RS on Jews

Whether Steiner was an anti-Semite may seem debatable. Steiner made some statements that can be taken as philo-Semitic. But few Jews would have any doubt about Steiner’s attitude toward them and their faith. Here is a summary.

Steiner argued that Jews made a contribution in the past, but when they rejected Christ they became irrelevant to future human progress and, indeed, their influence became damaging. The Jewish god is not God Almighty, Lord of Heaven and Earth — Jehovah is a minor god who dwells on the Moon. Judaism as a faith, therefore, is essentially mistaken. Jews know very little of real spiritual matters, and their thinking has led to such damaging errors as modern atheism. Jewry — both as a religion and as a people — should cease to exist.

Here are some statements in which Steiner laid out his views on these matters. 

"As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries [i.e., they worship the Moon being, Jehovah] ... The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59. 

That final sentence summarizes two of the most basic smears used by anti-Semites: Jews are uncommonly materialistic and they are nearly blind to real spirituality.

[Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999.]

"From the Moon, Jahveh [i.e., Jehovah] reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people..." — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 203. 

Steiner located Christ on the Sun and Jehovah on the Moon. The Sun produces true light, true knowledge; the Moon produces no light, it merely reflects light from elsewhere. In this sense, the Moon is a parasite just as, according to anti-Semites, Jews are parasites. ("Anti-Semites said that Jews were especially linked to intellectualism which they abhorred. They also wrote that the moon was a 'parasitical' heavenly body, merely reflecting the sunlight. In this way, they wrote, 'lunar' Jews were also 'parasites'."  — "Waldorf Salad with Aryan Mayonnaise??" )


"Monism or monotheism in itself can only represent an ultimate ideal; it could never lead to a real understanding of the world, to a comprehensive, concrete view of the world. Nevertheless, in the post-Atlantean age the current of monotheism also had to be represented, so that the urge, the impulse toward monotheism devolved upon a single people, the Semitic people. The monistic principle is reflected in this people by a certain rigidity or inflexibility, whilst all the other peoples, in so far [sic] as their different divinities are comprehended in a unity, receive the impulse toward monism from them. The other peoples are inclined to pluralism." — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 115.


"[T]he ancient Jewish people...did not wish to learn anything in addition to what the human being brings with him as a capacity because of the fact that he was an embryo ... Old Testament thinking [led to] the atheistic science of the modern age." — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES (Anthroposophic Press, 1941), pp. 28-33. 

According to Steiner, Jews are responsible for many of the worst tendencies in our world, since Jews are spiritually no more than infants. Jewish thinking leads to such abominations as atheism and modern science.


"Jesus told his mother: `The revelation of ancient Judaism is no longer suitable for the earth.'" — Rudolf Steiner, THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968), p. 65. 

The Jews' failure to embrace Christ is an unpardonable offense, in the eyes of many anti-Semites. Many, indeed, accuse the Jews of murdering Christ.


"Let us assume that in Christ Jesus we have before our spiritual eyes that which must appear to humanity the most important fact in the whole universe. And then let us set in contrast to this feeling the outcry, the fury, of the enraged multitudes in Jerusalem ... An historical scene is there before us — a scene in which the people cry out and clamour for the death of Christ Jesus." — Rudolf Steiner, CHRIST AND THE HUMAN SOUL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1984), p. 10. 

This may be generally consistent with the Biblical account (see Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 12, and John 18 and 19), but it omits a lot. The chief Hebrew priests wanted Jesus to be executed, and they whipped up the crowd, but judicial authority lay with Pilate, the Roman governor. Christian anti-Semites (whose understanding of Christ's teachings is certainly open to question) have long branded all Jews as "Christ killers," apparently overlooking the authority of the Romans, who ruled the Holy Land at the time of the Crucifixion. "Pilate said, 'Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.' 'But we have no right to execute anyone,' the Jews objected." — John 18:31. Some Roman soldiers, obeying Pontius Pilate, killed Christ.


“[T]he best thing the Jews could do now would be to merge into humankind generally…so that the Jews as a people would simply disappear … [T]he mission of Judaism is no longer needed in human development.” — Rudolf Steiner, "Vom Wesen des Judentums" {On the Nature of the Jews}, DIE GESCHICHTE DER MENSCHHEIT UND DIE WELTANSCHAUUNGEN DER KULTURVOLKER, Dornach, 1968, GA 353. 

The consequences of statements like this, for humanity as a whole and for Jews in particular, have been horrendous. The responsibilty lies with anti-Semites, not with Jews.


"What was it, then, that became darkened in the course of man's evolutionary path on Earth? Take the Jew or take the heathen: their consciousness of anything beyond death had been darkened." — Rudolf Steiner, CHRIST AND THE HUMAN SOUL ( Rudolf Steiner Press, 1984), p. 22. 

Steiner taught that Jews are akin to heathens: They are spiritually blind. And note that all Jews are the same: Steiner speaks of "the Jew." And, of course, all heathens (such as Africans) are the same: "the heathen." This is the core of racism.


