Het is Michaëlsdag vandaag. Een uitgelezen dag om draken te bestrijden, zoals ik maandag in ‘Dráken’ al aankaartte. Gisteren had ik in ‘Weten of niet weten’ al een draak van jewelste. Dat zal vandaag niet minder zijn. De oplettende lezer zal gemerkt hebben (of nog gaan merken) dat het hier om ‘draken van binnen’ gaat. Het is te gemakkelijk om altijd naar buiten te wijzen. De innerlijke draak is moeilijker te vinden en te bestrijden. Maar je kunt ook hulp van buitenaf krijgen. Die vriendendienst biedt Peter Staudenmaier, hoewel menig antroposoof het vriendelijke ervan niet inziet. Integendeel zelfs; hij wordt als een vijand beschouwd.
‘Where can you go to get a college degree, associate yourself with violent protest groups, or maybe you just to expand your socialist horizons? The Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) is described as both an educational and an activist organization with an extreme Marxist and Socialist agenda.’
‘Anarchy theorist; co-author, “Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience”; employee, Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative (Madison, WI); teaches ISE courses on “Understanding Capitalism”, “Alternatives to Capitalism”, and “The Nature Of Nature”.
Peter Staudenmaier is a social ecologist and left green activist who has been involved with the Institute for Social Ecology since 1989. Currently a faculty member at ISE, Peter lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he works at a collectively run bookstore co-op. Peter works with grassroots development organizations in Nicaragua as well as with the German radical green group Ecological Left.
“...the German radical green group Ecological Left.” Who could have predicted that?!
He devotes much of his time to independent scholarship and antifascist research, and is committed to bridging activism and theoretical work. He is co-author, with Janet Biehl, of the book “Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience”, and has published many articles on anarchism, ecological politics, and the history of Right-Wing thought. He is an experienced public speaker who conducts frequent lectures and workshops on a wide variety of topics.
Peter Staudenmaier has been active in Central American solidarity work for over a decade and has visited Nicaragua seven times in the 1980s and 1990s. Peter led a WCCN Loan Fund study tour of Nicaragua in August 1995.
Peter is a staff member with Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative and serves on the Board of Directors of the Madison Community Cooperative.’
‘Peter Staudenmaier is a graduate student in history at Cornell University and a faculty member at the Institute for Social Ecology. His research focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of the German right. He is co-author of the book Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience, and is currently writing a book on Rudolf Steiner’s racial theories.’
‘Faculty and Staff Peter Staudenmaier is a social ecologist and historian who has been involved with the Institute for Social Ecology since 1989. He has been an active participant in the anarchist movement, the green movement, and the cooperative movement in the United States and Germany for two decades. He is currently a PhD candidate at Cornell University.’
‘I was asked offlist last week to say more about anthroposophist forms of antisemitism. Here is a series of examples from Steiner’s first generation of followers.
1. Ernst Uehli’s 1926 book on Nordic-Germanic mythology: Uehli, Nordisch-Germanische Mythologie als Mysteriengeschichte (Basel: Geering, 1926; re-published in 1965 and again in 1984 by the anthroposophist Mellinger Verlag in Stuttgart; a heavily abridged English version is available as Ernst Uehli, Norse Mythology and the Modern Human Being, Fair Oaks: Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 1999). Amidst lengthy passages about Thule and Atlantis and proclamations about the deep connection between “language and blood,” Uehli’s book underscored the evolutionary differences between “the southern and northern peoples, the Semitic and Aryan peoples.” (138-39) Celebrating the special qualities of the northern “Aryan peoples,” Uehli emphasized “the blood of the Germanic peoples” which rendered them uniquely close to the natural world. (40-41) While “the early Germans were a people of nature,” Uehli explained, “the Jews succumbed to Ahriman and could not recognize Christ in the flesh.” (142)
