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RE: holocaust denial on anthroposophy tomorrow list  Robert Mason
 Mar 18, 2006 11:08 PST 

To All:

Once in a while I scan through the public WC
list, and the other day I noticed that my name
popped up. So, I'm joining now, hoping to
bring a little clarification.

Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

 
 Mason urges his readers to visit the website
of the Lochmann Verlag, a far-right
Swiss/German anthroposophist publisher, and
then recommends the work of Russian
anthroposophist Gennadij Bondarew, whose books
are available through the Lochmann Verlag.<<

Robert Mason writes:

I know Willy Lochmann only slightly. We have
exchanged a few emails, mostly in connection
with Bondarew, Gordienko, and the internal
politics of the Dornach Anthro Society. I
understand German very poorly; his English is
much better, though not quite fluent. So we
struggled along in simple English with a few
German words thrown in here and there, and we
managed to understand each other fairly well.

About Lochmann being an Anthroposophist: In
the spiritual sense, I believe that is true
enough, though I’m not sure about the formal,
organizational sense. I seem to recall that he
once said that he had been expelled from the
Paracelsus Branch, which I would assume is the
local Basel branch of the Dornach Society. So
I don't know whether he is a member of the
Dornach Society or perhaps some other Anthro
society (there are actually several Anthro
societies).

About Lochmann-Verlag being "far-right": The
term *far-right* has little, if any, cognitive
meaning; mostly it's a pejorative. I don't
recall discussing politics as such with him,
but Lochmann being an Anthroposophist, I would
assume that he is (basically, in the most
important ways) a good social threefolder. The
Left-Right dichotomy is practically meaningless
in relation to the concept of the "threefold
commonwealth" -- or worse than meaningless,
really; it obscures the really important
things. The important things are the
functional separation of the legal-rights,
economic, and spiritual-cultural spheres of
society, with "equality" pertaining to the
legal-rights, "fraternity" pertaining to the
economic, and "freedom" pertaining to the
spiritual-cultural.

As to Bondarew being an Anthroposophist: I
have had no direct contact with him, but I
certainly believe him to be very much an Anthro
in the spiritual sense, though I don't know
whether he now belongs to any Anthro
organization. He was expelled from the Dornach
Society in 1998. I recall that he signed one
of the manifestoes of the "Arbeitskreis
Zeitfragen", but I don't know whether he is a
member.

Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

 
 Both Lochmann and Bondarew are holocaust
deniers. Indeed the very same book that Mason
recommends has been severely criticized by
German anthroposophists for its antisemitic
content and its denial of the holocaust
(Bondarew claims, among many other things, that
Jews invented the gas chambers). I have a copy
of the German edition of the book (from
Lochmann), the same edition Mason recommends,
and it includes dozens of marked ellipses,
passages that were removed from the German
edition to avoid legal repercussions -- it is
illegal in Switzerland and Germany to deny the
holocaust -- but its message is nevertheless
unmistakable.<<

Robert writes:

It's hard to discuss this question briefly,
because, again, the term *holocaust denier* is
mostly pejorative. The "Holocaust" is a
complex historical question, which is still
very much "charged" in present-day politics.
As noted, the public expression of a "wrong"
opinion on this question in much of Europe can
put one in prison for a long time.

About Lochmann: I have access to some of his
writings, but they are mostly in German, so I
have never been able to read them with much
precise understanding, much to my regret. I
don't recall any of his writings on the
"Holocaust" as such, but perhaps they may have
slipped my memory. (I do seem to recall
something about Jürgen Graf in one of the
articles, but I don't find this in my papers
now.) If Mr. Staudenmaier would cite and quote
the relevant statements of Lochmann (in English,
on the Internet), perhaps I could comment.

About Bondarew: The alleged anti-Semitism in
Bondarew's book *Anthroposophie auf der
Kreuzung . . .* was cited in the official
statement as the putative cause of his
expulsion from the Dornach Society. I say
*putative cause* for several reasons: There
was confusion in that the official statement
was signed by head of the "Vorstand" of the
Society and the head of the "High School",
despite the fact that membership in the Society
and in the High School are not the same; the
criteria for membership are different. Also,
there is no apparent anti-Semitism in the book;
the expulsion statement did not cite a single
anti-Semitic word. Further, there was no
explanation of why the authorship of a book
should be grounds for expulsion from a society
supposedly dedicated to cultural freedom.
And -- a somewhat different explanation for
the expulsion was attributed in a Society
publication to MSB: that the expulsion was
also at the request of the Russian Anthro
Society, for its protection -- but both MSB
and the Russian Society later denied this
story. There is another story around, that
another member of the Dornach Vorstand,
Zimmermann, said that the expulsion was to
prevent a split in the Russian Society.

I have two copies of the book, both in English,
titled *The Crisis of Civilization*. One is a
somewhat spotty translation from Lochmann
Verlag (1998), and the other is a revised
translation with a long chapter added on "Good
and Evil"; this edition is in two volumes,
spiral bound, lacking the original
illustrations, with proofreader's marks, and
with two loose pages containing (translated)
material that was cut from the German editions.
(I got this proofreader's copy from the
Wellspring Bookshop in London.)

