Obituary for Dr. Sylvia Frenkl

Helping to shape the world with the power of Psychodrama

With deep sorrow in our hearts we have to share with our membership the sad news oft the passing away of our supervisor Sylvia Frenkl, who died on August 18 after a long illness. With Sylvia Frenkl we are losing one of our members and activists from the very beginnings of our associations activities.

Sylvia Frenkl belonged to the first upper level group finished in 1989 in Hungary by Ildikó Mävers. At that time Ildikó was already thinkink of starting a training of Psychodrama for native Hungarian speakers in Romania – while Romanians Dictator Ceausescu was still trying to suppress the uprisings in his country.

After passing the colloquium under the leadership of Dr. Grete Leutz Sylvia was willing to join Ildikós vision of using psychodrama to overcome the consequensences of dictatorship and communism in the countries behind the iron curtain.

Our association – founded in 1989 to support people on their way into the democratic community of states in Europe by conveying the values and the method of Psychodrama – got an invitation of the renowned psychotherapists Dr. Jenö-László Vargha and Jenö Dósa for the installation of the first Hungarian speaking psychodrama group in Romania. This group was run by the Hungarian Psychodramatists of the first generation Dr. Kamilla Sarkady and Dr. Klári Gallus in Transylvania. Almost at the same time our association started also a Romanian speaking training group run by Hilde Gött, who continued with a Romanian speaking upper level group while Olga Kónya and Sylvia Frenkl were delegated by our Association to lead the Hungarian speaking upper level group. Already deeply convinced of the effectiveness of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Grouppsychotherapy for the individual development and the democratic development of the society Hungarian and Romanian speaking basic level graduates of the first generation established together in 1995 the Society of Psychodrama „J.L.Moreno“ (SPJLM) in Romania – advised and accompanied by Hilde Gött on the basis of the statues of our association. All those involved trainers were driven by the mission to overcome repression, the consequences of decades of dictatorship and to strengthen the rights of minorities. In this spirit, a common colloquium of both upper level graduates took place in 1999.

In our 30th anniversary book Sylvia Frenkl wrote in 2019 under the heading Two Ethnic Groups, an old conflict and the power of psychodrama: „ For me, ever since it´s an expressed great pride that the members of the Romanian group who simultaneously completed their training led by Hilde Gött, started to lead groups with our trainees. This is the first time that a real Hungarian-Romanian cooperation has taken place!“

Sylvia Frenkl was a pillar of the bridge to overcome this old ethnic conflict, which in early days oft the Psychodrama work in Romania was not even allowed to be named as such. For her pioneering work and her special involvement both as a trainer and supervisor in the early years of history of Psychodrama in Romania, Sylvia Frenkl was awarded the title of honorary member of the Romanian Society of Psychodrama „J.L.Moreno“ (SPJLM).

We will remember Sylvia with her clarity, her sincerity, her commitment to democracy. We are grateful to have known her and share the painful loss with our colleagues from the Hungarian Psychodráma Association (Magyar Pszichodráma Egyesület), with the colleagues from our associated member SPJLM and with her family. We will try to carry on her moral compass to build bridges that need to be built to enable mutual respect and acceptance as the foundation of democracy. Thank you for your passion in using Psychodrama as it should be used at its best in the sense of J.L.Moreno, dear Sylvia! Rest in peace!