Statements that Appall

(Is "bile" the right word? Maybe not.
Steiner seemed to be a nice guy, generally.
Loony, but nice enough.
Yet consider what sometimes passed his lips
or flowed from his pen.) 



What were Rudolf Steiner’s most deplorable statements? It is almost impossible to compile a complete list. The task is doubly difficult if we work in English rather than in Steiner’s native tongue, German. Some — perhaps many — of Steiner’s more deplorable remarks have not be translated into English by his publishers. Still, we can make a start. Here are numerous cringe-worthy quotations. In addition to statements reflecting racism, anti-Semitism, and the stereotyping of people Steiner considered subhuman, the list includes statements showing how Steiner wanted Waldorf students to be classified and punished. The latter comments may not be, technically, hateful. But they will probably make parents’ hair stand up.

A bit of advice: Anthroposophists become apoplectic when Steiner’s racism and other scurrilous opinions are laid bare. The Internet carries many Anthroposophical defenses of Steiner. Read some of these defenses; they are interesting. But also read Steiner. Here, I will make few comments of my own; mainly, I will simply quote Steiner. He can speak for himself.


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


◊ [Racism“[B]lacks in Africa characteristically suck in, absorb, all light and heat from the cosmos ... [T]he aspects which pertain to the body and the metabolism are strongly developed in a Negro. He has a strong sexual urge — as people call it — strong instincts. And as, with him, all that comes from the sun — light and heat — really is at the skin's surface, all of his metabolism works as if the sun itself is boiling in his inside. This causes his passions. Within a Negro, cooking is going on all the time; and the cerebellum kindles the fire....” — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS, p. 55. 

◊ [Racism“The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe ... It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race [of the French] and contributes considerably toward French decadence.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 558-559.

◊ [Racism] “On one side we find the black race, which is earthly at most. If it moves to the West, it becomes extinct. We also have the yellow race, which is in the middle between earth and the cosmos. If it moves to the East, it becomes brown, attaches itself too much to the cosmos, and becomes extinct. The white race is the future, the race that is spiritually creative.” — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS, p. 62. According to Steiner, races become “extinct” when they move to the wrong neighborhood. The physical separation of the races — each staying where it belongs — is necessitated by the races' very nature, according to Steiner.

◊ [Where Races Belong] "When we ask which race belongs to which part of the earth, we must say: the yellow race, the Mongols, the Mongolian race belongs to Asia, the white race or the Caucasian race belongs to Europe, and the black race or the Negro race belongs to Africa. The Negro race does not belong to Europe, and the fact that this race is now playing such a large role in Europe is of course nothing but a nuisance." — Rudolf Steiner, "Color and the Races of Mankind", VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS. [See "Forbidden".]

◊ [Racial Evolution] “We must distinguish between soul-evolution and race-evolution. 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 [sic]. Enough souls are pouring in from other quarters for incarnation in races that are on the down-grade (i.e., bad souls)  [sic].” — 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 explanatory note added by Steiner’s Anthroposophical editor.

◊ [Racial Evolution] “We now stand in the Fifth Root Race. The Sixth Race will see quite another race, noble and beautiful, in contrast to the thrown off [people who are declining, who will reincarnate as] a race of men, horribly ugly, animal-like, sensual, vicious, far more horror-provoking than our present humanity, because these will go on developing downwards.” — Rudolf Steiner, DAS CHRISTLICHE MYSTERIUM (Dornach, 1981), GA 97.

◊ [Hierarchy of Races] “A race or nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type.” — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 149.

◊ [Hierarchy of Races and Souls“Older racial forms only persist because there are people who cannot move forward to a higher racial form.” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 69. A person who evolves properly moves, through reincarnation, to higher racial stages: “By striving forward...he is drawn up from race to race to ever higher stages.” — Ibid., p. 69.

◊ [Hierarchy of Races and Souls]  “[E]ach 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 ... Look at the [lower] races ... [T]hey only exist because some souls could not climb higher.” — Rudolf Steiner, DAS HEREINWIRKEN GEISTIGER WESENHEITEN IN DEN MENSCHEN (Rudolf Steiner Verlag), GA 102, p. 174.

