Frankl was a respected psychiatrist and neurologist who founded logotherapy and wrote an influential book called Man's Search for Meaning in 1946.
He had only recently been liberated from a concentration camp in which he had been imprisoned for several years. The Nazis killed his entire family, including his pregnant wife, his brother, both his parents, and many other relatives.
What Frankl witnessed and experienced during his incarceration led him to conclude that "everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
He wrote that those prisoners who managed to survive the camps also tended to be the ones who sought to share the little they had, a comforting word, a crust of bread, or an act of simple kindness with others.
He concluded that without purpose of meaning, our spirit diminishes and we become more vulnerable to physical and mental stress.
The Viktor Frankl Museum will be based in his former apartment in Vienna’s 9th district, at Mariannengasse 1. He lived there until his death at the age of 92, in 1997.
It was there that he completed his thesis on the human person as a spiritual being, capable of defeating the worst conditions as soon and as long as he finds meaning in life.
The museum will be open every Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, from 3:00pm to 8:00pm. On Thursday March 26th, to mark the opening, it will be possible to visit the museum for free, between midday and 9:00pm.
Johanna Schechner and Heidemarie Zürner, who founded the existing Viktor Frankl Centre, said that the need for a dedicated museum became obvious as besides seminar guests the centre receives around 10,000 visitors a year who are all interested in learning more about his life and work.