Caucasian Self-Approval


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it overlaps other pages here at Waldorf Watch.
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please just skip ahead.

Near the center of Rudolf Steiner’s doctrines stand the concepts of evolution, reincarnation — and racial superiority.

According to Steiner, human beings are evolving toward spiritual perfection. Part of this process involves moving upward from inferior racial forms to superior racial forms. An individual makes this passage during the course of multiple reincarnations on the Earth. Each soul starts out young and unevolved, in an inferior race. If the person is good, s/he will return in a future life more highly evolved in a better race. By repeating this pattern numerous times, s/he can ultimately become a really, really good white European (like Steiner himself).

Here’s a quick summary of how this works, according to white European R. Steiner. I will return to some matters I've discussed in other essays; I will add some new material; and in the process I will sketch an overview.


Let's ease our way into this painful topic. We'll start with Steiner talking, at least ostensibly, about cultures. Steiner said,

"Not all of the people living on the earth today stand at the same level of development. Alongside those people that stand at a high stage of civilization, there are primitive peoples that have lagged culturally far behind ... Europeans have ascended to a higher level of culture, while [American Indians and others] have remained behind." [1]

Some cultures are higher than others, Steiner said. There is a single yardstick, and it shows that European culture is superior to any other. This is a questionable proposition, but it is not inherently racist. Note, however, that Steiner implies that peoples, as well as cultures, can be ranked. Some "peoples" are "primitive," he says; some stand at lowers levels of "development."

This is not merely a discussion of cultures. According to Steiner's vision, if some peoples are primitive, so are some "nations" and/or "races." 

“A race or nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type ... The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms is thus a process of liberation [leading to] an ideal future.” [2]

Some peoples are primitive, some are higher. There is a single yardstick: Nations and/or races are higher if they approach the one "ideal human type." What is the ideal? Which race is highest?


Steiner taught that whites are leading humanity toward the "ideal future." Whites are highest now, and they have led the way for millennia, he said. The roots of white superiority can be traced back to Atlantis, he said. [3]

“[O]ur white civilized humankind originated because certain elements segregated themselves from the Atlanteans [i.e., the other peoples from Atlantis] and developed themselves higher here [in Europe], under different climatic conditions. Certain elements of the Atlantean population remained behind, at earlier levels; thus we can see that the peoples of Asia and America are remnants of the various Atlantean races.” [4]

The white race is at the top, Steiner taught, and the black race is at the bottom. Black Africans are the most backward of all peoples, Steiner said; they are essentially just children.

“[A] centre of cosmic influence [is] situated in the interior of Africa. At this centre are active all those terrestrial forces emanating from the soil which can influence man especially during his early childhood ... The black or Negro race is substantially determined by these childhood characteristics.” [5]


According to his followers, Steiner did not hate the members of inferior races. He simply, objectively, “scientifically” saw that they are inferior. And Steiner taught that there is hope for the members of inferior races. A person who is currently a member of an inferior race may incarnate in higher racial forms in future lives, through the process of reincarnation. Starting in the lowliest, most childlike race (black African), an individual can develop and improve spiritually, which will allow him/her to move upward through the racial/spiritual hierarchy of races.

Steiner put it this way:

“Each person proceeds through race after race [sic: race after race]. Those that are young souls incarnate in the races that have remained behind on earlier racial levels ... Our own souls [note: he was talking to whites] once lived within the Atlantean race [sic], and they then developed themselves upward to a higher race. That gives us an image of the evolution of humankind up until our time. In this way we can comprehend how to justify the principle, the core principle of universal brotherhood without regard to race, color, status, and so forth ... Our souls march from one level to the next, which is to say from one race to the next, and we come to know the meaning of humanity when we examine these races.” [6]

Steiner and his followers see nothing prejudicial in such teachings. Steiner said that we are all brothers because we are all engaged in the same evolutionary movement. The good humans among us, anyway, are all moving upward, from low races to higher races. No racism in that, right?

BUT. The essence of racism is the proposition that some races are higher than others, and we see precisely this proposition is Steiner's ethnological teachings. Whether or not Steiner hated anyone, he taught that races can be ranked, low to high. Thus, his teachings embody — in clear, unapologetic form — the central error of racism. They are racist.


Moreover, Steiner taught that the race you belong to reflects the quality of your soul. If you belong to a "low" race, it is because your soul is in some way low. Steiner taught, in other words, that racial differences are fundamentally spiritual differences. This is a far more devastating judgment than to say that racial differences are mainly physical or even mental. Low people — spiritually immature people, spiritually backward people, and immoral people — populate the low races, according to Steiner. 

