Bruno Bettelheim ( Vienna 1903 - 1990) was a writer and child psychologist. When his father died, he had to leave university to take care of the family lumber business. After ten years he did go back however, and earned a degree in philosophy, writing a dissertation relating to the history of art. He was interested in psychology for much of his life but never studied it formally.
As a Jew in Austria, he spent time in the concentration camps, but his way was bought out, as was possible before the war started, and he went to the United States. Here he eventually set himself up as a professor of psychology, claiming he had the relevant training, which was possible because the Nazis were destroying the records.
He spent the most significant part of his life as director of the Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago, a home for emotionally disturbed children. He wrote books on both normal and abnormal child psychology, and was well respected by many during his lifetime. His book The Uses of Enchantment recast fairy tales in terms of the strictest Freudian psychology, sometimes to unintentionally hilarious effect.
He suffered from depression throughout his life, and killed himself in 1990, six years after his wife died of cancer.
Bettelheim was of the since-disproved opinion that autism is caused by bad parenting, and wrote a book about this entitled The Empty Fortress.
In his "Lexikon der Fälschungen" (Dictionary of fraud) German author Werner Fuld claims that Mr. Bettelheim's biographical data is for a large part sheer fiction.