picture upper left: Synevir Lake, Ukraine (Galicia), photo: Adobe Stock; lower right: Rangeley Lakes, USA (Maine), photo: Russ Considine

Home coming: The rural area, where Wilhelm Reich grew up, oddly resembles the place, where he eventually settled in the USA and was buried.

1907: Wilhelm Reich at the age of 10

During that time, I also learned to ride, which I enjoyed very much, and went hunting—in secret, of course. Our estate included a fish pond of approximately five hundred hectares which offered magnificent opportunity for hunting wild ducks and otters. My father had always been a keen hunter, and a Sunday never passed without the gentlemen from the nearby county seat and county court coming to visit us, usually with their wives. Since I would have liked to participate in everything but was forbidden to go hunting, for fear of some mishap, I struck out independently. The employees whose task was to protect the fish pond from poachers were equipped with guns and I bribed one of them with fifty heller to row out with me. He agreed, and how proud I was when, after missing several times, I saw a wild duck in the water, dead. But now what? I could not admit that I had shot it myself and therefore persuaded the keeper to accompany me home and claim that he had shot the duck. That was the way it started, and from then on, I went hunting frequently, although only in my father’s absence. 

Later, I succeeded in convincing Father to allow me to shoot occasionally with him. How happy I was when I received permission. Soon I was lord of the hunting grounds and could even keep up with the hunting parties. Eating the game which I had shot and which was so beautifully prepared by Mother was my greatest pleasure for quite some time (Reich, 2005).

Reich, W. (2005). Passion of Youth: An Autobiography, 1897-1922. (M. Higgins, editor, P. Schmitz, translation.) (First edition). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.