2. Uehli’s earlier book on the mystery of the Holy Grail displayed a similar focus on “Aryan” and “Nordic-Germanic” themes, while also contrasting “Germanentum” and “Judentum”. According to Uehli, the task of the Christian era is to overcome the bonds of blood and strive toward Universal Humanity, but the Jews are the one people to refuse this evolutionary trend. (Ernst Uehli, Eine neue Gralsuche, Stuttgart: Der Kommende Tag, 1921) Here Uehli writes of the Jews: “Dieses Volk stellt eine streng in sich geschlossene Blutsgruppe dar. Mit einer beispiellosen Konsequenz hält es an seiner Blutsberufung fest. Während alle anderen Völker früher oder später durch das Mittel der Fernehe zur Blutsmischung übergehen und dadurch der Selbstberufung den Weg bahnen, wird hier mit allen Mitteln Blutsreinheit angestrebt.” (141) This, says Uehli, explains why the Jews reject Christ. A proper spiritual conception of blood is the antidote to this “Wut der Juden” against Christ. (147)
3. In a 1925 article in the official journal of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany, Helga Scheel-Geelmuyden, a leader of the Anthroposophical Society in Norway, characterized the Jews as those who “rejected the Son of the Virgin” and “a scattered people that appears everywhere as the agent of the atomistic elements of our intellectual culture.” (Helga Scheel-Geelmuyden, “Die Schöpfung des Menschen im Nordischen Mythos”, Die Drei, November 1925, 629)
4. Anthroposophists sometimes blamed Germany’s loss in World War I, which they viewed as a conspiratorial effort to destroy Germany, on the Jews. Examples include Wilhelm von Heydebrand, “Ausführungen über gewisse Grundlagen der Politik”, Das Reich, April 1919, 112-16, which blames the war on English occultists, Freemasons, Jews, and socialists, whose goal was the “annihilation of Germany.” Heydebrand also warned that “die Freimaurer-Logen der Anglo-Amerikaner und ihre romanischen Anhängsel stark von einem intellektuell hochentwickelten Judentum durchsetzt sind.” (Wilhelm von Heydebrand, “Die schwarz-rot-gelbe Internationale und ihr Gegensatz”, Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus, no. 9, 1919)
5. Similar claims appeared in many other anthroposophist publications, conjoining esoteric tropes with antisemitic assumptions. These texts reflected widespread anthroposophist anxieties over Jewishness and its relation to Germanness. Further examples include Friedrich Rittelmeyer, Der Deutsche in seiner Weltaufgabe zwischen Rußland und Amerika (Stuttgart: Verlag der Christengemeinschaft, 1932), which rejects “Einheitsbestrebungen wie Internationalismus und Pazifismus, in denen sich der jüdische Geist wohl fühlt” (4). For anthroposophists, “Christlich-germanischer Geist mit seinem ewigen Charakter denkt eben anders als der unfreie Machtwille jüdisch-römischer Dekadenz.” (Felix Kersten, “Rudolf Steiner und das Deutschtum,” 672) See also Rittelmeyer, Rudolf Steiner als Führer zu neuem Christentum, 83-90; Gleich, Die Menschwerdung des Weltenwortes, 12-15, 35-45; Doldinger, Christus bei den Germanen, 66-67; Wachsmuth, Mysterien- und Geistesgeschichte der Menschheit, 115-28.
6. The foremost example of an anthroposophist argument blaming WWI and Germany’s downfall on a conspiracy of Jews and Freemasons is Karl Heise’s book Entente-Freimaurerei und Weltkrieg (Basel: Finckh, 1919), a classic of the antisemitic conspiracist genre. Heise wrote the book with Steiner’s encouragement, basing its argument on Steiner’s own teachings, and Steiner himself wrote the foreword to the book, contributed 3600 Swiss Francs toward publication costs, and even wrote the summary text sent to periodicals for review of the book. Heise dedicated the book to Steiner. The book offered a plethora of conspiratorial claims about the occult scheming of foreign powers against Germany, frequently identifying the culprits as Jews, from bankers to Bolsheviks. Heise held the Jews responsible for the World War (32-33, 84, 262, 295, etc.), warned repeatedly against “Jewish capitalists” (e.g. 286), claimed that the Roosevelts are Jewish and that their real name is Rosenfeld (285), that Woodrow Wilson’s wife is Jewish (296), that the news agencies are controlled by Jews (306), that the Jews control Britain and the Empire is a plaything of the Zionists (122-127), and that Bolshevism is an Anglo-Jewish invention (253). Heise invoked Steiner and anthroposophy throughout the book, at one point praising Steiner as the alternative to “Jewish thinking” (297).