As we have seen, membership in a low race need not be an irreparable condition, according to Steiner. A lowly person may improve and thus rise into a higher race next time around. But only by doing so repeatedly — that is, only by progressively bleaching oneself during a series of incarnations — can one become a truly advanced human. So this is the "humane" element in Steiner's teachings. Low races (the lower the darker) are populated by low people; high races are populated by more evolved, more spiritual, more moral people. 

Think of it this way: Imagine that you see a white person standing next to a black person. You know nothing about these people except for their skin color. How much can you infer about these two people? Skin color, according to Steiner, speaks volumes. The white person is more highly evolved — s/he is better — than the black person.

“One can only understand history and all of social life, including today’s social life, if one pays attention to people’s racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual in the correct sense if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin.” [7]


The hope for low individuals, Steiner taught, is that they can reject their heritage and their people, leaving a low race in order to be promoted into a higher race. 

"A soul may be incarnated in a race that is declining; but if that soul does not make itself evil, it will not be reincarnated in a race that is falling back, but in one that is on the up-grade. Enough souls are pouring in from other quarters for incarnation in races that are on the down-grade (i.e., bad souls)." [8]

Good souls ascend, bad souls descend. The inferior races remain heavily populated because so many bad or otherwise inferior souls are available for membership at their low level. Note that if a soul "does not make itself evil," it will advance. But this means that souls that do make themselves evil will descend to, or remain in, the lower races. So if you meet someone from a "low" race, you can be sure that s/he is — in a significant way, somehow or other — a low individual. Dark skin indicates membership in a race that is "on the down-grade."

Colors have spiritual significance, Steiner said. Black is a low, deathly color; white is a high, spiritual color. But, in fact, the best color for human beings is "peach blossom." This is a pale pinkish-orange-tan tone, which Seiner called "flesh color" — meaning the color of European, Caucasian skin (especially the skin of Central and Northern Europeans, people like Steiner himself). 

“The color which comes closest to a healthy human flesh color is that of fresh peach blossoms in spring ... [W]e can feel in the peach-blossom color of the healthy human being the living image of the soul ... [P]each-blossom color, human flesh-color, [is] the living image of the soul; white [is] the soul-image of spirit; black [is] the spiritual image of death.” [9]


Consider the "humane" nature of Steiner's racial teachings from a slightly different angle. According to Steiner, a black person's inferiority does not necessarily imply wickedness; a black may be black simply because s/he is spiritually immature. Thus, we should not jump to the conclusion that black people are uniformly immoral. Some blacks are good young souls who will rise higher in future lives. 

Still, according to Steiner, souls who have incarnated in low racial forms stand in grave peril. They are near the bottom of the evolutionary ladder. For whatever reason, they lag far behind the whites who have evolved so much higher. And time is passing; the Earth and its occupants are evolving upward. If a black person does not get into gear and start rising to higher racial forms, s/he may suffer a terrible fate. People who fail to advance may "fall out of evolution." [10] They may lose their souls and their very claim to human status: They may drop into the netherworld of subhumanity. 
"Such souls lose the possibility of incarnation and find no other opportunity ... [T]here are no more bodies bad enough [to house them] ... Beings that stay behind at such stages appear in a later epoch as subordinate nature spirits." [11]
This is the harsh reality of evolution, according to Steiner. All of the good beings are evolving higher. If you do not evolve along with them, you will be left behind. Eventually, the low races will die out and there will be no low, black bodies left for you to incarnate in. So you will cease to be a human being at all — you will become a subhuman "nature spirit," a nonphysical being trapped in the low, physical realm, cut off from spirituality.

Steiner said that evolution will eventually carry humanity beyond race. All the good people will evolve to a form higher than white, and all of the bad people will have been demoted to subhuman status, so there will be no more human races. Thus, racial strife will be behind us. This bright future sounds attractive, I suppose — but note that the premise is that racial differences can never be accepted as such; members of different races cannot live together as equals; we will be equal only when races die out.


