Josephine Klein

Academic and psychotherapist. Refugee from Holland when it was invaded by the Nazis.

As a child she had been a refugee, and in 1999 she founded the Refugee Therapy Centre in London, with Aida Alayarian and others. There they established a course to enable refugees to become counsellors, in line with Josephine’s conception that therapists and counsellors should share language, culture and experience with their patients and help them better to contribute to society.

Born in Düsseldorf, Germany, Josephine was the daughter of Simon Klein, a salesman, and his Dutch wife Marie (nee Norden). The family were of Jewish origin but largely secular. They were living in Amsterdam at the time of the Nazi invasion in May 1940, and fled shortly afterwards, in an open boat. After six days at sea with little fresh water, they were picked up by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Malcolm, and Josephine never forgot the warmth of the captain and crew. Many of her relatives who did not flee did not survive.

The family moved to Chester in the hope of travelling to the US by ship from Liverpool, but were unable to do so. Josephine did well at the Queen’s school, Chester, which, together with some local people, provided the support necessary for her to go to university. In four years, she gained two degrees, simultaneously, a BA in French at University College London and a first in sociology at LSE.

After her period in youth work, Josephine was a lecturer in social studies at Birmingham University (1949-62), then had three years as a research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and went on to Sussex University, as reader in social relations (1965-70). For the next four years she was director of the course at Goldsmiths’, and then undertook 30 years’ private practice as a psychotherapist. Even after that she continued to supervise trainee psychotherapists.

Friends and colleagues valued her wisdom and warmth on walks and at concerts, sharing highs and lows in other people’s lives and helping them overcome adversity.

She is survived by two nieces and a nephew.

• Josephine Faniella Henny Klein, psychologist and psychotherapist, born 17 October 1926; died 13 November 2018

I welcome comments and criticism

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.