"Actual antisemitism [sic] is not the cause of this Jewish hypersensitivity [to anti-Semitic statements], but rather the false image of the anti-Jewish movement invented by overwrought imaginations. Anyone who has dealt with Jews knows how deep runs the tendency to create such an image ... Mistrust of non-Jews has completely taken over their souls ... I consider antisemites [sic] to be harmless people." — Rudolf Steiner,"Die Sehnsucht der Juden nach Palästina," Magazin für Literatur, vol. 66 no. 38.

This is an almost criminally stupid remark to have made in Germany, where anti-Semitism was — and long had been — so virulent. Steiner did not cause the Holocaust, of course, yet somehow his claimed clairvoyance didn't see it coming. Arguably, his active anti-Semitism made him complicit in the impending genocide, even if he himself never proposed violent extermination of the Jews. Some Jewish scholars have argued that periods of violent anti-Semitism are always preceded by long periods of anti-Semitic propaganda. Thus, for instance: "Ben-Zion Netanyahu’s most important work, The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th-Century Spain, upended the scholarly consensus on the roots of that bleak chapter in Jewish history. He argued that Spanish hatred of Jews was spurred by the principle of limpieza de sangre, or the purity of blood; it was proto-Nazi thought, in other words, not mere theology, that motivated the Inquisition. Ben-Zion also argued that the Inquisition corresponds to the axiom that anti-Semitic persecution is preceded, in all cases, by carefully scripted and lengthy dehumanization campaigns meant to ensure the efficient eventual elimination of Jews. To him, the lessons of Jewish history are plain and insistent." — Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Point of No Return", THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, Sept. 2010, p. 62. Steiner did not participate in a "carefully scripted" campaign, but his contributions to the anti-Semitic groundswell in Germany are nonetheless deplorable. (Note that Steiner was concerned about the "purity" of blood. [See, e.g., Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (Health Research, 1972.])


"Jehovah's aim was the perfection of form [i.e., our physical form] ... There was the danger that through Jehovah some human beings would become living statues [i.e., physically perfect but spiritually vacant]." — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 26, GA 93a. 

Note the association of Jews and their god with physical, material reality. Jehovah, according to Steiner, is not God — he is a mere demiurge, a lowly and perhaps even wicked god. Jehovah did not create the universe or us, but he did create our lowly physical bodies. Better beings had to intervene to prevent Jehovah — like Lucifer — from causing severe problems: 

"Jehovah's aim was the perfection of form. Lucifer would have been able to develop in astral substance his passion for premature spirituality. The result would have been a violent battle between the Jehovah-spirits and the hosts of Lucifer. There was the danger that through Jehovah some human beings would become living statues and that others would be too quickly spiritualised through Lucifer. Means of bringing about equilibrium [were needed] ... In order to annul the battle between Jehovah and Lucifer, the White Lodge [had to step in]." — Ibid. [See "The White Lodge".]


"Judaism as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable. We do not mean the forms of the Jewish religion alone, but above all the spirit of Jewry, the Jewish way of thinking." — Rudolf Steiner, "Robert Hamerling: Homunkulus", first published in DEUTSCHE WOCHENSCHRIFT, vol. 6, nos. 16 and 17, 1888; GESAMMELTE AUFSATZE ZUR LITERATUR 1884-1902 (Dornach, 1971), GA 32, p. 152. 

Steiner taught that Jews and their culture tend to undermine the high, true, Christian culture of Europe. In this, Steiner echoed an article of faith among anti-Semites in his time; to some degree, the same smear persists in our own time.


"Diabetes is today more prevalent among Jews. Certainly others also have diabetes, but it occurs with particular frequency today among Jews. These people have a tendency to diabetes. The Jew has more difficulty absorbing sugar, yet on the other hand he requires it ... Pork makes the assimilation of sugar extremely difficult — pork aggravates diabetes unusually in the human being — so the prohibition of pork was calculated particularly to prevent diabetes." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 284. 

All racists, Steiner included, believe that there are deep physical differences between the races, not just superficial differences such as skin color. Steiner spoke of the occult significance of blood, for example; there are important differences, he claimed. [See Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (Health Research, 1972.]

By the way, diabetes does not occur more frequently among Jews. About 6% of the people in the world have diabetes. Among Jews, the figure is 7%. In the USA, among all population groups, the average is 8%. (For non-Hispanic whites, it's about 10%; for non-Hispanic blacks, about 25%.) In Europe, it's 9%. In Jordan and other Muslim countries, the figure may be as high as 15%. As for whether "the" Jew has special trouble absorbing sugar, the answer is no. [American Diabetes Association,, EUobserver, ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, etc.]


"[T]he best thing the Jews could do now would be to merge into the rest of humanity, to mix with the rest humanity, so that the Jews as a people would simply disappear." — Rudolf Steiner, "Vom Wesen des Judentums," VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Rudolf Steiner Verlag Dornach/Schweiz, paperback edition, 1992), GA 353, p. 202.

Steiner's prescription is far better than the "final solution" chosen by the Nazis: Kill all the Jews. But Steiner's position is not — to put this mildly — a shining example of multiculturalism and mutual respect among peoples. Steiner firmly placed himself among those who argue that Jewry should be eliminated.   