Evolution, as Steiner described it, is a continuing process of segregation. 
“Evolution is possible only by means of differentiation and separation ... In order for special qualities to develop in human evolution, certain groups of human beings must be separated off for a time." [12]
The good advance and the evil are separated from the good. The high go ever higher while the low are consigned to punitive conditions and spheres. Redemption may still be possible, in those dark, turbulent regions; the separation may last only “for a time.” Still, the outlook for those cast into darkness is grim:
"The evil race, with its savage impulses, will dwell in animal form in the abyss." [13]
Whether or not the "evil race" will remain permanently separated from good, upward-evolving humanity, Steiner taught that the separation is necessary. And he taught, as we have seen, that literal warfare awaits us. Evil must be separated from good; the "best of humanity" must oppose those who "bear in their countenances [i.e., their faces, their appearance, their skin] the sign of evil.”
“Consider that through evil separating from good, the good will be immeasurably strengthened ... The best of humanity must be chosen and prepare for survival beyond the time of the great War of All Against All, when people will oppose them who bear in their countenances the sign of evil.” [14]


Steiner's racial teachings are deplorable. They are deeply divisive. Possibly Steiner, living in his time and place, thought that his doctrines concerning race were advanced, liberal, and enlightened. But from today's perspective, they are clearly reprehensible — and Anthroposophists should feel an urgent moral obligation to renounce them. This is difficult for them, however, since it would mean gutting the human evolutionary scheme that lies near the heart of their worldview.

No, Anthroposophists generally either deny that Steiner said what in fact he said, or they interpret his statements in the most defensive, self-deluding way. Brotherhood, they say. Steiner was talking about brotherhood. His teachings are all about love and peace and brotherhood. 

I won’t try to answer them. Instead, I’ll let Steiner do the job. Future human evolution, Steiner said, 

“cannot happen in the world without the most violent struggle ... [T]he transition from the fifth cultural epoch [i.e., the present] to the sixth cultural epoch [i.e., the next historical period] cannot happen differently than as a violent fight between white mankind and colored mankind in the most varied areas.” [15] 

The good white souls will be moving upward, while bad souls (clustered in nonwhite races) will be moving downward — and a time will come, pretty soon, when the good whites must go to war with the evil nonwhites, to purge them from the glorious upward march of human evolution. You see, 

“The white race is the future, the race that works creatively on the spirit.” [16]

The non-white races work very differently. They are not the future.

And that’s brotherhood, Steinerstyle.


This has been an overview only. 
To look more deeply into the racism
lurking near the heart of Anthroposophy,
see, e.g.,

— Roger Rawlings



[R.R., ~ 1982]

It is not uncommon to find Anthroposophical symbols — often presented in a distinctive Anthroposophical style — in and around Waldorf schools. Here are seven occult planetary columns, bearing distinctive symbols, intended for use in the second Goetheanum, the worldwide Anthroposophical headquarters. 

[This is my sketch of a design created by Christian Hitsch and P. A. Wolf,
based on indications given by Steiner. See Rudolf Steiner,
ARCHITECTURE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 129. R. R. sketch, 2010.]

The "planets" shown here are the seven sacred planets of astrology. They are (reading from left to right) Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Moon, Sun, and Saturn.

Among other things, Steiner taught that various races are associated with various planets. Abnormal Venusian spirits are responsible for the "Malayan" race, for instance, while abnormal Saturnian spirits are responsible for "Red Indians." Fundamentally, Steiner taught that the various races, nations, and families of mankind are overseen different gods, different Archangels or Fire Spirits. This underscores the spiritual differences between these groups, and it indicates the Anthroposophical view that the divisions between humans are divinely ordained.* Racism is woven into the fabric of Anthroposophical teachings; it is embedded in Anthroposophy. [See "Embedded Racism".]

* The gods originally intended for races to appear sequentially. All of humanity would exist at one racial level, then all of humanity would proceed to the next racial level. The demons Ahriman and Lucifer upset this plan, causing multiple races to exist simultaneously. But the essential ties between races and gods was always part of the plan.



Here is the complete text of an article

I excerpted on the page "Report Card". 

(I have renumbered the endnotes to follow

consecutively from the endnotes for 

“White Guys”.)

A Pedagogy for Aryans  [17]



Small classes, no mad scramble for high marks, and a motivated teaching-staff — Waldorf schools have earned a good reputation for their feigned ability to benefit students on an individual level. Still, to this day, these disguised religious schools pursue the idea of the anti-modern.


By Peter Bierl [18]


The German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs [19] has asked the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons [20] to include two books by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy and Waldorf schools, on a list of texts deemed to endanger the young on account of racist content of the books in question. The Federal Department will decide the matter in September. Scholar Helmut Zander, of Berlin’s Humboldt University, has published a two-volume work, wherein he dissects Steiner’s "spiritual vision" down to every detail, and demonstrates how the guru plagiarized other thinkers. On three occasions now, a Waldorf teacher has been sentenced by the district court of Kempten, in the province of Allgäu, to pay fines of 8000 Euro due to manhandling children when he was on duty as a teacher. Although that particular Waldorf school does not belong to the Association of Waldorf Schools [21], it nevertheless operates according to the foundational tenets of anthroposophy. At the town of Rauen in Brandenburg, Andreas Molau, a leading official of the Nazi party NPD [22], is planning the establishment of a Waldorf school. The project already faces opposition from the Association of Waldorf Schools, invoking proprietary rights to the name. For years, Molau was a teacher at a Waldorf school in Braunschweig, until he gave his notice in the autumn of 2004, allegedly due to his desire to work for the new NPD faction in the state parliament of Saxony as well as with the NPD periodical "German Voice". [23] On that account, the Waldorf school, in turn, discharged and banned him.