◊ [Degenerate Races"Groups of men in whom the bones had, as it were, become too strong, were now left behind as degenerate races. They could not adapt themselves to post-Atlantean conditions; the last remnant of these people are the American Indians; they had degenerated. There are other backward groups in whom not only the system of bones, but also the system concerned with nutrition hardened too early, that system governed by the forces of the etheric body; while the bony system is governed by the forces of the physical body. The last remnant of those human groups in which the nutritive system hardened too soon now forms the negroid races. Then there are those who degenerated at too early a stage through the nervous system becoming hardened and not remaining soft long enough for it to become available as an instrument of higher thought; of these the Malays are the last relic. Therefore, among them are tendencies towards certain passionate and sensuous instincts." — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1931), pp. 131-132.

◊ [Evil Races] "[M]aterialistically thinking souls work on the production of evil race-formations ... Just as older conditions which have degenerated to the ape species seem grotesque to us today, so do materialistic races remain at the standpoint of evil, and will people the earth as evil races. It will lie entirely with humanity as to whether a soul will remain in the bad race or will ascend by spiritual culture to a good race.” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 150.

◊ [The Abyss] “The evil race, with its savage impulses, will dwell in animal form in the abyss.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103.

◊ [Dense Dark Ones] “If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense ... In the case of fair people, less nourishment is driven into the eyes and hair; it remains instead in the brain and endows it with intelligence. Brown- and dark-haired people drive the substances into their eyes and hair that the fair people retain in their brains.” — Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND ILLNESS, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), pp. 85-86. 

◊ [Racism] “Negroes” are “decadent” and they “completely cut themselves off from the spiritual world” — Rudolf Steiner, VERGANGENHEITS UND ZUKUNFTSIMPULSE IM SOZALIEN GESCHEHEN (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1980), GA 190, p. 149.

◊ [Demons and Races] “While there should have been basically only one form of human being...Lucifer and Ahriman [arch-demons] preserved [earlier human types] ... Thus, forms that should have disappeared remained. Instead of racial diversities developing consecutively, older racial forms remained unchanged and newer ones began to evolve at the same time. Instead of the intended consecutive development of races, there was a coexistence of races. That is how it came about that physically different races inhabited the earth and are still there in our time although evolution should really have proceeded....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), p. 75.

◊ [Childish Blacks“[A] centre [sic] 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.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 75.

◊ [Black Novels] “[I]f we give these Negro novels to pregnant [white] women to read, then it won’t even be necessary for Negroes to come to Europe in order for mulattos to appear. Simply through the spiritual effects of reading Negro novels, a multitude of children will be born in Europe that are completely gray, that have mulatto hair, that look like mulattos!” — Rudolf Steiner, ÜBER GESUNDHEIT UND KRANKHEIT (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1994), GA 348, p. 189.

◊ [Orientals] “The Japanese will...follow all the European inventions, but they will never think up something on their own.” — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS, p. 59.


◊ [Orientals] “The old Chinese possess a wonderful Atlantean heritage [i.e., heritage from Atlantis], but they could not progress beyond this zenith.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 40.

◊ [Orientals"The effects of machinery and industrialism are meaningless to an Oriental. Another thing is just as senseless to an Oriental, whether we in Europe believe it or not, and that is the European politics of the machine age. The Oriental can make no sense of that, either. When educated Orientals speak, they express their feeling that a quarter of all human work now done is senseless. (People educated in the traditional Oriental manner do not do this, only those more directed toward the West and their imitators, Japanese and so forth.) Since modern educated Orientals have a higher degree of atavistic clairvoyance, they recognize that everything people put into machines as work has a very particular characteristic. When someone plows the field with a horse and plow, working with the horse, the work with the horse still contains some natural forces and some significance beyond the present ... When you go into a modern factory completely filled with machines, what you find is a cosmic hole, something without consequence in cosmic development." — Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION AS A FORCE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 32-33.