So add it up. Jews think differently from other people. They are uncommonly materialistic. Their teachings have been supplanted by superior teachings. They are behind some of the worst trends in the modern world. They are parasites, clinging to an outmoded, false religion. They were complicit in the murder of Jesus Christ. They should cease to exist.

These are central tenets of anti-Semitism, and we find them all — tamped down, spoken softly — in Steiner's words.

Question. How many anti-Semitic statements are too many? Ten? Five? Two?

Answer. One. A single anti-Semitic statement is too many. No truly enlightened person will ever make a single anti-Semitic statement (any more than s/he would use the n-word or defame all Poles or disparage all Asians or...). Yet Steiner made many statements that are distinctly anti-Semitic.

Question. How many philo-Semitic statements should you make in order to compensate for making some anti-Semitic statements? If someone has made, let's say, a dozen anti-Semitic statements, how many philo-Semitic statements must s/he make in compensation? Two dozen? Ten dozen? A million dozen?

Answer. None. No number of philo-Semitic statements can compensate for making any number of anti-Semitic statements. The only way to compensate for making anti-Semitic statements is to admit your error, apologize, promise never to make such statements again, and then never make such statements again. Rudolf Steiner failed this test.

The forces indicated by the Sephiroth Tree.

[R.R. sketch, 2009, based on image on p. 164


(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999).] 

The best Steiner could say for Judaism is that it was once relevant; it once conveyed spiritual knowledge. In the past, Judaism made its contribution. But whatever truth Judaism once embodied has long been forgotten, by Jews and everyone else. The Jewish contribution that has been supplanted by more up-to-date spiritual knowledge. The source of true knowledge today is Anthroposophy — that is, Steiner's own teachings.

Let's look into this a bit further. 

Here are excerpts from a lecture Steiner delivered on May 10, 1924. Answering a question from a Mr. Dollinger, Steiner spoke thus: 

"Today we'll consider what the ancient Jews really meant with their Sephiroth Tree [i.e., tree of life] ... The ancient Jews said: In the first place, three forces act on the human head ... [And] three forces on the human middle, on the chest ... Three more forces act on the human limbs [making a total of nine] ... [And] a tenth acts from the earth (from below)."  — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM, pp. 163-164. 

"These ten forces are the actual connection between man and the higher, spiritual world, though the tenth, malkuth, is placed within the earth." — Ibid., p. 170. 

"[T]his is where Judaism showed particular greatness. When they wrote down their aleph, their first letter, they meant the human being ... [T]he Jews had an alphabet — aleph, beth, gimel and so on — for the outer, physical world, and they also had the other alphabet, with just ten letters, ten sephiroth, for the world of the spirit." — Ibid., pp. 172-173. 

"Over there in Asia, people who still had some knowledge learned to read in the world of the spirit using the Sephiroth Tree. And in the early Christian centuries people who still knew something of the world of the spirit learned to read using the Aristotelian tree of life ... Bit by bit, however, all of them — those of the Sephiroth Tree and those of the Aristotle tree — forgot what these things really were for ... [T]oday we can only gain insight into these things through the science of the spirit [Anthroposophy] ... [M]odern science no longer knows of the things people did know in the past. They have to be regained ... [P]eople simply have no feeling any longer for the way these things hang together ... [W]e have an old German word that is used primarily when people have particular dreams. When a spiritual human being oppresses them, this is called the Alp. People say something comes and possesses a person. Later Alp became Elp, and then elf — those spirits the elves. Man is merely a condensed elf ... [O]ne says: the aleph in man, the Alp in man. If you leave off the vowels, as is customary in Hebrew, you actually get alph — elf — for the first letter. Human beings say elf to speak of this spiritual entity. We talk about elves. Of course, people will now say that these were invented by the ancients, a product of their imagination, and that we no longer believe in them today. But the ancients would say: 'You only have to look at the human being and you have the alph, only the alph is inside the body and is not a subtle etheric entity in man but a dense, physical one.' But people have long since forgotten how to consider the human being." — Ibid., pp. 175-177. 

"We need a new science that is not just a skeleton, like the encyclopedia, but really has everything in it again of the human being — flesh and blood and so on. And that is anthroposophy! So one would really like to say all those encyclopedias can go to the devil — although we do need them today — because they are the dead skeleton of an ancient knowledge. New science must be created. You see, gentlemen, there is something we can learn, especially also from the Sephiroth Tree if we understand it rightly. It has been very useful that Mr. Dollinger asked this question, for it has taken us a bit deeper again into anthroposophy." — Ibid., pp. 179-180. 

According to Steiner, Judaism was once relevant; it once conveyed spiritual knowledge. But since those ancient times, much has changed.

— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings

From J. C. Cooper's 
(Thames and Hudson, 1978), p. 189. 