At the time, as a result of the above mentioned incidents, Waldorf schools made negative headlines,  but in general the press reports are positive and uncritical. In this context, the high esteem this type of schools receives, and the authorities’ indifferent attitude towards them, are in fact curious. That being so, anyone who concerns himself with Waldorf pedagogy cannot overlook its obscure foundation — the occult worldview of anthroposophy, concocted by the clairvoyant Steiner out of fragments of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and contemporary European evolutionary and racial teachings. For this picture to emerge, a few lectures from Steiner’s works and some copies of the Waldorf School Association’s publication, "Art of Education" [24], are enough.


Cartoons and Lego, soccer, sex education and lefthandedness are treated with disdain, and the children have to recite rhymes and verses with odd accentuations that make the recitations resemble mantra practices. There are no actual text books, and the children must copy the subject matter from the teacher’s blackboard writing. In 1998, the pedagogical research branch of the Waldorf Association published a brochure entitled "Literature assignments for the teachers’ work at free Waldorf schools". The booklet contains an outline of literature that "can be turned to when preparing for the teaching of the first to the eighth grades of main lesson blocks". There is not one single recommendation of a reliable non-fictional work on the Nazi period for history education; instead, the list includes predominantly anthroposophical works from the first half of the past century, some of which are filled with dubious stories of "root races" and the migrations of the "Aryans". In the recommended books we read that Italians are merry and impulsive and lie out of courtesy; the Brit, on the other hand, is unaffected and materialistic. The Arab is depicted as hardy, passionate, callous and scheming. The Asian is considered to be decadent; he is either a choleric Mongol or a phlegmatic Malay. The Japanese lives in a light wooden house with straw roof, he always smiles enigmatically, and conceals a merciless rigour beneath the surface. Africans are childish, naïve and devout, and their origins and their instincts exert strong influences upon them. And because they are like children, they must be governed by white people. The Russian is described as quick-tempered, brutal, ruthless, violent, dominant, impatient, capricious, resigned to his fate, resistant to adversity, undependable and unpunctual.


Such nonsense rests upon the notion of "root races", inherited by Steiner from the theosophists. According to the theosophists, all of the "root races" and all of the "sub races" have their own tasks during particular epochs. The members and descendants of those "races" and peoples whose missions already belong to the past are regarded as decadent and unfit for spiritual progress. Steiner passed this verdict upon the Jews, the French, the Italians, the Chinese and the Japanese, as well as upon the Australian Aborigines and American Indians. Concepts such as "root races" or "races" are avoided, these days, by Steiner’s adherents; they prefer to speak of "cultural epochs". In anthroposophical circles, it has not yet been acknowledged that humanity cannot be divided into "races" and that human "races" exist only as figments in the minds of racists.


Hence, in the reading list of 1998, Waldorf teachers were recommended approximately 30 works by Steiner, in which the master not only presents himself as a clairvoyant and depicts anthroposophy as an occult spiritual science, but also fantasizes about "folk spirits", divides humanity into races, and claims that the "Aryans" are predestined to develop spirituality. The lectures alone, given by Steiner between the years 1919 and 1924 for the benefit of the teachers at the first Waldorf school, fill up three volumes, and those are utilized by Waldorf teachers during their training. Therein, he characterizes French as a decadent, mendacious "corpse of a language", spoken by a nation in decline.


Waldorf schools present themselves as aimed at a "holistic", child-centred and age-appropriate education towards freedom. This depiction is misleading, since for anthroposophists, these words have very specific meanings that cannot be easily inferred by an outsider if he has not been initiated into Steiner’s occult teachings. Freedom means freedom for anthroposophy. Child-centred and age-appropriate refer to anthroposophical dogmas on childhood development, depending on mumbo-jumbo conceptions surrounding the number 7.