It's been a few years since I read the book all
the way through, but I don't recall any
statement "that Jews invented the gas
chambers". (I vaguely recall some discussion
that gassing was first used as a method of
state murder by the CHeKa, by driving prisoners
in vans exhausted to the interior.) I could
check this allegation if Mr. Staudenmaier would
give the exact quote, citing the chapter and
section.

I think it's fair to say that Bondarew does ask
questions about the "official" version (or
versions) of the "Holocaust" history. I would
guess that some passages were deleted because
the Swiss censorship laws are so draconian that
even asking questions could land one in prison.
I'm not sure; I have never asked Herr Lochmann
about it. But I don't think that Bondarew made
any firm "denial" of the "Holocaust". On the
contrary, in the course of a rather involved
discussion, he made this statement (quoted from
the loose pages of the deleted passages):

"I am not expressing a final judgement on
whether the Holocaust happened or not. I
simply don't have such a judgement. And
previously I had not the slightest doubt that
the Holocaust happened. But now I very much
want somebody to explain to me the meaning of
these forged photographs and documents -- then
the exponents of the existence of the Holocaust
would gain in me another fellow-believer, and
of course not only one. For now I remain
deeply convinced that this question is in need
of study."

Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

 
 Willy Lochmann, for his part, sees it as his
duty to break down the unfortunate taboos
against questioning the reality of the
holocaust.<<

Robert writes:

If so, I think that this is a very laudable
effort on Lochmann's part -- for the usual
"liberal" reasons in favor of freedom of
speech, of the press, and of intellectual
inquiry. (And in this case especially so,
since the "politically correct" version of the
"Holocaust" is dubious at best, and since it is
being manipulated for detrimental political-
power ends.) It's a pity that this battle for
cultural freedom still has to be fought in the
supposedly free countries of Europe.

Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

 
 From time to time Lochmann sends around
emails to his customers and associates; one of
the more recent of these (from August 2005) is
a lengthy piece about Swiss holocaust denier
Jürgen Graf, currently in Russian 'exile' in
order to evade prosecution in Switzerland.<<

Robert writes:

Is Mr. Staudenmaier implying that those who
deny, or even question, the "politically
correct" versions of history should be in
prison?

Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

 
 With this background in mind, a look at
Mason's post should be worthwhile for those who
think that criticism of anthroposophical
antisemitism is antiquated or exaggerated.<<

Robert writes:

I don't see that Mr. Staudenmaier has
demonstrated the existence of any
"Anthroposophical anti-Semitism" here, in so
far as the term *anti-Semitism* has any meaning
other than the pejorative. I would think that
he has studied enough to know that racial
hatred of any sort is contrary to the spirit of
Anthroposophy. (Of course, all kinds of people
can call themselves *Anthroposophists*, and
Anthroposophists, like any human beings, are
subject to human failings.)

I am aware that the discussion of the alleged
"racism" in Anthroposophy has been ongoing for
years, and not only on this e-list. I did not
join this list with the intention of taking
part in any continuation of that discussion; I
think it has been pretty well "talked to
death". I would like to state that I believe
that this book of Bondarew's is a tremendous
achievement and deserves to be widely read and
taken seriously. (This is not to say that I
necessarily agree with every word in it; I
could quibble here and there.)

In the first edition Bondarew wrote that he was
addressing a very limited readership: not just
Anthroposophists but only those Anthros who
understand well the methodological foundations
of Anthroposophy. But in the second edition he
expressed surprise that even some non-Anthro
readers had reacted favorably. -- Though
Anthroposophical research is conducted through
modes of consciousness different from (though
not incompatible with) that which ordinarily
obtains in our scientific-technological
culture, the truth of the results of such
research can be contacted and grasped by all
readers of sound mind who bring into their
reading a good will to understand and a healthy
sense of reality.

Rudolf Steiner explains in the opening pages of
*Knowledge of Higher Worlds* that, since it is
the soul that exercises cognition and feelings
are food for the soul, a soul that is permeated
with the fundamental mood/feeling of reverence
is much better able to "cognize" than is a
soul that is starved of such healthful feelings.
Elsewhere he states flatly that Anthroposophy
can be grasped only through the power of love.
-- I take it that many or most people on this
list are "skeptics" of sorts. I would note
that skepticism is the suspension of judgement,
which also includes negative judgement: a
negative believer is not a true skeptic. And,
as Sextus Empiricus said, the skeptic keeps on
searching. I hope that the "skeptics" here
will be true skeptics and bring to their
"searching" into Anthroposophy the soul-warming
mood of reverence and love for Truth. I would
expect that, with a good will to understand,
truly searching skeptics will eventually find
surprising "cognitions" in their study of
Anthroposophy, including the work of Bondarew.

I speak as one who has been the most thorough-
going skeptic I could be, and as one to whom
such feelings as reverence do not come easily
or naturally. I can say from experience that
when one "keeps searching" and "works on
oneself", one can experience changes in one's
understanding and soul, such that one would
hardly have dreamed at the beginning of one's
search.

With good wishes to all sincere seekers,

Robert Mason

PS: I get little time online, so if anyone
wishes to reply to this post and get a
response from me, please keep the subject
line the same as above and allow at least
a few days for my response.


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