Irene Bloomfield was a British psychoanalyst and a group analyst who trained a group of her pupils in Prague. She was born 1918 in Germany and left the country together with her parents to escape the Nazi threat. She was educated in Sweden and in England. To install and support understanding among groups of people was the motto of her life. She led psychotherapeutical groups uniting people of different ethnic origins and skin colors, and offered psychotherapy to refugees, victims of violence, Holocaust survivors, prisoners and prison employees. She led joint trainings in psychotherapy for rabbis and spiritual leaders of different religions and she co-founded and led The International Association for Pastoral Care and Counseling. She lectured and published psychotherapeutical studies and interpreted some Biblical texts from the psychoanalytical viewpoint.
During the last seven years of her life she regularly visited Prague where she (together with Gaby Glassman) led workshops for psychotherapists specialized in the Holocaust trauma treatment in association with the NGO “Tolerance and Civic Society”. The project originally called “Families after the Holocaust” was later renamed „Rafael Centrum“, to pay tribute to an establishment of the same name which Irene Bloomfield founded in London. Later, in 2006, also “Rafael Institute” was founded to provide professionals with training in a similar humanist spirit, inspired by Irene.
Irene Bloomfield died in 2001 in the middle of her work. She had a sense of friendship, of humor and of the joy of life, and she also had a sporting spirit. She incited hope in people and impersonated the image of a righteous person.
Since 2003, in memory of Irene and in accordance with her ideals, the Prix Irene has been awarded each year by her disciples to individuals who succeed in fostering peace among human groups.