The guru asserted that the human being consists of a physical body, an "etheric body" and an "astral body" and a divine ego, which will not appear until after the 21st year of life. The childhood aura remains in contact with a higher spiritual world. Because of this, parents and educators may not harbour any "impure or unchaste or immoral thoughts". Round shapes, rhythmical movements and soft colours, in particular pink lazured walls, contribute to the development of a moral disposition of the brain and in the circulatory system. Steiner described the small child as a "clumsy sack" or a "bag of flour", a child who shows no curiosity — an idea contradicted by modern day understanding of pedagogy and developmental psychology. It is rubbish to think that children only desire imitation until their seventh year of life. Early childhood obstinacy and the desire for "self-assertion" are explained by Steiner as the activities of demonic forces that cause premature development of the ego-consciousness.


In the second 7-year period, ranging from the seventh to the 14th year of life, the "etheric body" liberates itself from its sheath. The imitative instinct of the small child is superseded by "deliberate acceptance". From the teacher, a student assimilates that which, "on a foundation of self-evident authority, makes an impression on the child". Hence, the children in a Waldorf class must manage, from the first until the eighth grade, with one and the same teacher, who is seen as a "master of fate" [25], as a "pedagogical artist", who teaches all the basic subjects.


Critical thinking poisons children and the young, according to Steiner. No sooner than puberty, when the "astral body" is being liberated, is the teacher allowed to develop the young students’ capacity of discernment; they may then "sharpen their critical faculties". In any event, "head knowledge" and "intellectuality" are to be avoided. Repetition was Steiner’s didactic method of preference. He perceived intellectuality with suspicion: "Everything intellectual is old-fashioned volition, and the type of will manifested by old people." Discussions on sexuality and eroticism are resented in Waldorf schools. Steiner recommended that the aestethic sense for the sublime and beautiful in nature is to be encouraged instead. Since 2002, Waldorf circles have witnessed an uptight debate on the issue of sex education.


Steiner’s conception of reincarnation and karma is considered the "foundation of all genuine education". For this reason, "Waldorf pedagogy, in its entirety and all the way to its core, is built upon a perception of the human being that holds reincarnation and karma as central facts", wrote Valentin Wember, a Waldorf pedagogue, in the journal "Art of Education" in 2004. Speculating on previous earth lives of other people is certainly viewed as a tactless intrusion into the private sphere; for Waldorf teachers, however, there is an exception — for them, "cautious speculation" is allowed. Anthroposophists believe that the child’s body is moulded by forces which derive from previous earth lives. He who has lied during an earlier life, his physical being will be affected by this in his subsequent incarnation, and he will be reborn with mental impairments. "These days, the human being is unable to really fathom the truth, and he becomes feeble-minded", writes Weber. This connection is "a spiritual law, discovered by spiritual scientist Rudolf Steiner". The educator should imagine himself as the person who had been lied to in the previous life. He must forgive the disabled child and into the child’s mind instil the truths of spiritual life. The educator is to work off the "karmic debt" of the children, too.


When Waldorf teachers force left-handed children to write with their right hands, their reasoning is based on the notion of bad karma. The predominant attitude of tolerance that reigns in modern public schools is not recognized in Waldorf schools. Michaela Glöckler, medical practitioner, bestselling anthroposophical author and director of the medical branch at the Goetheanum, the international  headquarters of the anthroposophists, situated in Dornach, Switzerland, believes that writing with the right hand is "an exercise of will for any child", and for the left-handed child this is ever so poignant. The child will learn "to pull himself together through continuos mastering of the light sensation of discomfort". According to Steiner, the left-handed have squandered their resources in their prior lives. Thus, in this life, they have to cultivate their "spiritual intensity", for which the left half of the body is responsible.


A further element of Waldorf pedagogy is the ancient doctrine of human temperaments. Anthroposophists believe that every individual is characterized by one of the four temperaments, which is assumed to govern him: the choleric person is impassioned and strong-willed; the sanguine is lively, confident and fidgety. The melancholic is timid and gloomy, and an egoist and a recluse; the phlegmatic is indolent, he dreams with his mouth open, and pulls out his snack from the school bag at the first opportunity.


The class teacher determines the child’s temperament, and subsequently organizes the seating arrangements: to the left in front of him, he places the phlegmatics, then the melancholics and the sanguines, and to the right he seats the cholerics. Children of the same temperament are seated together, so that they will "mirror" each other. For every temperament, there are specific methods of narration and presentation, particular exercises, and even the four rules of arithmetic are learnt in temperamentally adapted ways. Waldorf pioneer Caroline von Heydebrand advises that the melancholic child ought not to be rinsed in cold water, but should be fed lettuce and light vegetables; the choleric should be made to cut wood, drive in nails and carry rocks, and the phlegmatic must not be allowed to "linger — out of pure delight — drowsily and half-asleep in the warmth of the feather bed" in the mornings. The sanguine requires variation.


