steiner anecdotes

A while ago, I read the collection of anecdotes about Steiner, edited by Wolfgang Vögele. (Sie Mensch von einem Menschen: Rudolf Steiner in Anekdoten.) It’s highly amusing. I can recommend it for that reason, which is certainly reason enough. However, I’d like to share one of the anectodes in the book. It’s about smallpox immunisation.


«In Berlin waren an einer Ecke die Pocken ausgebrochen. So viel ich mich erinnere, wurden in den Schulen und Kinderhorten die Kinder geimpft. Dr. Steiner ordnete an, dass auch die Kinder in unserem Kinderhort geimpft würden und auch die Menschen, die im Kinderhort aus- und eingangen. Dr. Steiner sebst lieβ sich auch impfen, auch Frau Dr. Steiner und auch wir alle oder fast alle, die im Hause aus- und eingingen. Dr. Steiner bekam selbst einen schlimmen Arm, die Pocken schlugen an, wie man sagt. Es ging damals der Witz rund, Dr. Steiner mache die Frauenbewegung mit — die darin bestand, dass wir alle, meistens Frauen, eben oft den kranken Arm gerieben haben.»

It is from a document of memories of Steiner written down by Hedda Hummel. The document itself remains unpublished. Hedda Hummel was one of Steiner’s stenographers.

Not to make too much of it — it is still just an anecdote — but considering the opposition to vaccines cultivated by some waldorf fans today, it is nonetheless fascinating. It isn’t too surprising, though, if you’ve read Steiner on the subject. His stance is — to be charitable — a little  bit more ‘nuanced’ than that of many anti-vaccine enthusiasts today or — to be a little less charitable — simply contradictory (meaning, you can find statements to support rejection of vaccines — and statements supporting vaccine). I wonder what he would have to say if he were here today? What would he say to those parents who eschew vaccination altogether, even for the most horrible diseases, like polio?


Well, the book is worth reading. Here’s the publisher’s page.

One thought on “steiner anecdotes

  1. Tom Mellett — I’m exhausted. I don’t want the circus to start again. I know it was ‘just’ a translation (and, correct, the joke isn’t funny). But I can’t allow downwards spiral to begin again, because I apparently can’t deal with it, as the development in december amply proved. Try getting it posted on critics.

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