spends the summer with her husband's family in Rosenberg (formerly in Slovak Hungary, now Ružomberok in northern Slovakia) while he is in America on a work trip.

Sigmund Freud publishes On Dreams, a text which will make a significant impact on Klein's psychoanalytic thinking.

Otto, Melanie’s first nephew, is born to Emilie Pick on 16th October.

Melanie returns home from Rosenberg around Christmas time.


On 1st December 1902, Melanie's adored older brother Emmanuel dies of heart failure in Genoa, at the age of 25. He is the second of her siblings to die far too young. His death comes after several years of aimless travelling around the Mediterranean region. He has probably been addicted to morphine and cocaine for some time, in addition to suffering from tuberculosis. Melanie is devastated by this loss.