"People who listen to the great leaders of humankind, and preserve their soul with its eternal essence, reincarnate in an advanced race; in the same way he who ignores the great teacher, who rejects the great leader of humankind, will always reincarnate in the same race, because he was only able to develop the one form. This is the deeper meaning of Ahasver [the 'wandering Jew'], who must always reappear in the same form because he rejected the hand of the greatest leader, Christ. Thus each person has the opportunity to become caught up in the essence of one incarnation, to push away the leader of humankind, or instead to undergo the transformation into higher races, toward ever higher perfection. Races would never become decadent, never decline, if there weren't souls that are unable to move up and unwilling to move up to a higher racial form. Look at the races that have survived from earlier eras: they only exist because some souls could not climb higher." — Rudolf Steiner, DAS HEREINWIRKEN GEISTIGER WESENHEITEN IN DEN MENSCHEN (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1984), GA 102, p. 174.

A central charge leveled at Jews by anti-Semites is that "the Jews killed Christ." There are a few problems with this. Who are or were "the Jews"? Every Jew alive in Christ's time? Or a majority of them? Or a plurality of them? Was it all of the rabbis and all of their followers? Or just a handful of rabbis and some of their followers? And regardless of what "the Jews" did more than twenty centuries ago, how does this implicate Jews living today — none of whom was alive at the time of the Crucifixion?

Treating individuals as essentially indistinguishable members of a racial or ethnic group — the Jews, the Arabs, the Negroes — is the central fallacy and error of racism. The reality is that, according to the Bible, some rabbis wanted to be rid of Jesus, and they whipped up an angry mob (something troublingly easy for demagogues of all stripes to do). But these rabbis were powerless to act, so the Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate, ordered a few Roman soldiers to kill Jesus. "The Jews" did not kill Jesus, nor did "the Romans" — a few individuals, Hebrew and Roman, were responsible for the murder.


The chief responsibility for the death of Jesus lay with the Roman occupying forces, serving the Emperor. The Roman Empire, like all empires, conquered and occupied foreign lands. As the occupiers of Judea, the empire sought to suppress revolts against Roman rule. This meant, among other things, eliminating anyone who might be seen as the "King of the Jews" — a political leader around whom rebels might coalesce. 

"The Jewish War [i.e., the Maccabean Revolt] ended in the utter defeat of the armed resistance against Rome ... Over the next century or so, new Jewish freedom fighters — and new claimants to the crown of the Messiah [i.e., the deliverer or the Jews] — struggled against the Roman occupation ... By a tradition common to both Judaism and was held that the Messiah would be a direct descendant of King David ... The Romans, mindful of this tradition, regarded the mere claim of Davidic blood as a claim to Jewish kingship. In fact, the Tenth Legion of the Roman army of occupation in Judea remained under standing orders from four successive emperors 'to hunt out and execute any Jew who claimed to be a descendant of King David.'" — Jonathan Kirsch, A HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD (HarperCollins, 2006) pp. 48-50. 

Roman authorities executed Jesus when they learned that his followers regarded him as the King of the Jews.

The following is excerpted from the archive

of the defunct Website CHASE

(Challenging Anthroposophy and Steiner Education).

The archive remains open.

Steiner’s texts and recorded lectures contain content that is racist and anti-Semitic. English published translations have been cleansed of his more overt racist and anti-Semitic material ... The English translation is of Steiner’s book ‘From Beetroot to Buddhism’ (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999)...omits the chapter which when translated would be titled “The Essence of Jewry”. The chapter appears in the original German text as a chapter titled “Vom Wesen des Judentums”. The omitted chapter, about twenty pages long, when translated would contain these two passages:

• “This discussion that I have just described to you took place before The Great War of 1914 to 1918, you see. The fact that people no longer want the great universal-human principles, but prefer to segregate themselves and develop national forces, that is exactly what lead to the great war! Thus the greatest tragedy of this 20th century has come from what the Jews are also striving for. And one can say that since everything the Jews have done can now be done consciously by all people, the best thing that the Jews could do would be to disappear into the rest of humankind, to blend in with the rest of humankind, so that Jewry as a people would simply cease to exist. That is what would be ideal. This ideal is still opposed, even today, by many Jewish habits – and above all by the hatred of other people. That is what must be overcome.”

• “Today all aspects of the Jews are dominated by racial qualities. Above all they marry among themselves. They see the racial qualities, not the spiritual. And this is what must be said in reply to the question: has the Jewish people fulfilled its mission within the evolution of human knowledge? It has fulfilled it; for in earlier times one single people was needed to bring about a certain monotheism. But today spiritual insight itself is necessary. Therefore this mission has been fulfilled. And therefore this Jewish mission as such, as a Jewish mission, is no longer necessary in evolution; instead the only proper thing would be for the Jews to blend in with the other peoples and disappear into the other peoples.”

For more on Steiner's view of Jews, see

For information on Old Testament stories 
as taught in Waldorf schools,
please see "Old Testament".

Also relevant: "Genesis",

"Noah" and "Moses".

According to Steiner, Lucifer is a malign being. He offers humanity gifts, yet unless his influence is balanced by other, better influences — especially Christ's — he will destroy mankind. Nonetheless, Lucifer if preferable to Jehovah.

