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Dr. Muriel Gardiner, Anti-Nazi Activist, Dies

February 7, 1985

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) _ Dr. Muriel Gardiner, an author and psychoanalyst who helped anti-Fascist dissidents flee Austria during the 1930s, has died at the age of 83.

Miss Gardiner was believed by some to be the model for Julia in the Lillian Hellman story that later was made into a movie. Miss Hellman, however, denied that before her death.

Miss Gardiner, who lived in Pennington for 45 years before moving to Hightstown a month ago, died Wednesday at The Medical Center at Princeton.

She was a wealthy medical student studying to be an analyst at the Vienna Medical School when she was drawn into the resistance movement against Nazism in Austria.

She met and fell in love with Joseph Buttinger, leader of the Austrian Revolutionary Socialists, whom she later married. She kept her maiden name professionally.

She offered her home to fleeing dissidents, provided affidavits to them and transported false passports taped to her body for those leaving Austria, according to her book, ″Code Name ’Mary,‴ published by the Yale University Press in 1983. Her longtime friend, Anna Freud, the daughter of Sigmund Freud, wrote the book’s foreward.

Literary critic Irving Howe has called her ″one of the world’s true modern heroines.″

Miss Gardiner graduated from Wellesley College in 1922, studied in Italy and at Oxford University before studying in Vienna.

The character Julia and Miss Gardiner were both wealthy young Americans who attended Oxford and the the University of Vienna Medical School and were involved in anti-Fascist underground work in the ’30s. The major differences between the two were that Miss Gardiner failed to persuade Freud to undertake her analysis, did not lose a leg and lived to tell her story.

Miss Gardiner’s publisher suggested that the Lillian Hellman story, contained in the book ″Pentimento,″ was based on her, the New York Times said today. Miss Hellman denied it, but Miss Gardiner noted that while she and Miss Hellman had never met, they had the same lawyer.

After her return to the United States, Miss Gardiner combined psychoanalytic practice with teaching and psychiatric consultant work and edited a book about Freud’s most famous case, ″The Wolf-Man by the Wolf Man,″ whom she had known in Vienna.

She wrote ″The Deadly Innocents: Portraits of Children Who Kill,″ based on her observations as a volunteer psychiatrist at public institutions in New Jersey.

In 1980, she was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor, First Class, for Letters and Arts.

She was the daughter of two wealthy Chicago families. Her father, Edward Morris, was the son of Nelson Morris, the builder of the Union Stockyards in Chicago, and her mother, Helen Swift, was the daughter of Gustavus Swift, founder of the Swift Meat Packing Co. and known as ″the Yankee of the yards.″

Miss Gardiner was a driving force behind the creation of the Freud Museum in Hempstead, England, expected to open in early 1986 under the auspices of the Sigmund Freud Archives in New York. She was instrumental in founding the Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies.

Survivors include her husband and a daughter.

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