◊ [Orientals and Substandard Souls“[A] kind of ‘Chineseness’ is beginning to manifest in Europe, as though Europe were becoming ‘chinesified’ ... Consider the following: Souls exist who, as a result of their former lives, are inclined to incarnate in Chinese bodies ... Now since the Chinese population is nowhere near as great as it was in former times [sic], it is, in any case, not possible for all these Chinese souls to incarnate there. In Europe, on the other hand, the physical population has increased considerably in recent times, and [therefore] many souls can be accommodated here who were really destined for incarnation in Chinese bodies. This is one reason why keen observers are beginning to notice that Europe is becoming ‘chinesified’ ...  By bringing about the ‘opiumising’ of Chinese bodies and causing generations to come into being under the influence of opium's forces, it was possible to condemn the Chinese to take in, to a certain extent, some very immature, sub-standard souls ... But those souls who had themselves decided to incarnate in Chinese bodies were thereby prevented from approaching these ‘opiumised’ bodies. They were diverted to Europe where they brought about among the European population those traits which have, meanwhile, been noted.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1988), lecture 13, GA 173.

◊ [Racial Bottom Dogs and Top Dogs] “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 ... We have before us in the American race a primitive aboriginal people that has remained far, far behind, among other things in regard to its religious worldview. But this race has retained the belief in a monotheistic god, which speaks to it from all the sounds of nature ... But the Europeans have ascended to a higher level of culture, while the Indians have remained behind and become decadent. One must always pay attention to this evolutionary process. It can be described as follows. In the course of millennia our planet transforms itself, and this transformation also demands a development of humankind. Those side branches that no longer fit in to current conditions become decadent. Thus we have an upright evolutionary trunk as well as side branches which decay." — Rudolf Steiner, MENSCHHEITSENTWICKELUNG UND CHRISTUS-ERKENNTNIS (Rudolf Steiner Verag, 1981), GA 100, pp. 243-244.

◊ [Normal Humans and Others] “[I]t was the normal human beings that were...the most capable of evolving. [Abnormal] peoples whose ego impulse was developed too strongly gradually wandered to the West [from Atlantis] and became...the Red Indians of America. [Likewise, the abnormal] people whose ego-feeling was too little developed migrated to the East, and became the subsequent Negro population of Africa ... [T]hey deposited too many carbonic constituents in their skin and became black. This is why the Negroes are black. Thus both east of Atlantis in the black population and west of Atlantis in the red population we find survivors of the kind of people who had not developed their ego-feeling in a normal way. The human beings who had developed normally lent themselves best to progress [i.e., continued spiritual evolution]. — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), pp. 118-119.

◊ [Blood and RaceSteiner taught that different races have different blood. Whites are evolving upwards, while other races degenerate. Whites can attain higher evolutionary levels because they are capable of exact clairvoyance. But mixing whites' blood with blood from other races would cut this off. “[T]his question of race is one that we can never understand until we understand the mysteries of the blood and the results accruing from the mingling of the blood of different races ... How can a negro [sic] or an utterly barbaric savage become civilized? ... [A race's fate is tied to] whether [that race] be on the up- or down-grade of its evolution...." — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (Health Research Books, 1972), p. 13. 

◊ [Blood and Race“The physical organism of man survives when strange blood comes in contact with strange blood, but clairvoyant power perishes under the influence of this mixing of the blood, or exogamy.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD, p. 42. Exogamy is sexual pairing outside one's own ethnic group, clan, tribe, or race.


◊ ["Indians"] “If you look at pictures of the old American Indians the process of ossification is evident in the decline of this race ... The descendant of the brown race did not participate in [proper human evolution]. He held firm to the Great Spirit of the primeval past.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS, pp. 108-109. Amerindians, who are bony and descended from abnormal humans, have been trapped in a previous stage of spiritual and physical evolution, according to Steiner.