The decisive factor, when it comes to the temperament of an individual, is karma. Although most Waldorf teachers are not thought to be among the great initiates and cannot use clairvoyance, they still resort to phrenology and physiognomy. These disciplines arose in the late 18th century, with the objective of dividing humanity into "races". Anthroposophists believe that cholerics are short-necked and  short-legged, sanguines are slender and well-proportioned, melancholics are tall, thin, skinny and carry their bodies with a forward bent, phlegmatics are rounded and well-nourished. Musicians, painters and priests have large noses, according to the insights of anthroposophist Norbert Glas; ears placed high expose an eccentric intellectual, and pointed ears betray the kleptomaniac.


Karma and reincarnation, temperaments, phrenology, numerological magic and belief in the spiritual world complete the anthroposophical conception of human nature. This is an anthropology based on insight and on "moral conviction" — and for the teachers a "means to an education of the self" — to which every Waldorf school owes a debt of gratitude. The "loyalty to the truth, as it is perceived, binds together the conference of teachers in a community of fate and symbiosis", proclaims Heinz Zimmermann, the leader of the pedagogical section at the Goetheanum. The assurance that Waldorf schools are not faith schools is nothing but a purely self-protective assertion.


Every Waldorf school is seen as a designated "karmic community", because every teacher or student has been impelled in a specific direction by his or her karma. In German public schools, a very humble co-management of teachers, parents and pupils has been commonplace for decades; in the so called free Waldorf schools, this kind of democratic governance has not yet been implemented. Waldorf schools claim to be parts of a purpose-driven movement, similar to a religious community, whose undertakings are exempted from the usual requirements regarding co-management of regular employees through provisions made by German law. In practical terms, Waldorf pedagogy requires payments of school fees amounting to some hundred Euros a month, as well as conformity to the informal demands of the social élite which forms the school body. An investigation by the Criminological Institute of Lower Saxony [26] in the year 2006 indicates that, of the surveyed students in 9th grade, only 1,1 per cent of the parents had attended Hauptschule. [27] Only 0,3 per cent of the students are from immigrant families, in comparison to a 18,3 per cent of the students at Hauptschulen and the 2,9 per cent of the students at Gymnasien.


Waldorf schools are foreigner-free enclaves, as it were, and élitist institutions where the offspring of the upper class and the academic bourgeoisie stay at a safe distance from the children of the proletariat. Waldorf pedagogy may comprise some positive aspects; no grades and no being held back, its orientation towards music and handicraft, or the block teaching. These ideas Steiner ripped off from other reform pedagogues, then infused in occult prattle. Children should be spared from such a covert religious education.



Author’s postscript, May 30, 2008:


This article was first published in "Jungle World", a German weekly magazine, based in Berlin, in September 2007. A few weeks later the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons declared that the two books by Steiner contain passages "which are nowadays to be rated as racist", but abstained from banning them because the administration of Rudolf Steiner’s estate, which is headquartered in Switzerland, promised to print annotated new editions.

In November 2007 the Hamburg-based magazine "Stern" reported that Andreas Molau, then front runner of NPD for the state elections in Lower Saxony, was writing a book together with Lorenzo Ravagli, former Waldorf teacher and instructor of Waldorf teachers, staff of the monthly Waldorf magazine "Art of Education" and anthroposophy’s main defender against criticism of antisemitism and racism within anthroposophy and Waldorf education. According to the article in "Stern", Ravagli refused to authorize this book, which was to deal with nationalism, until a few weeks before the international book fair in Frankfurt. Ravagli published several pamphlets, denying the obvious fact that Steiner was a German nationalist, antisemite and racist. The collaboration between the anthroposophist Ravagli and Molau, one of Germany’s leading Nazi activists, is a scandal, but has obviously had no consequences. Ravagli’s works are still advertised on the homepage of the German Waldorf Federation (http://www.waldorfschule.info/index.19.53.1.html, May 26th 2008).

Specially designed Anthroposophical buildings, including many Waldorf schools, are full of odd angles, planes, and curves. These are meant to have spiritual effects, and even to invoke spiritual beings. By providing unusual perspectives, they may loosen the hold of the real world on us and incline us toward accepting an alternative universe, specifically the one Rudolf Steiner described. 

[Photograph by Alicia H. 
Reproduced by permission of the artist. 

Here is an item from the Waldorf Watch "news" page.
It repeats some quotations we have already seen, 
but it also adds further quotations.
(I have renumbered the endnotes to follow
consecutively from the endnotes for
"A Pedagogy for Aryans".)

"Milkwood Steiner School Bush Dance - The annual Milkwood Steiner School Bush Dance will be held on Saturday the 28th of May at Milkwood Steiner School-107 Boulter Rd, Berrimah [Australia]. 