“Jehovah and Lucifer are engaged in an unceasing battle. It is the intention of Lucifer to develop everything upwards, towards knowledge, towards the light. In Devachan [in Theosophy: the heavenly realm] the human being can bring a certain degree of advancement to the Luciferic Principle. The longer he remains in Devachan the more of this can he develop. He must pass through as many incarnations as are necessary in order to bring this Principle fully to perfection.

“Thus there exists in the world a Jehovah Principle and a Lucifer Principle. If the Jehovah Principle alone were to be taught, man would succumb to the Earth. If the teaching of reincarnation and karma were allowed to disappear entirely from the Earth we should win back for Jehovah all the Monads [fructified spirits] and physical man would be given over to the Earth, to a petrified planet. If however one teaches reincarnation and karma, man is led upwards to spiritualisation. Christianity therefore made the absolutely right compromise, and for a period of time did not teach reincarnation and karma, but the importance of the single human existence, in order that man should learn to love the Earth, waiting until he is mature enough for a new Christianity, with the teaching of reincarnation and karma, which is the saving of the Earth and brings the whole of what has been sown into Devachan. As a result, in Christianity itself there is conflict between the two Principles: the one without reincarnation and karma, the other with this teaching. In the former case, everything which Lucifer could bring about would be taken from human beings. They would actually drop out of reincarnation and turn their backs on the Earth, becoming degenerate angels. In that case the Earth would be going towards its downfall. Were the hosts of Jehovah to be victorious on the Earth, the Earth would remain behind as a kind of Moon, as a rigidified body. The possibility of spiritualisation would then be a missed opportunity. The battle in the Bhagavad Gita describes the conflict between Jehovah and Lucifer and their hosts.

“It might still be possible today for the teaching of Christianity without reincarnation and karma to prevail. Then the Earth would be lost for the Principle of Lucifer. The whole earth is still a battlefield of these two principles. The principle that leads the earth towards spirituality is Lucifer. In order to live in accordance with this Principle one must first love the Earth, one must descend on to the Earth. Lucifer is the Prince who reigns in the kingdom of science and art, but he cannot descend altogether on to the Earth: for this, his power does not suffice. Quite alone, it would be impossible for Lucifer to lead upwards what is on the Earth. For this, not only is the power of a Moon Adept necessary, but of a Sun Adept, who embraces the universality of human life, not manifesting only in science and art. Lucifer is represented as the Winged Form of the Dragon; Ezekiel describes him as the Winged Bull.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 23, GA 93a.

"The feeling that a new impulse was needed also lead [Richard] Wagner to his remarks about the influence of Jewry on contemporary culture. Wagner was not an antisemite in the unreasonable and spiteful sense that one sometimes experiences today, but he felt that Jewry had played out its role, that the Semitic influences on our culture must die out and that something new needed to take their place. Thus his call for renewal. This is related to how he conceived of our present [white] race. He said to himself: We must distinguish between racial evolution and soul evolution. This distinction is necessary if one wants to comprehend evolution as such. All of us were once incarnated in the Atlantean race [i.e., the race that lived on Atlantis].* But whereas the souls evolved further and rose upward, the race fell into decadence. Every advance is linked to a decline. For every one who improves himself there is another who sinks lower. There is a difference between the soul in its racial body and the racial body itself. The more a person becomes similar to his race, the more he loves that which is temporal, transitory, and tied to the attributes of his race, the more he belongs to the decline of the race. The more he frees himself, the more he raises himself out of the attributes of his race, the more his soul has the opportunity to incarnate higher. A spirit like Wagner, who distinguishes between soul development and racial development, cannot possibly be an antisemite. He knows that it is not the souls that have played themselves out, but rather the races have played out their tasks in the great cosmic evolution. That is what Wagner expresses again and again in his writings when he discusses 'semitism.' Wagner senses a downfall, a racial decline, and the need for souls to climb higher." — Rudolf Steiner, DIE OKKULTEN WAHRHEITEN ALTER MYTHEN UND SAGEN (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1999), GA 92, pp. 138-139.

* Steiner is largely imputing to Wagner his own (Steiner's) doctrines.

From the Waldorf Watch "news" page:

Jehovah (vague blue figure: eyes, nose, beard; head, torso, arms)  — detail from "Jehovah and the Luciferic Temptation", a crayon sketch [THE GOETHEANUM CUPOLA MOTIFS OF RUDOLF STEINER (SteinerBooks, 2011), p. 39.] According to Steiner, Jehovah — the god of the Jews — is a rather minor deity residing on the Moon. "From the Moon, Jahveh [i.e., Jehovah] reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people..." — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 203. Steiner taught that Christ is incomparably more important; He is the god of the Sun. "[T]his Being, this Christ-Being, comes from the sun." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING  Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 307. Anti-Semites have used this comparison — dark Moon, bright Sun — to disparage the Jewish people as a parasitic nation: The Moon produces no light of its own, but it "robs" light from the Sun, just as Jews — according to their enemies — produce nothing of worth, but rob the wealth of the more creative and truth-loving races. Steiner was not an open, avowed anti-Semite, and his followers today try to defend him against the charge of anti-Semitism. But many of Steiner's statements clearly demean Jews and Judaism, and it would seem that allegations of anti-Semitism would not have greatly troubled Steiner, who said, “I consider anti-Semites to be harmless people.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Die Sehnsucht der Juden nach Palästina,” MAGAZIN FUR LITERATUR, vol. 66 no. 38, 1897. That is a stunning statement for a professed clairvoyant — who claimed the ability to see the future — to make in Germany just a few decades before the beginning of the Holocaust. Today, at least some of Steiner's followers are Holocaust deniers.

