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2446Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Rudolf Hess

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  • Peter Staudenmaier
    Feb 25, 2004
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      Hi Daniel, you wrote:

      "Earlier you stated that Rudolf Hess is an example of a prominent Nazi who was simultaneously a follower of Steiner. I was hoping you could elaborate on this. I don't find it mentioned in most histories of the era. Perhaps you could share the evidence that you have uncovered that would support this contention."
      Sure. The most abundant evidence is contained in two anthroposophist sources: Arfst Wagner's seminal five-volume collection Dokumente und Briefe zur Geschichte der Anthroposophischen Bewegung und Gesellschaft in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus, and Uwe Werner's book Anthroposophen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus. Both Wagner and Werner (the latter more strenuously than the former) argue that the evidence they present does not indicate any personal sympathy for anthroposophy on Hess's part, and Wagner reprints a letter from Hess's wife saying that Hess had no interest in anthroposophy. I think some their interpretations of the documentary material are erroneous, and I think the letter from Ilse Hess is of dubious value as evidence. In any case, you will find a lot of material there on Hess's role in protecting anthroposophists and their projects during the Third Reich.
      As for non-anthroposophist literature, James Webb writes that "by his own admission" Hess "was sympathetic to Steiner's doctrines." Webb reports that Hess told the British doctor who examined him after he flew to Scotland "that he had for years been interested in Steiner's anthroposophy." (Webb, The Occult Establishment p. 308) In another work Webb writes that “Rudolf Hess was a devotee of Rudolf Steiner” (Webb, The Harmonious Circle p. 186). Various observers report that Hess structured his diet and his health care around anthroposophist beliefs (see Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel, Hess: A Biography pp. 64-66; Albert Speer, Errinerungen pp. 133-134; Wulf Schwarzwäller, Rudolf Hess pp. 112-115). Walter Schellenberg relays a report from the German intelligence services describing Hess as a “silent patron and follower of the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner.” (Schellenberg, Memoiren p. 160) Anna Bramwell writes that “Hess was a follower of Rudolf Steiner” (Bramwell, Ecology in the 20th Century p. 197). There are several other references of this sort in the literature.

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