Heise’s work continues to find anthroposophist admirers; Ursula Marcum, for example, writes: “What makes Heise’s book special is his treatment of Jewish influence in world affairs.” Marcum, “Rudolf Steiner: An Intellectual Biography” (PhD dissertation, University of California – Riverside, 1989), 408. See also the extremely positive reviews of Heise’s book in Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus, no. 47 (1920), and Das Reich, January 1919, 474.
7. Some anthroposophists disapproved of intermarriage between Jews and Germans. One example is August Pauli, Blut und Geist: Völkischer Glaube und Christentum (Stuttgart: Verlag der Christengemeinschaft, 1932), 30: “In diesem Sinne wäre z. B. die Frage zu erheben, ob die in der neuen Zeit ziemlich zahlreich gewordenen Mischehen zwischen Deutschen und Juden wünschenswert sind.” Many such marriages are “eine Sünde gegen die Natur,” and Pauli concludes that “solche Verbindungen möglichst beschränkt bleiben müßten.” Further examples appear below. According to Stuttgart anthroposophist Hermann Weinberger in 1931, Jews have the opportunity to become Christians, but those who decline to do so and instead remain Jewish represent an internal threat to the anthroposophical movement; their “zersetzenden Wirkungen” are corroding anthroposophy from within and impeding “die Aufgabe des Deutschtums.” Jewishness thus represented “Verrat am Deutschtum.” Weinberger charged the crypto-Jews in anthroposophical ranks with continuing their “Kreuzigungen” as they had done at Golgotha. He cited several passages from Steiner in support of his claims. Weinberger raised the same concerns at the January 1929 general assembly of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany. (Hermann Weinberger, “Erklärung,” March 20, 1931, BA R58/6193/1: 281-284)
8. Some anthroposophists blamed negative publicity about Steiner on supposed Jewish influence within the media. A May 1934 declaration by Elisabeth Klein, leader of the Waldorf school federation, complained that “Rudolf Steiner has been slandered by Jewish lies in the press.” (Elisabeth Klein, “Einiges Wesentliche über die Waldorfschulen”, May 14, 1934, BA R4901/2519: 46-47) Anthroposophical industrialist Hanns Voith complained that lies about Steiner had been spread by the “Jewish and Masonic influenced press” of the Weimar era. (Hanns Voith, “Gesuch um Nachprüfung der Begründung des Verbots der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft in Deutschland betreffend”, November 23, 1935, BA R58/6194/1: 201-206) In a similar context, a Leipzig anthroposophist wrote to Hitler in 1935 that “Steiner himself showed that the Jews are a people who are abandoned to decadence of the soul.” (Georg Bauer to Adolf Hitler, November 16, 1935, BA R58/6194/1: 186-187)
9. Spokesmen for the Christian Community often placed a central emphasis on overcoming Jewish elements within German religious and spiritual life. For Steiner’s followers, “the Jews must become Christians!” (Christian Community founding member Walter Gradenwitz quoted in Gädeke, Die Gründer der Christengemeinschaft, 353) Well before the rise of Nazism, anthroposophists were particularly piqued by the suggestion that Jews were amply represented in their ranks. In the pages of the Christian Community journal in February 1929, Rittelmeyer noted that “conspicuously few Jews” were members of the Anthroposophical Society. (Friedrich Rittelmeyer, “Der Mord an dem Anthroposophen Dr. Unger”, Die Christengemeinschaft, February 1929, 347: “Die Anthroposophische Gesellschaft hat, wie das gegenüber bekannten Verunglimpfungen einmal festgestellt werden mag, ganz unverhältnismäßig wenig Juden in ihren Reihen. In keiner Gesellschaft, die Rassen- und Konfessionsunterschiede nicht macht, wird man so auffallend wenig Juden finden wie gerade in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft.”)
In 1932 Rittelmeyer disparaged the “Jewish spirit” behind such un-German phenomena as “internationalism and pacifism.” (Rittelmeyer, Der Deutsche in seiner Weltaufgabe zwischen Rußland und Amerika, 4; see also Rittelmeyer’s 1928 remarks on “Semitic” and “Aryan” features in Rittelmeyer, Meine Lebensbegegnung mit Rudolf Steiner, 74-75) The same year his Christian Community colleague August Pauli associated the Jews with the “disintegrating effects of intellectualism and materialism.” (Pauli, Blut und Geist, 29) Rittelmeyer linked the Jews to “the egoistic-intellectualistic-materialist spirit.” (Rittelmeyer, Rudolf Steiner als Führer zu neuem Christentum, 84) He taught that it was the special task of the Germanic peoples to overcome this spirit.