From The Yeshiva World News:

“Yad L’Achim Calls for Thorough Probe of Anthroposophy Schools 

“In the wake of a recent Jerusalem District Court ruling [Israel] ordering the closure of a school that teaches Anthroposophy, Yad L’Achim [a non-profit organization] has asked the Education Ministry to investigate other schools that adhere to the cult’s guidelines. 

“Anthroposophy, founded by German philosopher Rudolf Steiner, advocates use of meditation to reach spiritual levels that allow one to ‘comprehend his own eternality and be born again.’ 

“There are dozens of kindergartens in the center of the country that teach Anthroposophy. Dr. Ilan Gur-Ze’ev, of Haifa University, has warned that parents ‘are sending their children to participate in an experiment whose effects are unknown. It definitely raises questions regarding the responsibility of these parents.’ 

“...Yad L’Achim chairman Harav Yisrael Lifschitz wrote Education Minister Gideon Saar asking that he conduct a thorough check of other schools run by the cult. 

“’There is no doubt that an investigation will produce identical findings in other schools as regards the qualifications of principals and teachers, the nature of the unacceptable educational experience and the dubious messages that are transmitted to the students.’ 

“Yad L’Achim reminded the education minister that France and Belgium set up commissions that sharply criticized Anthroposophy and asked, ‘Why in Israel are these cults allowed to wreak havoc with young, delicate souls?’” 

Waldorf Watch Response:

The spread of Anthroposophical schools into Israel has been a troubling phenomenon. A deep strain of anti-Semitism runs through Anthroposophy. Moreover, Anthroposophy places great emphasis on Christ (deeming him to be the Sun God, not the literal Son of God). Anthroposophy also incorporates elements of Hinduism and other Eastern faiths (Anthroposophy is polytheistic and emphasizes karma and reincarnation). None of this is compatible with the Jewish faith or with the values of Israeli society. 

Rudolf Steiner made various statements that can be seen as philo-Semitic. However, his anti-Semitic statements should cause alarm, not only for Jews but for all enlightened people. Thus, for instance, Steiner said 

◊ "As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries [i.e., they worship the Moon being, Jehovah] ... The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59. 

◊ "[T]he ancient Jewish people...did not wish to learn anything in addition to what the human being brings with him as a capacity because of the fact that he was an embryo ... Old Testament thinking [led to] the atheistic science of the modern age." — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES (Anthroposophic Press, 1941), pp. 28-33. 

◊ "What was it, then, that became darkened in the course of man's evolutionary path on Earth? Take the Jew or take the heathen: their consciousness of anything beyond death had been darkened." — Rudolf Steiner, CHRIST AND THE HUMAN SOUL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1984), p. 22.

For more, see “RS on Jews” and "Also Forbidden — Steiner on the Essence of Jewry". For more about the Moon (the seat of Jehovah), see "Lunacy". Concerning the Anthroposophical view of Christ, see “Sun God”. For the influences of Eastern faiths in Anthroposophy, see, e.g.,  “Veda”, “Polytheism”, "Avatars", "Basics" [Theosophy], “Karma”, and “Reincarnation”.

Here is a message posted by historian 

Peter Staudenmaier in November, 2012.

He begins by quoting another correspondent, "Elana."


I know we just discussed Bondarev and Ben-Aharon and so forth a couple weeks ago, but the remarkable influx of candid anthroposophical promoters of various antisemitic myths — from Steve to Caryn to Elana and beyond — makes the topic pretty much perennially relevant. In a sense, that isn't especially surprising; lots of anthroposophists believe in antisemitic myths, from the myth of Ahasver to the myth that the Jews killed Christ to the Aryan myth. Steiner himself endorsed such myths, and there is no shortage of esoterically inclined folks who still believe these myths today. The two books that impressed Elana are good examples of this phenomenon.

Bondarev's book The Crisis of Civilization has all sorts of interesting things to say about “the so-called ‘Holocaust’ of Jews under the Nazi regime." The book was the cause of his expulsion from the Anthroposophical Society, and has been subjected to withering critiques from other anthroposophists concerned about the continued propagation of Holocaust denial and antisemitism under anthroposophical auspices. His stance is basically the same as Mason's and Hale's and so forth, the usual Holocaust denial couched as Holocaust 'doubt' (Bondarev writes: "I am not expressing a final judgement on whether the Holocaust happened or not. I simply don't have such a judgement.") He contends that "the exponents of the existence of the Holocaust" have based their case on "forged photographs and documents." Bondarev also recycles the antisemitic myth of Ahasver, a favorite among anthroposophists, and blames Bolshevism on the Jews while insisting that the Jews committed genocide against the Russians and that the Jews are oppressing "the Anglo-Saxon peoples" as well. He characterizes the Jews are a "senile people" and so forth. Naive fans of "social threefolding" could learn a lot from reading Bondarev's musings on the topic.

