Code Name "Mary": Memoirs of an American Woman in the Austrian Underground by Muriel Gardiner ; Foreword by Anna Freud
New Haven, Ct. : Yale University Press, 1983. Hardcover. 177 pages ; 22 cm. In original dust jacket, pages are unmarked and binding are firm.
CODE NAME "MARY"
Memoirs of an American Woman in the Austrian Underground
Muriel Gardiner Foreword by Anna Freud
This book is the remarkable memoir of one woman's courageous involvement in the anti-Fascist struggle in Austria. Muriel Gardiner was a wealthy young medical student in Vienna in 1934, when Austria's Fascist government began to use armed force against its political opponents. Gardiner's outrage and her early intimations of the havoc and destruction that lay ahead led her into a life of conspiracy and intrigue that many believe was the model for Lillian Hellman's story of "Julia."
Gardiner relates how she made contact with members of the underground and began to supply funds to support their activities. After a brief love affair with the poet Stephen Spender, she met and fell in love with Joseph Buttinger, leader of the Aus-trian Revolutionary Socialists. With Buttinger, whom she eventually married, she took an even more active anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi role, repeatedly risking her life by offering her home as a safe house for dissidents on the run, providing desperately needed affidavits, transporting false passports taped to her body for those whose survival depended upon leaving Austria. Gardiner's account evokes the terror, the tension, the never-ending plotting and planning of a conspirator's life. At the same time she paints vivid pictures of the people whose lives she briefly touched—individuals in despair, frantically searching for countries of refuge, battling to keep their families together.
Anna Freud, a longtime friend of Gardi-ner's, writes in the foreword that two les-sons can be learned from this moving story: "one, that it is possible even for lone individuals to pit their strength successfully against the sinister forces of an unjust regime; and, two, that for every gang of evil-doers who take pleasure in hurting, harming, and destroying, there is always at least one 'just' man or woman ready to help, rescue, and sacrifice his or her own good for fellow-beings."
Muriel Gardiner, distinguished psychoanalyst and educator, has led a remarkably productive and rewarding life. Fol-lowing her graduation from Wellesley College in 1922, she studied in Italy and at Oxford and eventually entered analytic training in Vienna, where the events described in this book took place. After she returned to the United States she undertook several missions to Europe for the International Rescue Committee on behalf of refugees. In America she combined psychoanalytic practice with teaching and psychiatric consultant work. She edited a book about Freud's most famous case, The Wolf-Man by the Wolf-Man, whom she had known in Vienna, and subsequently wrote The Deadly Innocents: Portraits of Children Who Kill, based on her observations as a volunteer psychiatrist at several correctional facilities.
Gardiner's work has been recognized by numerous institutions in America, but perhaps her highest honor has come from the Austrian government; in 1980 Muriel Gardiner was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor, First Class, for Letters and Arts.
Advance praise for CODE NAME "MARY":
"CODE NAME 'MARY' is written by a woman so engagingly unpretentious that it is with a start that one realizes he has been reading the story of an authentic heroine of our times, of the anti-fascist struggle of the Thirties. Muriel Gardiner has given us a gripping account of how she, a wealthy young American studying in Vienna, came to be at the hub of underground socialist activity. She took enormous risks, smuggled in passports, handed out funds, spirited out militants. No self-styled thriller can match this book's story. There are no fantasies. Names are named. There are real socialists and communists as well as Nazis and fascists. They are recognizable and verifiable. This is what it was like. The book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand what it was to be an antifascist in Central Europe in the Thirties. It is, in addition, a most readable book."—Joseph Lash
A splendid book by a splendid woman! To read this modest and disciplined account of how Muriel Gar-diner, as a young student in Vienna, helped antifascists escape to safety—this is mcirally exhilarating. I believe Muriel Gardiner is a model for us all, and I endorse whole-heartedly the words of praise that Anna Freud has written in her preface." —Irving Howe
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