10. The emphasis on “overcoming” purportedly Jewish aspects of Christianity runs throughout Christian Community publications from the Nazi era. Rittelmeyer’s articles and books regularly contrasted “die Juden” to “die Germanen” and portrayed Jews as a people in decline, “decadent” and “degenerate” and out of step with spiritual evolution. However, “the individual Jew,” if especially insightful, could “work his way out of his race.” (Rittelmeyer, Rudolf Steiner als Führer zu neuem Christentum, 83) In order to cleanse Christianity of its Jewish residues, “a great act of purification” was needed, and the Germans were the people best suited to carry it out. (Friedrich Rittelmeyer, “Über Christentum und Germanentum”, Die Christengemeinschaft, November 1937, 206) See also Friedrich Rittelmeyer, “Die religiöse Bewegung im gegenwärtigen Deutschland”, Die Christengemeinschaft, October 1933, 224: “Wir wissen, daß im heutigen Christentum, auch im Protestantismus, noch sehr viel unüberwundenes Judentum erkannt und überwunden werden muß.” His tone was more strident by 1936: “Heute ist die Stunde da, wo wirklich im Christentum all das noch in ihm lebende Judentum überwunden werden muß. Die Zeichen der Zeit fordern es gebieterisch.” (Friedrich Rittelmeyer, Christus, Stuttgart: Verlag der Christengemeinschaft, 1936, 46) Esoteric variations on traditional Christian prejudices about Judaism resurfaced frequently in such texts; cf. Gottfried Richter, “Von der Begegnung der germanischen Volksseele mit Christus”, Die Christengemeinschaft, May 1935, 48: “Da waren die Juden, dieses Volk, das sich fühlte als das auserwählte. Aber es trug diese Auserwählung nicht mehr als eine große heilige Aufgabe an der Welt, nur noch als ein kleines selbstsüchtiges Recht auf die Welt. Sie konnten es nicht ertragen, daß da einer aufstand und von der freien Gotteskindschaft der Menschen aus dem Geiste sprach.” See also Richter, Die Germanen als Wegbahner eines kosmischen Christentums, 50.
11. Rittelmeyer’s successor as head of the Christian Community, Emil Bock, charged the Jews with “national egotism” and called on the Germans not to make the mistake the Jews did, and to fulfill the German cosmic mission and bring enlightenment and redemption to the world. (Emil Bock, Das Alte Testament und die Geistesgeschichte der Menschheit vol. III, Stuttgart: Verlag der Christengemeinschaft, 1936, 294) In a 1934 article in the Christian Community journal, Rittelmeyer declared that Jews today embody “corrosive criticism and impotent dialectic” and above all “materialism, intellectualism, egoism.” (Friedrich Rittelmeyer, “Judentum und Christentum”, Die Christengemeinschaft, January 1934, 293) The article argues that the ancient Hebrews had a profound mission, but this mission was fulfilled two thousand years ago. The Jews were already long since in decline by the time of Christ’s appearance; Jews since then are mired in legalism, pedantry, rigid tradition, dogmatism, and abstraction. Rittelmeyer presents Christ’s struggle as a struggle against the Jews, and calls for “die Erhebung der Rassenfrage zur Geistesfrage” (296). Surmounting the malignant Jewish influence would require elevating the “race question” into a “spiritual question.”
