Between Occultism and Nazism: Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era


Between Occultism and Nazism: Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era



The relationship between Nazism and occultism has been an object of fascination and speculation for decades. Peter Staudenmaier’s Between Occultism and Nazism provides a detailed historical examination centered on the anthroposophist movement founded by Rudolf Steiner. Its surprising findings reveal a remarkable level of Nazi support for Waldorf schools, biodynamic farming, and other anthroposophist initiatives, even as Nazi officials attempted to suppress occult tendencies. The book also includes an analysis of anthroposophist involvement in the racial policies of Fascist Italy. Based on extensive archival research, this study offers rich material on controversial questions about the nature of esoteric spirituality and alternative cultural ideals and their political resonance.



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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements, vi.

Introduction: Spiritual Science and the Modem Occult Revival, 1.

Chapter 1: Germany's Savior: Rudolf Steiner on Race and Redemption, 25.

Chapter 2: The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Anthroposophy in Theory and Practice Before 1933, 64.

Chapter 3: Accommodation, Collaboration, Persecution: Anthroposophy in the Shadow of National Socialism, '933- '945, 101.

Chapter 4: The German Essence Shall Heal the World: Ideological Affinities between Anthroposophy and Nazism, 146.

Chapter 5: Education for the National Community? Waldorf Schools in the Third Reich, 179.

Chapter 6: The Nazi Campaign against Occultism, 214.

Chapter 7: The Spirit of the Race and the Soul of the Nation: Anthroposophy and the Rise of Fascism in Italy, 248.

Chapter 8: Spiritual Racism in Power: Italian Anthroposophists and the Fascist Racial Laws, 1938- 1945, 284.

Conclusion: Occultism and Nazism in Historical Perspective, 319.

Sources and Bibliography, 328.

Index, 407.