‘wolfram: the boy who went to war’

There’s a story in The Guardian (and also, apparently, a book called Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War). I don’t know how to file this story, but perhaps as peculiar people who were anthroposophists. Or anthroposophists who weren’t nazis. (Don’t tell me I don’t acknowledge them!) Said tongue-in-cheek. A British child of German descent draws a swastika to symbolize her family in a school project (not knowing what the swastika has come to represent):

The swastika incident led me to ask Wolfram – now 87 and a distinguished artist – all the questions I had never dared to put to him. His family, he told me, had been against Hitler from the outset. His father, Erwin, was a bohemian animal artist who kept a large menagerie in the garden. He was also a freemason, who counted many intellectual Jews among his clients and friends.

Wolfram’s mother, Marie Charlotte, was equally idiosyncratic: highly cultivated, she was deeply involved in the Rudolf Steiner movement, with its emphasis on the freedom of individual thought. The family lived in a rambling villa just outside the town of Pforzheim, in southern Germany. One of Wolfram’s earliest memories is of spying on the maid as she took her bath. Her naked body was not the only attraction. She always bathed with her pet snake coiled around her neck.


As Hitler consolidated his grip on power, Wolfram’s parents saw their beloved Germany steadily overtaken by forces of darkness. They continued to invite free-thinking friends to their hilltop home. But Wolfram’s mother was now under Gestapo surveillance, making life increasingly intolerable.