12. A June 1936 lecture by the Christian Community pastor from Leipzig declared: “The Jewish law suppressed every impulse toward freedom. It created instead a strongly intellectual orientation. It also made the world lose its liveliness and color. The only path it allowed was one of commandment and prohibition.” (June 8, 1936 report from the Polizeipräsidium Dresden on the Pentecost meeting of the Christian Community, quoting the presentation by Leipzig Christian Community pastor Peter Müller, BA R58/5709c: 1097) Another member of the group told the Gestapo in August 1939 that the Christian Community was the only Christian denomination that had “cast off the remnants of Jewish origin” and had thus become “the sole truly German form of Christianity.” (SD report quoting an unnamed Christian Community member identified simply as a “high-level civil servant” in an August 1939 statement to the Gestapo, BA R58/5563: 136)
13. In his 1933 book on “the university in the new state,” anthroposophist Ernst von Hippel extolled the Nazis’ “national revolution” for putting an end to the old materialist scholarship and inaugurating a new and truly German order. He particularly applauded “the expulsion of the Jews from the university” as a great achievement in eliminating the obsolete un-German system. (Ernst von Hippel, Die Universität im neuen Staat, Königsberg: Gräfe und Unzer, 1933, 19) Hippel then offered a page of antisemitic clichés about Jews as an “obsolete race” and a desert people who embody rationalism, intellectualism, abstraction, positivism, strict legalism with no spiritual content, and cultural corrosiveness, and he again endorsed the measures of the new Nazi regime against the Jews (20). In a 1937 book warning against the dangers of Bolshevism, Hippel blamed Marxism and materialism on “the subversive powers of the Jewish intellect.” (Ernst von Hippel, Der Bolschewismus und seine Überwindung, Breslau: Ullrich, 1937, 27)
14. On a number of occasions Waldorf leaders condemned “decrepit liberal individualism” and acclaimed “authority” as their pedagogical ideal and practice, while noting that the “covert and overt enemies of the German essence” were anthroposophy’s enemies as well, particularly “Jewish intellectuals” and “rootless internationalists.” (Die Leitung der Freien Waldorfschule, Stuttgart, den 20. Februar 34, BA R58/6220b: 70-78)
15. Anthroposophist Richard Karutz argued in 1930 that Jews in Germany were destined to die out and would already have done so if not for continued immigration from the East. He portrayed the disappearance of Jews as significant evolutionary progress. According to Karutz, “racial mixture” damaged this progress and damaged humanity, and he called on Germans to recognize that race mixing is “contrary to evolution” and should be repudiated, decisively rejecting intermarriage between gentiles and Jews. (Richard Karutz, “Zur Frage von Rassebildung und Mischehe”, Die Drei: Monatsschrift für Anthroposophie, May 1930, 94-102) In his 1934 book on “Questions of Race” Karutz again condemned mixture between ‘Aryans’ and Jews, quoting Hitler in support of his argument (Richard Karutz, Rassenfragen, Stuttgart: Ernst Surkamp, 1934, 54-55; the book was the culmination of Karutz’ Vorlesungen über moralische Völkerkunde, co-published by the Goetheanum in Dornach). Here Karutz characterized Jews as “racially foreign” (55) and warned that contact with Jews impeded the “Aryan world mission” (54).
16. A March 1935 article by anthroposophist Sigismund von Gleich asserted that human evolution must be led by the “Aryan race” and that capitulating to spiritual attacks by the Turanians, Tartars, Mongolians and other “yellow peoples” would endanger this all-important Aryan leadership. In Gleich’s depiction, these non-Aryan racial groups were the carriers of physical and spiritual decadence. Asian peoples were the offspring of archaic Atlantean sub-races who practiced “black magic,” and their present descendants included not only the Chinese and Turks but also the Jews, who were partly of Turanian origin. Both the Mongols and the Semites, he explained, were “born financiers and clever merchants.” According to Gleich, the “Asiatic barbarism” of the Bolsheviks was due to the fact that most of their leaders were Turanians and Jews. These insidious influences represented an ominous “Ahrimanic and demonic world” threatening Germany from the West as well as the East. (Sigismund von Gleich, “Turanisch-mongolische Wesenszüge”, Korrespondenz der Anthroposophischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft, March 1935, 5-12)
17. The menacing specter of Jewish influence played a role in a variety of anthroposophical contexts. For many of Steiner’s followers, Jewishness signified the very antithesis of spiritual progress and the epitome of modern debasement: materialism, intellectualism, egoism, rootlessness, dry abstraction, soulless pedantry, commodification, critical acuity rather than creativity, and the failures of liberalism and rationalism. Traditional antisemitic motifs formed a substantial part of anthroposophical reflections on racial and ethnic questions, and the Jews were often a favorite example of spiritual anachronism and evolutionary stagnation. In anthroposophist eyes, Judaism stood for an atavistic obsession with the decadent characteristics of the “group-soul” and its ill-fated effects on European cultural life. This message was stated with particular force in a 1925 polemic against Zionism by the editor of the journal Anthroposophie, who held Jews in general responsible for stubbornly refusing to accept their inevitable doom. (Kurt Piper, “Martin Buber und das Chaos”, Anthroposophie, February 22, 1925, 29-31) Piper wrote that modern Jews represented “die starre Unerbittlichkeit eines seit Jahrtausenden mumifizierten alttestamentlichen Gruppengeistes.” “Aber das Judentum wird heute täglich nervöser, auch geistig immer nervöser und aktiver; denn es fühlt sehr wohl, daß seine für die Weltlage unheilschwere Rolle ausgespielt ist und das Blatt sich zu wenden beginnt. [...] das Judentum begräbt sich selbst als bestimmender Exponent der Zivilisation, der es viel zu lange gewesen ist. Zionismus und ähnliche Verstiegenheiten, an die kein vernünftiger Mensch glaubt, sind nur als Ausgeburten eines perniziösen Fieberzustandes zu verstehen, der sich aus allen Kräften gegen die andringende Vernichtung sträubt, ohne sie aufhalten zu können.” (30) See also Ruth Pottlitzer, “Der ‘Ewige Jude’ in Mythos und Geschichte”, Die Drei: Monatsschrift für Anthroposophie, February 1931, 704-07.
