Inge Schneier Hoffmann
May 16, 2021
Cambridge – Inge Schneier Hoffmann died on May 16 at her longtime home on Washington Avenue in Cambridge, MA.
She was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1929, the only child of her Jewish parents, Joseph and Szerina Schneier, who immigrated to the United States at the age of 11, after the annexation of Austria by the Nazi Germany in 1938. Narrowly escaping the Holocaust of 1940, they settled in Brooklyn, New York, where she grew up.
She obtained a BA from Bard College where she was a Schepp Foundation Fellow. In the first year, she studied at the University of Zurich then at the University of Geneva with Jean Piaget. In 1953, she obtained a Masters degree from Harvard University in International Affairs with a specialty in Psychology and then completed graduate studies in Paris at the Sorbonne with the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and the social theorist Herbert Marcuse. She was named a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard from 1969 to 1971 and trained in clinical psychology with Erik Erikson, with whom she later became a close friend, as well as his wife, Joan. For over 45 years, she was a lecturer at Harvard and taught various courses.
For five decades, Inge was a licensed psychologist specializing in helping creative people. She was cherished by her patients for her compassionate listening and her ability to recognize and encourage their creativity.
His passion was the study of how creative individuals use inner conflicts, traumas and other life challenges as sources of strength and inspiration. For several decades, she led a seminar at Harvard and the Cambridge Health Alliance entitled “Life Studies, Case Studies”, which attracted students from many fields. Some of them, like the late Mary Catherine Bateson, were already eminent scholars.
In addition to her intellectual gifts and accomplishments, she always had a love of the arts, acquired from her mother. She played the piano and was an accomplished soprano who sang Schubert’s lieder. She was a freelance fashion designer in Paris for Nina Ricci and loved to wear clothes with amazing color combinations and exotic fabrics.
She was also an accomplished artist, working primarily in oils and pastels. She received a painting grant from the Museum of Modern Art and has frequently contributed to art exhibitions at the Cambridge Art Association. Her house was filled with so many art books that she used stacks of them as side tables.
One of his most spectacular artistic creations was his spacious garden, which was an extraordinary montage of colors, shapes and scents. In spring and summer, she often called friends to appreciate what was blooming on a particular day. Together, they would share the bright, pale yellows of daffodils, the passionate reds of tulips, and the soft pinks of azaleas and rhododendrons. Also, she invited them to savor the scents of wisteria, peony, lily of the valley and viburnum. She said she was gardening by scent. In the fall, she invited friends to enjoy the fall colors of several Japanese maples, and in the winter to see the snow showcase the spruce, oak and weeping beech trees she had planted.
Another art form she excelled at was friendship. She had a large network of close friends in the United States and Europe. She called them her Wahlverwandten (German for “chosen parents”). She was in constant contact with her family of friends and always took the time to get together for a walk, an evening or a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.
Although she was very accomplished and had very refined tastes, she could easily relate to people of all ranks and circumstances in life. His compassion was accessible to all and his boundless generosity extended to all who needed it and to those who helped them.
For more than 50 years she was married to Stanley Hoffmann, university professor and founder of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, who died in 2015. They did not have children, but Inge was the godmother. of six children: Dr Ann Keniston, Sarah Keniston, Ari Saunders, Daphne Saunders, Aurora Becker and Lucy Hessman Wertheimer.
Her surviving blood relatives include Nurit Rinott in Israel, who is the daughter of her first cousin, Blanca, and daughters of Nurit, Michal and Ruth Rinott. Also in Israel, is a first cousin, Esther Rozei. A second cousin, Caren Granek, lives in Australia.
In addition to living in Cambridge for over 50 years, she had a summer residence in Rockport, Massachusetts, where she had many friends and frequently attended concerts at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.
A memorial rally for her will be held at Shalin Liu Center in Rockport, MA, 37 Main St. on July 24 at 2 p.m. ET. Her ashes will be buried with her husband’s ashes in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.
Published on July 16, 2021