◊ [Lower Types of Humans] [Superior] human beings...remained untouched by the Luciferic influence [i.e., the influence of Lucifer]. [But] in the case of the lower types of human beings, the life body [i.e., etheric body] was too unprotected to be able to withstand the Luciferic influence.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 238-239.

◊ ["White" Skin“The color which comes closest to a healthy human flesh color is that of fresh peach blossoms in spring [i.e., the color of healthy Caucasian skin]. No other color in nature so resembles this skin color, this flush. The inner health of man comes to expression in this peach-blossom-like color; and in it we can learn to apprehend the vital health of man when properly endowed by soul. If the flesh color tends toward green, he is sickly; his soul cannot find right access to his physical body ... Between [pale] whitish and greenish tones lies the healthy vital peach-blossom flesh-tint. And just as we sense in green the dead image of life, so we can feel in the peach-blossom color of the healthy human being the living image of the soul ... You experience the world as color and light if you experience green as the dead image of life; peach-blossom color, human flesh-color [sic], as the living image of the soul; white as the soul-image of spirit; black as the spiritual image of death.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), pp. 93-94.

◊ [The Value of White Skin] “[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.” — Rudolf Steiner, DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), GA 174b, p. 37.

◊ [Us Good Ol' White Guys] “[O]ur white civilized humankind originated because certain elements segregated themselves from the Atlanteans [the people of Atlantis] and developed themselves higher here [on 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.” — Rudolf Steiner, DIE WELTRÄTSEL UND DIE ANTHROPOSOPHIE (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), GA 54, p. 145.

◊ [Brotherhood] “Each person proceeds through race after race [i.e., each evolves through a succession of racial forms]. Those that are young souls incarnate in the races that have remained behind on earlier racial levels ... Our own souls once lived within the Atlantean race, 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 ... 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. — Rudolf Steiner, DIE WELTRÄTSEL UND DIE ANTHROPOSOPHIE, pp. 153-154. Unfortunately, some people fall to lower and lower levels instead of rising with the good humans. See the fifth quotation, above: Bad souls decline into lower and lower racial forms, Steiner said.

◊ [The Need for a Race War[Future human evolution] cannot happen in the world without the most violent struggle. White mankind is still on the path of absorbing spirit more deeply into its essence. Yellow mankind is on the path of preserving the period when the spirit was blocked from the body [i.e., colored peoples are stuck at a level where spirit and body are separated] ... But the result will have to be that the transition from the fifth cultural epoch [i.e., the present] to the sixth cultural epoch [mankind's next evolutionary stage] cannot happen differently than as a violent fight between white mankind and colored mankind in the most varied areas.” — Rudolf Steiner, DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES, p. 38.

◊ [All Against All] “The Lemurian epoch [i.e., the period when we lived on the lost continent of Lemuria] came to an end through great fire catastrophes; the Atlantean [i.e., the Atlantis epoch] through mighty catastrophes of ice and water; our epoch will come to an end through...the war of all against all. [paragraph break] Only those who turn to a spiritual life will survive the catastrophe ... The war of all against all will be still more terrible for those involved in it than were [the disasters] of fire and water [that destroyed Lemuria and Atlantis].” — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE EARTH AND MAN IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MODERN CIVILIZATION (Kessinger Publishing, 2003), pp. 212-213.

◊ [All Against All“Consider that through evil separating from good, the good will be immeasurably strengthened, and that after the great War of All against All the good [humans] will....” — Rudolf Steiner, EVIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 194. But the evil won’t.... This is the "justification" for separation or segregation.

◊ [Fundamental Evil“The difference between soul and racial development can be seen if we look into the past. Souls were incarnated many times in the Atlantean race [the race living in Atlantis]; all of you were Atlanteans at that time [i.e., in previous incarnations]. The souls worked themselves out of that situation and the remaining human bodies belonged to the races that had become decadent and were falling into decline. The souls left the bodies of the [Atlantean] races and rose up to higher races. [But] human bodies afflicted with fundamental evil will not have souls within them that are striving to rise above their present state to a higher one.” — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE: Notes from Sixteen Lectures (SteinerBooks, 1993), pp. 49-50.