18. According to anthroposophists, Jews who obstinately remained Jews constituted a hindrance to spiritual advancement, and the ongoing reverberations of Jewish impact on the German essence and the vestiges of Jewish background in the present posed a perilous challenge to the German mission. Friedrich Rittelmeyer thus urged his fellow anthroposophists in 1937 to work against “the repercussions of Judaism within Christianity.” (Rittelmeyer, “Über Christentum und Germanentum”, Die Christengemeinschaft, November 1937, 209). In Rittelmeyer’s words: “Leugnet der Buddhist den Vater und der Muhammedaner den Geist, so leugnet der Jude immer und überall, soweit er eben Jude geblieben ist, den Sohn. Auch das Judentum, das heute im Christentum weiterlebt – und es lebt noch stark im Christentum der Gegenwart – steht wider den Sohn.” Anthroposophists must thus work against “die Nachwirkung des Judentums im Christentum” by opposing “Materialismus, Intellektualismus, Egoismus.” Still, especially worthy Jewish individuals had the capacity to “lift themselves out of the defects of their race.” (Rittelmeyer, Deutschtum, 120) For an extended presentation of these ideas see the 1934 disquisition “Juden und Deutsche” in Rittelmeyer, Deutschtum, 99-120.
19. Even while holding out the possibility of assimilation into genuine Germanness and Christian salvation, Steiner’s followers stressed that Jews who were excessively attached to Jewish characteristics would be unable to achieve redemption, as another German anthroposophist argued in 1937. Ludwig Paul, Krankheit und Heilung des Abendlandes, 142, wrote: “Gerade auch der Jude, sofern er spezifisch jüdisch empfindet, mit überspitztem Intellekt und ohne jene innere Bildekraft, ist solcher Auferstehung sehr fern, und keine ‘Assimilation’ wird ihn vor schwerem Schicksal retten, sofern er nicht imstande ist, in Wahrheit und in der Tiefe seines Wesens jene Umwandlung, die Taufe durch Christus, zu vollziehen.”
Claims like these were echoed in harsher form in Karutz’s work as well. Karutz, Rassenfragen, 38, says Jews are seducing Germans toward materialism and characterizes “intellectuals” as “Jew-related”; Karutz, Rassenfragen, 74, portrays the Jews as a disappearing people, gradually dying out, with only those who cling to their outmoded “group consciousness” remaining Jews. Karutz, Vorlesungen über moralische Völkerkunde, 9. Lieferung, “Religion” (1931), 51, contends that Jews are inclined toward “ungebundenste Selbstsucht.” Karutz, Vorlesungen über moralische Völkerkunde, 38. Lieferung, “Gesellschaftliches Leben” (1934), 6, blames “hebräischer” influence for materialism, atheism, Communism, and “den Parlamentarismus, den Intellekt, den kapitalistischen Merkantilismus” as well as related forms of “Zersetzung.” According to Karutz, “der westliche Intellektuelle, namentlich hebräischer Sippenbewußtseinsart und Gemeinschaftsbindung,” pursues his own “Machtwillen” and obstructs “die Ich-Entwicklung.”