Aside from works like Bondarev's and Prokofieff's and Boardman's and such, another favorite source among Steiner's admirers is Jesaiah Ben-Aharon's book The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century: The Occult Significance of the 12 Years 1933-45 in the Light of Spiritual Science, which unlike Bondarev's book is available from the Anthroposophic Press today. Ben-Aharon's book rehearses standard anthroposophist views on the spiritual importance of the Holocaust in the progress of cosmic evolution, calling the Holocaust "the Great Sacrifice" (38) and an integral part of "the greatest spiritual Event in human evolution since the Mystery of Golgotha." (28) He spins the same myths about the blood-based hereditary mission of the Jews and the evil sub-human race that will appear in the future. The book also recapitulates the usual anti-intellectualism and rejection of standard historical argument. "The intellect," according to Ben-Aharon, "proves itself completely valueless and misleading in understanding the deeper levels of historical change and transformation." What are needed instead are "intuition" and "spiritual-scientific research methods" (24).

In light of this starting point, Ben-Aharon's conclusion comes as little surprise: "We will have grounds to assume, after studying the occult significance of the Event of the 12 years, that this most tragic and destructive period of time conceals inwardly the greatest Mystery of our age as a whole, being spiritually the fountainhead of healing, courage and hope for the future of mankind's evolution." (25) He portrays the Holocaust as "the second Mystery of Golgotha" (43), in which "the Being of Anthroposophy" had to "take upon itself the karma of humanity" (40) so that Christ would be able to re-appear in the etheric realm. The victims of the Holocaust were a sacrificial moment in this process of redemption so that spiritual evolution could continue: "They raised their divided all-human self as an offering on that altar whose fire alone can withstand the storms of wildest evil." (41)

Like many anthroposophists, Ben-Aharon views Nazism as an alien imposition on "the true folk soul and spirit of the German people" (56). His portrait of the Nazi era is founded on the notion of national character, national destiny, and national-spiritual tasks, and he repeats Steiner's claims about the Jews as anachronisms in the course of cosmic evolution, while Germans are the current leading spiritual-national group, the present bearers of the Christ impulse. In this and other respects, his book displays parallels with Bondarev's. Ben-Aharon writes:

"For the years concerned here, it is especially significant to become inwardly one with the destiny of three peoples: Germans, Russians, and Jews. The tragic karmic bonds that unite the three, when experienced in the light and warmth of the present Christ Revelation, reveals profound mysteries of the past, present and future destiny of the Christ impulse and the Ego development of humanity. The Jews represent the past, the Germans the present, and the Russians the future of this impulse." (63)

"We have to be reminded at this point that, according to spiritual science, it was the evolutionary role of the ancient Hebrew people to prepare and carry the inherited blood-stream through which the physical, bodily foundation of the incarnating, cosmic higher Self of humanity, the Christ, was created. (See, for example, GA 117 and GA 123.) It was this past hereditary bloodstream that now came under the most concentrated conscious attack of evil. At the same time, achieving during the 12 years some of its most destructive forms, the second arm of the same evil — Bolshevism — attacked the future bearers of the Christ impulse and Ego development of humanity, while the present foundation of the Christ impulse and Ego development of humanity, namely Germany itself, was attacked directly at its source through its own spiritual self-denial and capitulation." (65)

Karmic rationales for genocide are not peculiar to anthroposophy. Whether the Nazi program to exterminate Jews or the European slaughter of Native Americans, anthroposophists have little trouble finding karmic explanations and little hesitation in condoning the racist and antisemitic components of Steiner's teachings. This may not not a promising sign for a movement dedicated to spiritual renewal.

— Peter Staudenmaier

Here are excerpts from 
"The Jews - Teachers of the Nazis? -
Anti-Semitism in Norwegian Anthroposophy"
(NordEuropa Forum, 2015),
by Jan-Erik Ebbestad Hansen

When Steiner became a theosophist, his view of Jews and Judaism developed in connection with a spiritualistic understood biology, a metaphysical theory of historical evolution and his Christology. The Jewish blood was according to Steiner different from other peoples’ blood and the Jewish culture and religion were now understood as a preparation for Christ’s incarnation and as a superfluous, negative hostile force after the incarnation. Since Christianity or what he called the »Christ impulse« was linked to the development of individuality, universality, and what was understood as a higher consciousness, the Teutons, and especially German culture, took on a special position in this development. The main difference is here between Christianity and Judaism, but since he regarded the Teutonic, German soul as a leading representative of Christian universality and Judaism as an egoistic, collectivist tribal culture, the dichotomy Germanentum – Judentum became important. Accordingly, Steiner’s solution to the Jewish problem was that the Jews had to be assimilated into Central European culture. 