"Please join us for a family friendly evening of live traditional bush music and dancing."  

• ◊ •

Waldorf Watch Response:

Bush dancing is sometimes thought to be an Australian aboriginal dance form, and indeed there has been aboriginal influence. But bush dancing derives primarily from the traditional dances brought from Europe by white settlers. Many Waldorf or Steiner schools today make an admirable effort to affirm the peoples in the lands where the schools operate. Affirming whites settlers and their descendants is easy, in Waldorf practice and belief; affirming nonwhites is more difficult, in Waldorf practice and belief. Rudolf Steiner's teachings are deeply rooted in the culture of central and northern Europe, particularly Germany and Scandinavia. Steiner taught that white Europeans stand at a higher level of spiritual development than other, darker humans. He said humanity consists of advanced races and savage races, high races and low. "A race or nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type ... The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms is thus a process of liberation [leading to] an ideal future.” [28]

Steiner left little doubt about the sorts of people who "express the pure, ideal human type": 

"If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense ... Blond hair actually bestows intelligence." [29]
According to Steiner, if you are a good, moral, spiritual person, you will evolve upward into higher and higher races during the course of your many reincarnations on Earth. If you are an evil person, however, you will evolve downward into lower and lower races. If you are deeply evil, eventually you will fall out of the bottom of the hierarchy of races and cease to be human. 

"Such souls lose the possibility of incarnation and find no other opportunity ... [T]here are no more bodies bad enough [to house them] ... Beings that stay behind at such stages appear in a later epoch as subordinate nature spirits [e.g., goblins or gnomes]." [30]

In the belief system that underlies Waldorf education, Anthroposophy, races represent levels of spiritual evolution. Lowly races tend to die out as humanity advances to more elevated spiritual conditions. However, it is also possible for an entire race or nationality to descend to a lower condition. 

"The French as a race are reverting.” [31] 

The French are falling, according to Steiner, at least in part because they have brought blacks to Europe, raising the specter of unhealthy interactions between whites and blacks. 

"The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe." [32]

Lowly races exist, Steiner said, because some humans are unwilling or unable to evolve upward. 

"Races would not stay behind and become decadent if there were not people who wish to stay behind and are obliged to stay behind, since they have not developed their eternal life-kernal [or spiritual essence]. Older races only persist because there are people who cannot or will not move forward to a higher racial form." [33]

Steiner taught that different races have significantly different kinds of blood, and the inferior blood of low races embodies the destiny of those races. In particular, aboriginal peoples — such as Australian aborigines — have blood that prevents them from being integrated into higher, more civilized human societies. Such peoples are doomed to “go under”: 

“Take, for example, a people that is the product of its environment, into whose blood this environment has built itself, and try to graft upon such a people a new form of civilization. The thing is impossible. This is why certain aboriginal peoples had to go under, as soon as colonists came to their particular parts of the world.” [34]

Sexual unions between people of different races — “exogamy” — are not as deadly as efforts to mix the bloods of different types of animals, Steiner said, but they are destructive. “Just as this mingling of the blood of different species of animals brings about actual death when the types are too remote, so, too, the ancient clairvoyance of undeveloped man was killed when his blood was mixed with the blood of others who did not belong to the same stock.” [35]

But do not fear: All will be well. After the worst humans drop away, becoming subordinate nature spirits, the rest of humanity will evolve upward to purer and purer stages, and eventually there will be no more races, and we will all be one big happy family. [See “Love and the Universal Human”.] 

According to Steiner's teachings, we cannot proclaim the equality of all humans today; some humans are darker and lower than others. Our evolution toward equality depends on the ability of each individual to become, spiritually and racially, white. The key, in this sense, is whiteness. 

“If we contemplate white in an artistic way, we have the soul image of the spirit ... And if, as artists, we take hold of black, we have the spiritual image of death." [36] 

The implications of this "artistic" precept for skin color are appalling, and Steiner was very concerned about skin color. 

“One can only understand history ... if one pays attention to people's racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual ... if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin.” [37]

Truly, deeply spiritual people have white skin: Humans have white skin when they embody high spiritual forces. 

“[T]he impregnation of the flesh by the spirit is the characteristic mission, the overall mission of white mankind. People have white skin because the spirit works in the skin when it wants to come down to the physical plain ... [W]here the spirit has not yet worked as spirit...where it assumes a demonic character, not fully penetrating the flesh, white skin coloring does not occur.” [38]

Thus, people with white skin — standing at a higher level of spirituality — lead human evolution into the bright future. 