Similar arguments could be found in anthroposophist journals as late as 1943; see e.g. Ernst Uehli, “Kosmologische Betrachtungen”, Das Goetheanum, May 23, 1943, 165, which repeats the standard anthroposophist claim that Jews as a people do not have a fully developed ‘I’ but are instead “an die Blutsfolge gebunden” and that esoteric Christianity offers the possibility of transcending this anachronistic form.
20. Such concerns about Jewish influence were not confined to recognizably Jewish individuals or those with Jewish ancestry. For Karutz, “the Jew in every person is the enemy.” Karutz condemned “the cliquish, petty, narrow-minded spirit of Jewry, which is rigidly tied to the past, devoted to dead conceptual knowledge, and hungry for world power,” noting that this spirit could appear in anyone, not just in Jews themselves. (Karutz, Von Goethe zur Völkerkunde der Zukunft, 57)
21. A 1931 book on “the enigma of Jewry” by anthroposophist Ludwig Thieben spelled out this perspective in great detail: Ludwig Thieben, Das Rätsel des Judentums (Düsseldorf: Pflugschar-Verlag, 1931). The book was reprinted unabridged by the anthroposophical Perseus Verlag in Basel in 1991. The Austrian-born Thieben (1891-1947) came from a family of Jewish background and converted to Christianity before encountering anthroposophy. He played a prominent role in the Viennese anthroposophical milieu in the 1920s and 1930s. His book contrasted “the Semitic race” to “the Nordic-Germanic peoples,” emphasizing the “significant difference between the Aryan and the true Jew,” and decried the “manifold harmful influence of the Jewish essence” while describing modern Jewry as “the people which like no other resists Christianity, through the very nature of its blood.” (Thieben, Das Rätsel des Judentums, 202, 174, 164) Thieben shared the anthroposophical premise that the Jews’ mission was fulfilled two thousand years ago; Jewish existence since then had been an “enigma” and a “tragedy” because the Jews failed to recognize Christ and did not dissolve into the other peoples (126-27, 139). The book includes many lengthy quotations from Steiner supporting Thieben’s arguments.
Thieben associated Jews with all of the purported evils of modernity: “The rationalism which pervades all of Jewry is intimately linked to the Jews’ basic heteronomous disposition. From here there is an essential internal connection to [...] modern natural science, to modern capitalist economic forms as well as to Communism and its materialist-intellectualistic ideas.” (134) According to Thieben, “entwurzelter Intellektualismus ist in psychologischer Hinsicht fortan der Hauptwesenszug des nachchristlichen Judentums,” indeed this intellectualism, “nun vollends entwurzelt,” is the “Wesen des Judentums” (142). “Es ist nun durchaus verständlich, daß man in nichtjüdischen Kreisen die große Rolle, welche die Juden im Bank- und Börsenwesen, im Handel, in der modernen Wissenschaft, als Ärzte, Advokaten und Journalisten spielen, recht unsympathisch empfindet und daß man in dieser Hinsicht von einem ‘zersetzenden Einfluß des jüdischen Geistes’ spricht.” (173) Thieben then explains that the Jews themselves are primarily responsible for their persecution, and that the dissolution of the Jewish people is the only possible solution. (183)
Other anthroposophists applauded Thieben’s book; cf. Hans Erhard Lauer’s lengthy and very positive review in Anthroposophie, July 5, 1931, 213-15; Lauer’s repeated praise for the book in Ein Leben im Frühlicht des Geistes, 54; and the enthusiastic endorsement in Gleich, Die Menschwerdung des Weltenwortes, 36. See also Hans Heinrich Frei, “Die Hebräische Geschichte in ihren Haupteinschnitten als Vorbereitung der Christus-Offenbarung”, Die Drei, June 1926, 208-22.
