History is Phantasia | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. | 11 Min Read

January 5, 2024

No two persons ever read the same book.

Edmund Wilson

My grandfather passed away when I was 11 years old. He was a remarkable man, as I recall, and since I was raised by a single parent, he served as the most important male figure in my early life. At that time, I couldn’t fully appreciate, as I might now (having become a historian), just how rich and eventful his life must have been.

He was born as one of seven siblings in pre-Great War Austria. Herbert Freud emigrated to France in the 1930s to escape the increasingly obvious anti-Semitism of Central Europe. In Paris, he met my grandmother, Emina, or in her more Gallicized form, Emma. She was another recent immigrant who thought it best to leave Kishinev before becoming a victim of the next pogrom.

Herbert was a chemist who held several patents for processes related to the corrosion resistance of metals and alloys, particularly iron and zinc, through phosphating. He was also a member of the French Communist Party. During the Occupation, the Party provided him with fake identity papers, and for five years, he would be known as Jean Frasch,…

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Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, an advisory that supports schools and learning organizations to co-create, co-develop, co-stress test, and co-implement ideas that nurture the conditions for emergent learning. Benjamin is also the Head of Upper School at Green School, Bali. He was previously the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, one of the most prestigious and high-profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice-Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and now Bali, Indonesia. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin's outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.