◊ [Lower Races“Souls previously incarnated in quite subordinate races, raised themselves to a higher level and could incarnate in the bodily descendants of the leaders in Europe ... This was the reason that the lower races had fewer and fewer descendants, while the higher races had more and more.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 30. Note the title of the book in which this quotation appears.

◊ [Asiatic Hordes“[W]ith the dying out of the worst parts of the ancient population of which I have been speaking, the whole region gradually became filled with demonic beings ... Their influence can best be seen at the time of the Great Migrations, when large masses of people, including Attila [the Hun] and his hordes, came over from Asia and caused great terror among the people in Europe. This terror made the population susceptible to the influences of the demonic beings ... As a consequence of the terror produced by the hordes coming over from Asia, there gradually developed what manifested during the Middle Ages as the epidemic of leprosy.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 31.

◊ [Savages“Is it not reasonable to assume the same conditions of evolution for the spirit as we know prevail in nature? Does a more highly developed spirit emerge from the same conditions as a primitive one — say, Goethe and a Hottentot? It is no more possible for a fish to develop from the ancestors of an ape than for Goethe’s spirit to issue from the same spiritual conditions as a savage; the spiritual ancestry is simply quite different. Spirit as well as a body are in a process of evolving. Goethe’s spirit has more stages of development behind it than that of the savage.” — Rudolf Steiner, CHRISTIANITY AS SPIRITUAL FACT (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 31.

◊ [Savages“Now in the human being of the present day the Ego is by no means simple in character. We may recognize its nature if we compare human beings at different stages of development. Look at the uneducated savage beside the average European ... [T]he uneducated savage, with his Ego, follows his passions, impulses, and cravings almost like an animal. The more highly developed man says to himself, ‘Such and such impulses and desires you may follow,’ while others again he holds in check or suppresses altogether.” — Rudolf Steiner, ANTHROPOSOPHIE UND ANTHROPOLOGIE, "The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy", GA 21.

◊ [Savages] "[W]e are not justified in thinking that human beings were originally like the savages of today. The savages have developed into what they now are — with their superstitions, their magical practices and their unclean appearance — from states originally more perfect [i.e., they have evolved downward]. The only superiority we have over them is that, while starting from the same conditions, we did not degenerate as they did. I might therefore say: The evolution of man has taken two paths. It is not true that the savages of today represent the original condition of mankind. Mankind, though to begin with it looked more animal-like, was highly civilized. ... Just as the present savages have fallen from the level of the human beings of primeval times, so the apes are beings who have fallen still lower." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 8, GA 354.

◊ [The Auras of Brutes] “Those [people] who are at a very low level of development and have never worked on themselves (the most uncivilized brutes) [sic] have the aura that was provided by nature. Those within our [European] civilization and culture, however, generally have auras that they themselves have helped to develop.” — Rudolf Steiner, ESOTERIC DEVELOPMENT (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 104.

◊ [Useless Humans"Thus these brown Malayans are Mongols who have emigrated [i.e., Mongols who left the place where they belong] ... They do not have it in their nature to assimilate as much warmth [from the Sun] as they are now assimilating as Malayans. The consequence of this is that they start becoming useless human beings; that they begin to become people whose human bodies disintegrate, human beings whose bodies atrophy. That is indeed the case with the Malayan population. They die from the sun. They die from Easternness. So that we can say: While the yellow people, the Mongols, still remain human beings in their full vigor, the Malays are already a dying race. They are dying off." — Rudolf Steiner, "Color and the Races of Mankind".

◊ [Developing Humanity "You see, it has developed in such a way that these five races arose. One could say, in the middle the black, yellow, and white, and as a side-branch of the black the copper-red, and as a side-branch of the yellow the brown — those are always the parts that are dying out [i.e., blacks, yellows, and whites are core human races; red and brown races are peripheral and prone to extinction]. The whites are the ones who actually develop humanity in themselves." — Rudolf Steiner, "Color and the Races of Mankind".

