Nazis in Steiner's bathroom
- On the subject of obscure untranslated Steiner, we have for 10 years had regular tidbits from Der Staudi of what I understand to be a considerable body of Steiner work of journalism and cultural commentary that was produced in his pre-anthroposophical phase, before about 1901. Unfortunately, I don't read German so it has been hard to get a feel for the contents of these writings. From Der Staudi we have learnt that Steiner was an atheist, at least for a time, and was a supporter of the pan-German movement, that led to the Nazis, during this period. I recently came across an interesting supplement to this perspective on an anthro German site: http://www.anthroweb.info/Die-Anthroposop.vlkischer-diskurs.0.html. I had to use Google translate's mashed-up English translation to get a feel for what's there but a a lot of points jumped out at me, if my mashed-up translation has given me the correct sense:
Someone called Heinrich Friedjung edited a weekly German magazine (the article doesn't give a name) in 1888 and for half a year it expressed discontent of Steiner's 6 year sojourn in Vienna in the household of a Jewish family, whose children he was tutor for. The article says that the famous sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies suspected that Steiner belonged to Orthodox Judaism.
in !901 in the journal of the 'Society for the defence of anti-Semitism' (I think that should read 'defence *against* anti-Semitism'), Steiner criticised the efforts of the literary historian Adolf Bartels to 'create a Jew free history of German literature'. This guy is one of the founder pre-Nazi ideologues and has his own Nazi Wiki entry.
in 1911 in a book Guido von List attacked Steiner, saying that his 'Buddhist teachings' caused decomposition of the 'Aryan fighting spirit' and that he had Jewish funding. The article says that 'quite a few' of the List society members were 'among the most active opponents of Steiner' (and we know from his auto-biography that Steiner didn't think much of List).
In 1913 Theodor Fritsch published in his journal 'Hammer' an article by Charles Zoubek, 'a supporter of eugenicist Willibald Hentschel', in which Zoubek attacked Steiner's book 'Theosophy'. He says that the book's content 'defiles the imagination' and 'threatens the reason in wild demonism'. The work is said to be so close to 'the Rabinnical follies of the Talmud' that he might as well have been an hereditary Jew. Philipp Stauff, who later became president of the List society, denounced Steiner as a Jew in something called 'semi-skinner' which the article says acted as a bible of the Nationalist movement and meant Steiner was 'well known as a Jew' in those circles from this point onward.
Ludwig Muller von Hausen founded the 'Association against presumption of Judaism' in 1912, seems to be the German publisher of the 'Protocols of the elders of Zion' and was the publisher of the Berlin magazine 'On Outpost', which in 1921 'participated in the massive nationalist campaign against Steiner'. In the May 1921 edition, his magazine accused Steiner of being a Jew and to have worked with the 'alleged Jewish conspirators [who] had overthrown all European thrones and operated the cause of the Bolshevik revolution in Europe'. In the magazine someone called Stockhausen said:
"Only recently we heard, had before the last rebellion of the Communists in East Germany took place in southern Germany, a confidential meeting, at which Rathenau, Rudolf Steiner, Parvus, Oscar Cohn and about 20 rabbis have attended."
So Steiner is to these people on a par with foreign minister Walter Rathenau (who founded AEG and is generally regarded as the prototype for the industrialist Arnheim in Robert Musil's brilliant novel, 'The man without qualities' - one of my all time favourites), who was assassinated by Nationalist army officers in 1922. In a subsequent article Steiner is accused of selling out Germany's interests during WW1 to the US, in league with Germany's foreign minister Simons (Hitler of course mounted a similar attack on Steiner and Simons later, something Der Staudi had always tried to downplay the significance of). He is also accused in an 'official memorandum' of being a spy for the Entente.
The Hammer resumed its attack in 1921, calling Steiner a communist patsy and he and his movement the 'spider in the back of the net that is woven over the German people' and saying that Steiner 'must be regarded politically as an ally of Germany's destroyers..and so be fought to the death'. The magazine singles out 'Unger' for criticism too - presumably this was Carl Unger, who was assassinated shortly after this time. It also describes Steiner as being worthy of being on 'the list', which was apparently a real list of people who were considered suitable for murder by the Nationalists.
The article presents some evidence that the Goetheanum fire was planned by these people. Karl Rohm, in an 'anti-Semitic smear-sheet' called 'A threat from the lighthouse', said:
"Spiritual Sparks of fire , the hissing lightning just after the wooden mousetrap and are therefore sufficient present and it will require some cleverness Steiner had to work reconciling, lest one day a real spark of fire Dornacher glory prepares an inglorious end. "
It is suggested that the attack on 15 May 1922 at the Munich Four Seasons hotel where Steiner was lecturing may have been an attempt on his life and that this had been prepared for in a previous January 1921 edition of The Hammer where Steiner is described as an ally of Germany's destroyers, who are numbered amongst Rathenau and finance minister Mathias Erzberger, whom the magazine notes approvingly had been murdered.
12 days after this possible attempt on Steiners life an anonymous author in Hitler's Nationalist Observer noted:
"... who has studied the crippled forms of Steiner's thought recognizes easily that the Talmud and Kabbalah were the sperm from which this strange plant thrived ... Steiner is like his theosophical brethren Bolshevik, toying with their international councils state and has already thought about how he could make his enemies harmless"
Steiner made a dignified response in 1921 to all the accusations of being Jewish, a tool of the Jews and etc:
"I think it is from my point of view of supreme indifference whether someone thinks I'm a Jew or a Christian or Catholic or whatever. I consider this question irrelevant. But as it is applied, it is not regarded as irrelevant."
Der Staudi's infamous 'anthro-wacko' Schwart-Bostunich is also mentioned in this article. We know from Der Staudi that this creep was an anthro in 1922 and jumped ship to the Nazis a few years later.
Artur Dinter, in his 1922 book the Sin Against Love, describes anthroposophy:
"It is exactly the same process that we today in the Hungarian Jewish experience Rudolf Steiner, the great truths of the doctrine of the Spirit he has Satanosophie transformed ...under the Saviour mask is Rudolf Steiner successful at work, capturing souls for Lucifer" and he interestingly invokes Christ's name against Steiner with: " You can catch for Christ's counterpart at the best men's hearts, when Christ's name to the image are "reads Dinter so that Steiner here his" veiled teachings have unveiled Satan".
This legend is still apparently being circulated in anti-anthroposophical groups today. The article points out that in the 20s and 30s anthroposophy was reviled for being Jewish, internationalist and indifferent to race, whereas today, in the mode of Der Staudi, it is reviled for being anti-Semitic, racist and German nationalist. Interestingly, the article finishes with a word from Schwartz-Bostunich in 1940, in exile in Russia, who sets the future choice as one between Rosenberg or Steiner:
"Either "Myth of the XX. Century "or" Christianity as Mystical Fact, "as Steiner calls his stolen work together. Either "blood and honor" - or "How to gain the knowledge of higher worlds." , A symbiosis of these two world views do not give it"
I wouldn't normally have been interested in this sort of stuff as I've never regarded Steiner as anything other than an opponent of the kinds of thinking that led to Nazi Germany. But in the context of the long-standing, concerted, mis-information campaign by Der Staudi, now acting from the comfort of his professorially tenured chair, I find this new information rather intriguing, and I suspect that there's a lot more that I don't know about. Daniel Hindes once said that he might get around to translating this peripheral 'Steinerabilia' but I guess that he has had better things to do with his time.