"The white race is the future, the race that is spiritually creative.” [39]

Do Anthroposophists today believe Steiner's racist doctrines? Do any Waldorf teachers today believe those doctrines? I certainly hope not. But very few of Steiner’s admirers have faced up to the blatant racism imbedded in his teachings, and fewer still have explicitly renounced it. [See "Steiner's Racism", "Races", and "White Guys".]

[R.R., 2000]

[R. R., 2010.]

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.

◊◊◊ 8. THE WORST SIDE ◊◊◊


The racial teachings deep in Anthroposophy that surface sometimes at Waldorfs


Problems in the doctrines


A lecture that exculpates?

One of Steiner's suppressed lectures




Two fundamental legends embraced by Steiner


Ties to Nazism? Allegations and denials


From SkepticReport [external link]

Steiner’s strange version, tied to his racial teachings


The formatting at Waldorf Watch aims for visual variety, 
seeking to ease the process of reading lengthy texts on a computer screen. 

Some illustrations on the pages here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the essays on those pages; 
others are not — they provide general context. 



[1] Rudolf Steiner, MENSCHHEITSENTWICKELUNG UND CHRISTUS-ERKENNTNIS (Rudolf Steiner-Naclassverwaltung, 1967), pp. 243.

[2] Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 149.

[3] I personally am not European; I’m an American, so I shouldn’t really claim to be as highly evolved as my family members in the old country.

[4] Rudolf Steiner, DIE WELTRÄTSEL UND DIE ANTHROPOSOPHIE (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), p. 145.

[5] Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 75.


[7] Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), GA 349, p. 52.

[8] Rudolf Steiner, INVESTIGATIONS INTO OCCULTISM SHOWING ITS PRACTICAL VALUE IN DAILY LIFE (Kessinger, facsimile of 1920 edition), p. 138. The final phrase “(i.e., bad souls)” is an explanation added by the Anthroposophical editor. The same passage, without the last phrase, can be found in Rudolf Steiner, AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, 1986.)

[9] Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), pp. 93-94.

[10] Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 69.

[11] Ibid., p. 70.

[12] Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 25. 

[13] Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103. 

[14] Rudolf Steiner, EVIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 194.

For more on the War of All Against All, see "All vs. All".

[15] Rudolf Steiner, DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), p. 38. 

[16] Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1961), p. 67. 

Note: If you search in vain for some of these quotations in English-language editions of Steiner’s work, the explanation is simple: Such passages have been censored by the Anthroposophical publishing companies. Are they trying to hide something, do you think? You can circumvent their efforts at censorship by getting ahold of Steiner texts published in German and tackling the chore of translation for yourself. [See, e.g., "Forbidden".] 

[17] A previous version of this article was published in the German magazine Jungle World No. 36, 6 October 2007. It can be accessed at http://jungle-world.com/artikel/2007/36/20283.html/ (June 5th 2008).

[18] Peter Bierl is an author and journalist, living with his family near Munich in Bavaria, Germany. His work deals with topics like Anthroposophy, anti-Semitism, ecology, environmentalism, esotericism, fascism and racism. In 2005, a revised edition of his book "WUZELRASSEN, ERZENGEL UND VOLKGEISTER. Die Anthroposophie Rudolf Steiners und die Waldorfpädagogik" ["Root races, Archangels and Folk Spirits. The Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf Pedagogy"] was published. Konkret Literatur Verlag, Hamburg, 17 Euro, ISBN 3-89458-242-1.

[19] Bundesfamilienministerium.

[20] Bundesprüfstelle (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien).

[21] Bund der freien Waldorfschulen.

[22] Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands; National Democratic Party of Germany.

[23] "Deutsche Stimme."

[24] "Erziehungskunst."

[25] "Schicksals- und Daseinsmacht" in German.

[26] Kriminologisches Institut für Niedersachsen (KfN).

[27] Transl. note: The German Hauptschule is the alternative to the Gymnasium. Upon completing 4th grade, students go either to the Hauptschule — for a practically oriented, basic education — or to the Gymnasium, which is theoretically oriented and a preparation for higher education. Attendance at a Gymnasium and a successful final examination (the Abitur) are requirements for further studies at university level.

[28] Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 149.

[29] Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND ILLNESS, Vol. 1. (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), pp. 85-86.

[30] Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 70.

[31] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 559.

[32] Rudolf Steiner,  ibid., p. 558.

[33] Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS, p. 69.

[34] Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, 1922), GA 55.

[35] Rudolf Steiner, ibid.

[36] Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), VIII.

[37] Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), p. 52.

[38] Rudolf Steiner, DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), p. 37.


[R.R., 2017.]