The three central racial types from Steiner’s 1923 lecture on “Color and the Races of Humankind” — black (Schwarz), yellow (Gelb), and white (Weis), showing the primary traits of each racial type: for blacks an “impulsive life” (Triebleben),  for yellow people an “emotional life” (Gefühlsleben) and for whites a “thinking life" (Denkleben). Each racial type has developed a particular part of the brain: for blacks the “rear brain” (Hinterhiren), for yellow people the “middle brain” (Mittelhiren), and for whites the”fore-brain” Vorderhiren). Degenerate blacks become red (Kupferrot); degenerate yellows become brown (Braun). [Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1993), GA 349.]

◊ [Evolution Demands Separation“Evolution is possible only by means of differentiation and separation ... No god can make a triangle other than with three corners ... In order for special qualities to develop in human evolution, certain groups of human beings must be separated off for a time." — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 25. Steiner often asserted that separated-off people would be saved eventually; but he also taught that some sink out of evolution and cannot be saved: They become subhuman. 

◊ [Separating the Evil]  “Souls whose development has been delayed will have accumulated so much error, ugliness, and evil in their karma that they temporarily form a distinct union of evil and aberrant human beings who vehemently oppose the community of good human beings. [paragraph break] In the course of its development, the good portion of humankind will learn to use the Moon forces to transform the evil part [of mankind] so that it can participate in further evolution as a distinct [i.e., separate] earthly kingdom.” — AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 393. The segregation of evil humans is even clearer in a different translation, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 309: They will “constitute a special group on their own, subject to aberration and evil and bitterly opposed to the progressive community of mankind.”

◊ [France“What keeps  the French language going is the furor, the blood, of the French. The language is actually dead, but the corpse continues to be spoken ... The use of the French language quite certainly corrupts the soul." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 558.

◊ [France]  "The French as a race are reverting.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 559.

◊ [America]  America is a region especially corrupted by Ahriman. “This is the region where, through the prevailing external conditions, above all a relationship is developed with the mephistophelian-ahrimanic nature.” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 69. "Ahriman" and "Mephistopheles" are names for Lucifer’s ally and rival, a terrible demon.

◊ [American & Russia] America is under Ahriman as Russia is under Lucifer. "Ahriman-America should not have the only voice; Lucifer-Bolshevism should not be allowed to do the only deed.” — Rudolf Steiner "reporting" words from beyond the grave, LIGHT FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM: Rudolf Steiner’s association [sic] with Helmuth and Eliza von Moltke: Letters, Documents and After-Death Communications (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997) p. 230. According to Steiner, Germany stands between America and Russia just as Christ stands between Ahriman and Lucifer, counterbalancing them.

◊ [America“[I]t is America’s endeavor to mechanize everything, to push everything into the realm of pure naturalism, thus gradually extinguishing Europe’s culture altogether.” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 70. 

◊ [America and the Antichrist] “From the quarter which will put forward the Antichrist as the Christ [i.e., America] will come endeavours to make use of something that can work through the most material of forces, something that can work spiritually through the most material of forces ... It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually [to destroy spirituality].” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 188.

◊ [Swedish Lunkheads] A teacher: 'B.B. is in my seventh grade class. Could you give me some advice?'  Dr. Steiner: ’He is lazy? I think it is just his nature, that he is Swedish, and you will have to accept that he cannot quickly comprehend things. They grasp things slowly, but if you return to such things often, it will be all right. They love to have things repeated.’” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 412.

◊ [Subhumans“[C]ases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings ... [They] are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon ... [But] imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, pp. 649-650. I’ll return to this statement, quoting it in full.

◊ [Subhumans] “By being firmly enmeshed in materialism, we have people who not only think poorly about the body, soul, and spirit, but people who think materially and feel materially. What that means is that materialism causes the human being to become a thinking automaton....” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 115.

◊ [Subhumans] “[I]n our time certain supernumerary people are appearing who have no 'I' and are therefore not human beings in the full sense of the word.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 180. 

