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RE: Nazis and Waldorf  Peter Staudenmaier
 Sep 03, 2006 11:35 PDT 

Hi Pete,

 This is of special interest to me because Harlan, on Wikipedia, claims
that no legitimate historian has ever connected Steiner to racism or, by
extension (of his comment), Nazism.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to follow the wikipedia exchanges. The notion
that historians have not "connected Steiner to racism" is mistaken.
Historian Helmut Zander, for example, has written two very good articles on
that topic. I'll give you the citations below. Harlan reads German.

 It would be good to have references
that I can cite to demonstrate this to be false.

Most of the literature is unsurprisingly in German. The two best treatments

Helmut Zander, “Der Weltgeist auf dem Weg durch die Rassengeschichte.
Anthroposophische Rassentheorie” in Stefanie von Schnurbein and Justus
Ulbricht, eds., Völkische Religion und Krisen der Moderne (Würzburg:
Königshausen & Neumann, 2001)

Helmut Zander, “Sozialdarwinistische Rassentheorien aus dem okkulten
Untergrund des Kaiserreichs” in Uwe Puschner, Walter Schmitz, and Justus
Ulbricht, eds., Handbuch zur ‘Völkischen Bewegung’ 1871-1918 (Munich: Saur,

There is also a very good earlier study by a theologian, not a historian:
Georg Schmid, “Die Anthroposophie und die Rassenlehre Rudolf Steiners
zwischen Universalismus, Eurozentrik und Germanophilie” in Joachim Müller,
ed., Anthroposophie und Christentum: Eine kritisch-konstruktive
Auseinandersetzung (Freiburg: Paulus, 1995)

As for the connections between anthroposophy and Nazism, historians have
examined these as well. I'll give one particularly even-handed example:
Wolfgang Jacobeit and Christoph Kopke, Die biologisch-dynamische
Wirtschaftsweise im KZ (Berlin: Trafo, 1999), a study of the network of
biodynamic plantations established by the SS at several concentration camps.

I think the subject of greater interest, however, is probably Waldorf
schools in the Nazi era. Harlan has already read the best historical article
on that topic, by Achim Leschinsky. I am about to leave for a year of
research in Germany and don't yet know what my internet access will be like,
but when I have an opportunity I will try to post a brief summary on this
theme, based on the variety of anthroposophical sources I have recommended
several times lately.

Greetings to all,

Peter S.
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