Walter Freud

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Anton Walter Freud
Born(1921-04-03)3 April 1921
Vienna, Austria
Died8 February 2004(2004-02-08) (aged 82)
Oxted, Surrey, England
Resting placeGolders Green Crematorium, London
NationalityAustrian (1921-1947)
British (1947-2004)
EducationLoughborough College
OccupationChemical engineer
Years active1946–1977
EmployerBP Chemicals
Spouse(s)Annette Krarup
ChildrenDavid Freud
Ida Freud
Caroline Freud
Parent(s)Jean-Martin Freud
Ernestine Drucker
RelativesSigmund Freud (grandfather)
Sophie Freud (sister)
Military career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1941–1946
Service number328165
UnitRoyal Pioneer Corps
Special Operations Executive
Battles/warsWorld War II

Anton Walter Freud (3 April 1921 – 8 February 2004) was a chemical engineer and a member of the Royal Pioneer Corps and the British Special Operations Executive. He was a grandson of Sigmund Freud and escaped with him and other family members from Vienna after the Anschluss.


Freud was born in Vienna in 1921. He was the first child of Sigmund Freud’s eldest son Jean-Martin (Martin), a lawyer, and his wife Ernestine Drucker. He was named after Anton von Freund, a colleague of his grandfather.

After leaving Vienna in March 1938[1] Freud's parents separated and he and his father went to Britain whilst his mother and sister Sophie went to Paris before emigrating to the USA.[2] While he was a student at Loughborough College, he and his father were interned as enemy aliens in May 1940. He was first held in a prison in Leicester and then on the Isle of Man. In July, he was deported to Australia aboard the HMT Dunera.

He was allowed to return to the United Kingdom in October 1941 due to a refinement in internment policy. He then joined the Royal Pioneer Corps in which he worked for eighteen months, before he was allowed to join the Special Operations Executive in 1943, due in part to his being a native German speaker. In April 1945 he parachuted into Styria in the Austrian Alps to help establish a British presence in advance of the approaching Red Army. Though he became separated from his comrades he managed to bluff his way into the strategically important Zeltweg airfield; posing as a representative of the advancing British Eighth Army, he convinced the Commandant to surrender it to the allied forces.[3]

After the war he was an investigator with the War Crimes Investigation Unit. He was the first person to interrogate Bruno Tesch of Tesch & Stabenow, the firm responsible for supplying much of the Zyklon B which was used in Nazi extermination camps. Freud was also involved in the trial of Alfried Krupp of Krupp Industries, indicted for the use of slave labor, and he was also involved in the investigation of the murder of twenty children in the basement of the Bullenhuser Damm school in Hamburg.[4]

After leaving active duty in September 1946 with the rank of major, he married Annette Krarup, a Danish civil servant he met in Copenhagen during the Krupp investigation. After naturalising as a British subject in January 1947[5] Freud returned to Loughborough, where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He was hired by British Oxygen Corporation, then went to work for British Nylon Spinners in Pontypool. He was recruited by British Hydrocarbons based in London in 1957, which after a series of mergers became part of BP Chemicals where he remained until his retirement at the age of 55 in 1977.[6]

In 1994 he returned to Vienna for the first time since his enforced exile as a guest of the Austrian government who marked his achievement in liberating the Zeltweg airfield by hosting a dinner in his honour.[7] His last residence in Britain was in Oxted, Surrey.[8] Walter Freud and his wife are buried in the "Freud Corner" at Golders Green Crematorium, London.[9]

He is the father of David Freud, Baron Freud.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ van der Vat, Dan (9 March 2004). "Walter Freud obituary". The Guardian.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Freud, Sophie; Freud, Ernestine Drucker. Living in the shadow of the Freud family. pp. 434–435.
  3. ^ Fry, Helen (2009). Freuds' War. Stroud: The History Press, pp. 161-65
  4. ^ "Walter Freud". The Daily Telegraph. 11 February 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "No. 37908". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 March 1947. p. 1264.
  6. ^ "Walter Freud".
  7. ^ Freud, David (2006) Freud in the City, London: BFP, p. 177
  8. ^ "Obituary: Walter Freud". The Times. No. 68007. 25 February 2004. p. 34.
  9. ^ "Photograph of Urn containing Sigmund Freud". The Guardian. 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014.