--- In email@example.com
, Robert Mason
With all due respect for Herr Menzer, because he's trying, I must
point out that there's a big hole in his logic. He says that the
Society refounded at Chrsitmas 1923 was the AAG (General
Anthroposophical Society). He also discusses the statutes. The problem
with his thesis is: Why do those statutes - as well as all the
membership cards which Rudolf Steiner and the rest of the Vorstand
presidents signed - read "Anthroposophical Society" and not "General
Anthroposophical Society"? And.. the GAS, which he correctly describes
as the re-named Building Society on Feb. 8, 1925, was a completely
different Society with statutes having nothing to do with the
Christmas ones. And one of its sub-sections was the "Administration of
the A.S." Btw the present Vorstand finally recognized all this, but
their attempt at correction can only be called foolish...and costly.
So now nothing has changed.
> To All:
> I just received this English text of the first
> part of Rudolf Menzer's history of the confusion
> surrounding the founding of the AAG (GAS). This
> text was published in German by Willy Lochmann:
> For those who don't know, there is a hot debate
> between Menzer and that other historian of the
> founding of the AAG, Rudolf Saacke:
> He is the author of *Die Formfrage der
> Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft und die Innere
> Opposition gegen Rudolf Steiner*, the recent
> Part 2 of which appears in his current web
> Here is the first part of Menzer's side of the
> story, text below.
> Robert Mason
> The General Anthroposophical Society of Christmas 1923 - What
happened to it? - And why may the facts not be disclosed?
> [Translator's Note: This is the first in a series of short articles
in which Rudolf Menzer summarizes his analysis of the 'Constitution'
question. They have been published over the past year in
'Symptomatologische Illustrationen', Basel.]
> We are seeing today a steady increase in the attacks on Rudolf
Steiner and the Anthroposophically-oriented spiritual science which he
inaugurated. But the so-called General Anthroposophical Society (Reg.
Association) in Dornach, Switzerland and the 'Free High School for
Spiritual Science, Goetheanum' contained within it are neither willing
nor able to counter these attacks effectively. On the contrary, one of
the worst attacks on Rudolf Steiner is made by the G.A.S. itself in
connection with the Constitution question.
> It is asserted that on the 8th February 1925 the association
"Goetheanum Association of the Free High School for Spiritual Science"
(referred to in these articles by the letters VDG for '"Verein des
Goetheanum' - originally founded in 1912/13 as the
'Johannesbauverein') was changed into the association "General
Anthroposophical Society of Christmas 1923" (referred to in these
articles as AAG/WT23). However, this is not correct. What actually
took place on that date was, that the name 'VDG' was changed into
'AAG' and the AAG/WT23 was tacitly abandoned. It has been falsely
asserted that this whole arrangement was the "wish and will" of Rudolf
> On the basis of the insufficient or false information passed on to
it by the contending parties the Swiss Supreme Court in Solothurn
decided on 12.1.2005 that on the 8th Feb. 1925, as a result of a
"konkludente Fusion", the Christmas Conference Society (AAG/WT23) had
"ceased to exist", but that the "spirit of the Christmas Conference
lived on in the VDG which had been renamed and altered" for this purpose.
> The whole question is extraordinarily complex. In my book1 I have
tried to give a clear presentation of it. The articles that follow are
intended as a guide to the historical sequence of events. Anyone
wishing to study the problem in greater depth can do so with the help
of the book*. As always, I am grateful for factual and constructive
> At Christmas 1923, on the initiative of Rudolf Steiner and under his
guidance, the association "General Anthroposophical Society"
(AAG/WT23) was founded by the members of the Anthroposophical Society
of 1912/13 (AG/1913). It was intended to be an "association of human
beings" and not of juristic persons (§ 1). The latter should be
autonomous groups, whose members have come together freely (§ 11/13),
and which needed only to recognize and comply with the Statutes of the
central association. Otherwise they were to remain independent. The
AAG/WT23 was also a 'group' in this sense. (It follows from this, that
the AAG/WT23 can be regarded as the "Anthroposophical Society in the
narrower sense" and all the groups together as the A.S. in the wider
> In his introduction Rudolf Steiner had set out his condition that he
should be the President (Erster Vorsitzender) of the Association, and
this was unanimously accepted. He also required that in future
"absolute truthfulness" should prevail internally and externally, and
that the "greatest possible openness to public life" should be
combined with "the most inward esotericism". Esotericism was
guaranteed in §§ 5/7 ff. of the Statutes in that they declare Rudolf
Steiner alone responsible for esoteric matters. In the Statutes he
reserved the right to name his successor (which he did not do, however).
> The Statutes were conceived by Rudolf Steiner. At the Christmas
Conference 1923 they were read out and explained by him - every member
had been given a printed copy -; they were discussed in detail over
the course of several days, and when they had been worked through
three times they were accepted by voting in each case. They constitute
the heart of the newly-founded 'AAG' and "express outwardly what is
living in the souls" of those present (Rudolf Steiner's words in the
opening lecture of 24.12.1923, GA 260). They were and still are
described as a "social work of art", and they conformed with legal
requirements, so that it was possible for the AAG/WT23 to be entered
as an association in the Trade Register. This registration was
explicitly asked for by Rudolf Steiner, and was an official
requirement if the AAG/WT23 was to be a recognized legal person. Swiss
association law (Art. 60 ff. ZGB) does not stipulate that the name
made known publicly has to be
> used internally - not even in the Statutes. If, instead of 'AAG',
only 'AG' or 'Gesellschaft' (Society) were to be used, it was the
AAG/WT23 that was meant. From the way Rudolf Steiner acted after the
Christmas Conference it is quite evident that he held to the decisions
made then by the members and wished to put them into effect.
> With regard to the events of 8th Feb. 1925 one fact is of decisive
significance - namely, that the entry in the Trade Register was not
carried out. The question is, why did this entry fail to take place?
Giinther Wachsmuth stated in the Newssheet of 30.4.1950 that after
Christmas 1923 the Registrar, Notary Altermatt, had refused to allow
the entry on the grounds that the Statutes were "too extensive and
longwinded". However, this reason is without foundation, because in
Switzerland association statutes can be formulated as one wishes. It
is unthinkable that the (Swiss) notary should have been unaware of
this fact. An official statement, against which one might have lodged
an appeal, appears not to have been made. In all probability the fact
was also known to the legally-trained Giinther Wachsmuth, so that one
cannot but ask why he did not carry out the entry in the Trade
Register, and why he described in this way the events outlined above.
> 1 Rudolf Menzer, Die Allgemeine Anthroposophische Gesellschaft von
Weihnachten 1923 und ihr Schicksal, 2006, ISBN 978-3-906712-31-4.