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De psychochiroloog Julius Spier en de handleeskunde in het interbellum

The German hand-reader Julius Spier (1887-1942) played an important role in the life of the Dutch Jewish diarist Etty Hillesum (1914-1943). This thesis argues that instead of being a charlatan - as he has become viewed through Hillesum's writings -, Spier was a talented hand-reader who 'psychologized' hand-reading.

Alexandra Nagel
30 January 2020

Under the influence of C.G. Jung, Spier had parted from the long tradition of hand-reading to predict people the future. Spier used the inspection of a pair of hands to advise the owner of those hands on his or her path of individuation.During the Interbellum, hand-reading was a well-known practice in Germany. There were other serious hand-readers and a range of literature was published about the study of hands.The situation in the Netherlands was quite different. The Dutch had less interest in hand-reading. They merely considered it a fortune-telling practice and a fun pastime. However, during the 1930s the notion of hand-reading altered, and was viewed more seriously. Spier played a role in this development.Several of Spier's Jewish students fled Berlin on time, and continued to practice hand-reading in their new hometowns. Through them, and the publication of Spier's manuscript, his influence reaches further than usually is anticipated.

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