There are various forms of assimilation; Steiner’s concept was radical, in the sense that he believed that Judaism had to be overcome and to disappear. It must cease to exist. [p. 164]


There were few or no attempts by anthroposophists after the Second World War to confront [anthroposophical] ideas about race in a critical spirit. On the contrary, these ideas continued to exist, as if nothing had happened. Nor was anti-Semitism thematized before others had pointed to the anthroposophists’ »Jewish problem«. Indeed, there are several examples of anthroposophists and Steiner-inspired authors who held fast to their negative schematic definitions of Judaism, and who denied the Holocaust. In 1965, Karl König, the founder of the Camp Hill movement, who himself had a Jewish background, could claim that the annihilation of the Jews was connected to the denial of the second coming of Christ in the 1930s. The genocide of the Jews was a necessary sacrifice in connection with Christ’s appearing in the ethereal sphere. At the same time, he held that it was representatives of ancient Jewish sects who were resurrected in the 1930s in »Aryan« bodies and brown shirts: they were the Jews of our time, the deniers of Christ. In this way, the Jews were seen both as victims and as perpetrators. [p. 206]

— Jan-Erik Ebbestad Hansen

From the Waldorf Watch 
Daily Quotes page for early 2011:

Rudolf Steiner was an anti-Semite. He may have passed through a philo-Semitic stage, and he made some philo-Semitic statements. But he made a great many anti-Semitic statements and, on balance, he must be counted an anti-Semite. Steiner accepted some of the standard lies told about Jews, such as that, as a parasitic people, they are extremely materialistic and blind to spiritual truths. If Steiner’s anti-Semitic statements were not so deplorable, we might almost find humor in some of them. (The god of the Jews, Jehovah, lives on the moon, Steiner said; hence Judaism is the "moon religion.") But, indeed, there is nothing funny about racism in any form — including, of course, anti-Semitism.

◊ "As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries ... The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59.

◊ "From the Moon, Jahveh [i.e., Jehovah] reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people." — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 203.

Steiner located Jesus on the Sun and Jehovah on the Moon. The Sun produces light or — metaphorically — knowledge. The Moon, in contrast, produces no light; it merely reflects light received from elsewhere. In this sense, the Moon is a parasite just as, according to anti-Semites, Jews are parasites. ("Anti-Semites said that Jews were especially linked to intellectualism which they abhorred. They also wrote that the moon was a 'parasitical' heavenly body, merely reflecting the sunlight. In this way, they wrote, 'lunar' Jews were also 'parasites'." — "Waldorf Salad with Aryan Mayonnaise??")

Like other anti-Semites of his time and place, Steiner blamed Jews for modern atheism. He said that Jewish thinking, or "Old Testament thinking," is responsible for the modern scourge of "atheistic science."

◊ "[T]he ancient Jewish people...did not wish to learn anything in addition to what the human being brings with him as a capacity because of the fact that he was an embryo ... Old Testament thinking [led to] the atheistic science of the modern age." — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES (Anthroposophic Press, 1941), pp. 28-33.

Perhaps the most foolish thing Steiner ever said on the question of Jews and their antagonists is this: 

◊ “I consider antisemites to be harmless people.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Die Sehnsucht der Juden nach Palästina,” Magazin für Literatur, vol. 66 no. 38, 1897. Translation provided by Peter Staudenmaier. 

Bear in mind that Steiner, an Austrian German, claimed to have clairvoyant powers allowing him to see the future. Perhaps those powers were not well developed when he proclaimed the harmlessness of anti-Semitism. Steiner did not foresee that rather soon another Austrian German — Adolf Hitler — would prove how stupendously harmful anti-Semites can become.

Steiner, whom his followers hold up as a great spiritual guide, one of the foremost spiritual masters of all time, added his voice to the widespread anti-Semitism that, becoming virulent, led to one of the most horrific crimes ever committed against humanity: the Holocaust. Steiner did not foresee the Holocaust and he did not cause the Holocaust. But he failed to work vigorously and consistently to stem the prejudice and malice of anti-Semitism that infected the society in which he lived. Instead, he joined the chorus of intolerance. 

"Judaism as such has long outlived itself and no longer has a legitimate place in the modern life of peoples." —  Rudolf Steiner, "Robert Hamerling: Homunkulus", first published in DEUTSCHE WOCHENSCHRIFT, vol. 6, nos. 16 and 17, 1888; GESAMMELTE AUFSATZE ZUR LITERATUR 1884-1902 (Dornach, 1971), GA 32, p. 152. 

— Roger Rawlings

To visit other pages in the sections of Waldorf Watch
that include "RS on Jews", use the underlined links, below.


Genesis : Steiner and the Bible

Moses : according to Steiner

Old Testament : the Waldorf interpretation

RS on Jews


America : death

blood : and race

decay : Attila and leprosy

differences : Steiner on

n-word : the worst word, used in a Steiner school

"Negro" : Steiner on

races : Steiner on

RS on Jews

RS on Races : title search