22. In both private and public utterances during the Nazi era, anthroposophists emphasized that the “Jewish spirit” must be “overcome” particularly in its three principal forms of intellectualism, materialism, and egoism, the chief illnesses of the modern world. For example, at a 1934 lecture in Pforzheim anthroposophist Karl Heyer explained that for anthroposophy the “Jewish spirit” must be “overcome,” especially as manifested in intellectualism, materialism, and egoism. Regarding opposition to Steiner during the Weimar era, Heyer claimed: “Besonders die jüdische Presse hat ihn bekämpft.” (Korrespondenz der Anthroposophischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft, February 1934, 20)
Anthroposophists credited Steiner with revealing “how deeply the Jewish spirit has penetrated into all the sciences.” (Wulf Rabe, Potsdam, to Preussisches Staatsministerium, December 5, 1938, GSAPK I. HA Rep. 90 P Nr. 108: 67) Biodynamic advocates blamed profit-oriented chemical agriculture on the Jews and claimed that immunization is promoted by “Jewish doctors” and threatened to “contaminate healthy blood.” (Akten-Vermerk für Herrn Hanns Georg Müller, BA R9349/3/M) The allegedly problematic nature of Jewishness and its contrast with Germanness resurfaced again and again in anthroposophical literature: cf. Valentin Tomberg’s Anthroposophische Betrachtungen über das Alte Testament; Rittelmeyer’s 1933 book Rudolf Steiner als Führer zu neuem Christentum, 83-85, juxtaposing “Germanentum” and “Judentum”; and Rittelmeyer’s 1936 book Christus, 42, 47, 108-09, 137-39, contrasting “Semitic” and “Aryan” types.
23. Near the end of the Second World War, a 1944 pamphlet printed in Britain presented an anthroposophical analysis of the ‘Jewish question’ under the impact of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Authored by émigré anthroposophist Norbert Glas, the text discussed the tragic “Karma of the Jewish race” and the sufferings of Jews at the hands of non-Jews, presenting Steiner’s esoteric version of Christianity as the solution to both: Norbert Glas, The Jewish Question: A Problem of Mankind (Sheffield: Sheffield Educational Settlement, 1944), 6. Glas (1897-1986) was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, became an anthroposophist in 1919, and emigrated to England in 1938. An important figure in anthroposophical medicine, he was also active in the Waldorf movement and served on the executive council of the Anthroposophical Society in Austria. In his pamphlet, Glas explained that modern Jews suffered from “soul-sickness” because of their refusal to recognize Christ as their salvation. The mission of the Jews, according to Glas, consisted of providing the physical vehicle for the incarnation of the Christ spirit: “The Jewish race had to prepare the physical body for the descending Sun-Being.” (Glas, The Jewish Question, 11) “This incarnation could only take place if a suitable body were formed which could serve as an instrument for the Divine Spirit. Such a body was evolved by the Jewish people.” (13) Honorable as it was, the Jewish mission was fulfilled two thousand years ago, and since then the Jews had failed to recognize that their time was past. “While everything in the Jewish race was designed to prepare for the embodiment of the Messiah, the tragic fact remains that only a few faithful ones amongst whom these great events took place realised the mystery. Quite the contrary. They mocked, judged and crucified the Christ; the very race which had been preparing for his advent.” (18)
Glas lamented “the misapprehension by the Jews of the nature of Christ” (19), insisting that “Judaism had fulfilled its world-historic mission – but unfortunately had not understood it.” (22) He portrayed the Jews of the last two millennia as rigidly following obsolete rules and customs: “This strict adherence to the old law gave rise to all the soul-sickness to which Judaism has since been subject.” (22) Thus the Jews continued to follow their outmoded traditions even after “their mission had come to an end.” (28) Their “non-recognition” of Christ explains “the Ahasveric survival of the Jews.” (38) Describing Jews as not only spiritually but physically different from non-Jews, Glas argued that Jews clung tenaciously to their outdated traditions and isolated themselves from the rest of humankind. Because of their cultivation of “hereditary forces” and concomitant “hardening of the body,” Jews were generally “less receptive to the spiritual.” (32; see also 35 on the peculiarities of “the physical organism of the Jew.”) Modern Jews are characterized by an “excessive cultivation of their blood-relationship” (23), and this unfortunate attachment to “heredity” constitutes part of “the guilt of the Jewish people.” (24) “All the persecution to which the Jews have been subjected during the centuries have really been directed against Ahasverus. He is the symbol of the hardened forces of heredity, as well as of the man who sinned against Christ.” (24) Gentile hostility toward Jews is a reaction against this Jewish guilt: “How much the other nations turned against the guilt of Judaism can be seen by the intensity of persecutions at various times.” (25) Jews also represented “materialistic forces,” and this was the reason for much of “the hatred which is directed against Judaism to-day.” (34) Judaism “bore all the senile characteristics of the culture, which to-day, even though unconsciously, is responsible for all our troubles.” (34)
This sample should give a sense of the role of antisemitic beliefs within anthroposophy.