Born in Frankfurt, Erik Erikson's lifelong interest in the psychology of identity may be traced to his childhood. He was born on June 15, 1902 as a result of his mother's extramarital affair, and the circumstances of his birth were concealed from him in his childhood. His Danish-born mother, Karla Abrahamsen, came from a prominent Jewish family in Copenhagen, her mother Henrietta died when Karla was only 13. Abrahamsen's father, Josef, was a merchant in dried goods. Karla's older brothers Einar, Nicolai, and Axel were active in local Jewish charity and helped maintain a free soup kitchen for indigent Jewish immigrants from Russia.
Since Karla Abrahamsen was officially married to Jewish stockbroker Waldemar Isidor Salomonsen at the time, her son, born in Germany, was registered as Erik Salomonsen (Karla had not seen Waldemar Salomonsen for several years before Erikson's birth). There is no more information about his biological father, except that he was a Dane and his given name probably was Erik. It is also suggested that he was married at the time that Erikson was conceived. Following her son's birth, Karla trained to be a nurse, moved to Karlsruhe and in 1904 married a Jewish pediatrician Theodor Homburger. In 1909 Erik Salomonsen became Erik Homburger and in 1911 he was officially adopted by his stepfather.
The development of identity seems to have been one of Erikson's greatest concerns in his own life as well as in his theory. During his childhood and early adulthood he was known as Erik Homberger, and his parents kept the details of his birth a secret. He was a tall, blond, blue-eyed boy who was raised in the Jewish religion. At temple school, the kids teased him for being a Nordic; at grammar school, they teased him for being Jewish.
 Psychoanalytic experience and training
Erikson was a student and teacher of arts. While teaching at a private school in Vienna, he became acquainted with Anna Freud, the... [continues]
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