Bental, Dr. Vicky

Born  Koln Germany 1906
Immigrated to Palestine 1936
Died in Haifa 1992

President of the IPS 1970-1975

Dr. Vicky Bental

Dr. Vicky Bental was born as Victoria Newman in Cologne, on November 9, 1906. At the age of five she moved with her parents to Berlin. Immediately upon graduating from the high-school she started her medical studies. As was customary at the time, she chose to study at different German universities, and for that purpose spent also some time in Vienna. There she became interested in psychology and in particular in psychoanalysis.
During her studies in Vienna she dissected a tuberculosis-infected lung and contracted the illness. As a consequence she was forced to suspend her medical studies and take a long curative treatment in Davos. In 1933 she returned to Berlin to continue her training at the university hospital, the Charité. During that time she developed strong contacts with Zionist circles in Berlin. There she met her husband, then called Arthur Blumental, who was an ardent Zionist determined to move to Eretz Yisrael (Palestine) long before Hitler’s ascent to power.
In 1935 Vicky received a laconic message from the Charité, telling her that in “the spirit of the time”, she could no longer continue her medical training. At the same year she travelled to Palestine in preparation for her immigration in March of 1936. Anticipating that she would not be able to work as a physician, she took cosmetics courses and even studied to become a midwife.
Two year after its immigration, the Blumental family (later to become Bental) moved to Haifa, where Vicky started her training as a psychoanalyst under the supervision of Dr. Berta (Betty) Gruenspan. During the same time she worked at the psychiatric clinic “Blumental” (no family relation) in Haifa. She finished her training as a psychoanalyst and received the permit to practice as an independent psychoanalyst in 1949. The Israeli ministry of Health recognized her training in 1950 and granted her the license to practice as a Physician and carry the Dr. title. In 1963 she received certification as a “specialist in psychiatry”.
Vicky started her activity as an educator immediately upon finishing her training. She taught “introduction to psychoanalysis and dynamic treatment” courses to educators in the Haifa region and from Kibbutzim from the area (mainly the Hashomer Hatza’ir Kibbutzim). In addition she taught “introduction to psychology” at the teacher-training college “Oranim” right upon its establishment by the Kibbutz-movement. In the 1960s she started working as an adviser to “Aliyat Hano’ar” (responsible the young immigrants) and guided social workers.
In 1953 Vicky participated for the first time in a world-congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association. On that occasion she met Anna Freud, who even bothered to pass on her positive impression to Dr. Gruenspan. Her activity in the framework of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society included regular meeting of the “Haifa group” and frequent meetings in Jerusalem. Her activity culminated in her election to the presidency of the Israeli Association in 1970. During her tenure she hosted Dr. Leo Rangell, the first president of the International Association ever to visit Israel (in 1972).
In 1987 Vicky started helping out as a volunteer at the “Amcha” organization, supporting holocaust survivors.
Vicky was healthy and fully active until her brain stroke of which she died during the Passover feast, on April 21, 1992. She was survived by three children and eleven grandchildren.