◊ [Subhumans] “The apocalyptist [i.e., the author of the Book of Revelation] is pointing directly at human beings themselves when he speaks about a plague of locusts ... Above all, people who have healthy souls suffer as a consequence of those who go about as human locusts.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST, pp. 180-181.

◊ [Subhumans] Subhumans should be treated kindly, Steiner said, since they may not all be evil. Some “might be retarded souls who have come back from another planet to which almost the whole of humanity once went....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST, p. 182. 

◊ [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. 

◊ [Anti-Semitism"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. 

◊ [Anti-Semitism] “[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 [i.e., Jewish thinking was less than infantile] ... 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.

◊ [Anti-Semitism] "The best thing that the Jews could do would be to disappear into the rest of humankind ... so that Jewry as a people would simply cease to exist." — Rudolf Steiner, "Vom Wesen des Judentums," DIE GESCHICHTE DER MENSCHHEIT UND DIE WELTANSCHAUUNGEN DER KULTURVOLKER, p. 189. 

◊ ["Harmless" Anti-Semitism“Actual antisemitism [sic] is not the cause of this Jewish hypersensitivity, but rather the false image of the anti-Jewish movement invented by overwrought imaginations [i.e., Jews have created a false image of their critics]. 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, 1897.

◊ [Categorizing Students“The choleric temperament becomes immediately annoyed by and angry about anything that interrupts its activity ... [It is under] Libra ... In sanguines (Virgo)...the sense of movement predominates. In the same way, in melancholics (Leo) the sense of life predominates and in phlegmatics (Cancer) the sense of touch predominates physiologically because the touch bodies are embedded in small fat pads.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, pp. 90-91.

◊ [Categorizing Students] “The melancholic children are as a rule tall and slender; the sanguine are the most normal; those with protruding shoulders are the phlegmatic children; and those with a short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body are choleric.” — Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS, Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 34. 

◊ [Categorizing Students] “[T]he phlegmatic child will not sit with the mouth open but with a closed mouth and drooling lips.” — Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS, p. 30.

◊ [Segregating Students“[P]ut the phlegmatics together ... [H]ave the cholerics on the opposite side [of the room], and let the two others, the melancholics and sanguines, sit between them.” — Rudolf Steiner, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING (SteinerBooks, 1998), p. 72.

◊ [How to Treat Students] “If you must slap a cannot [do it] sentimentally.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 323. Note that Steiner was speaking to teachers, telling them how to slap children.

◊ [How to Treat Students] “Under certain circumstances it may be necessary [for a teacher] to spank a child ... I have to admit that there are rowdies .... ” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 22.

◊ [How to Treat Students] “If a child comes late ten minutes, have him or her stand for half an hour ... Let them [sic] stand uncomfortably ... [Y]ou can be particularly effective if you allow [sic] them to stand in an uncomfortable place ... We could also buy a number of little sheds....” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, pp. 109-110. Think about those sheds awhile.

◊ [How to Treat Students] Here is my candidate for the worst statement Steiner ever made, to our knowledge. He said the following in a meeting with Waldorf School teachers. They were discussing a small child who had learning disabilities:

Dr. Steiner: “That little girl L.K. in the first grade must have something really very wrong inside. There is not much we can do. Such cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class. Quite a number of people have been born since the nineties [the 1890s] without an I, that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon. There are quite a large number of older people going around who are actually not human beings, but are only natural; they are human beings only in regard to their form. We cannot, however, create a school for demons.”

A teacher: ‘How is that possible?’

Dr. Steiner: Cosmic error is certainly not impossible. The relationships of individuals coming into earthly existence have long been [pre]determined. There are also generations in which individuals have no desire to come into earthly existence and be connected with physicality, or immediately leave at the very beginning. In such cases, other beings that are not quite suited step in. This is something that is now quite common, that human beings go around without an I; they are actually not human beings, but have only a human form. They are also quite different from human beings in regard to everything spiritual. They can, for example, never remember such things as sentences; they have a memory only for words, not for sentences.

“The riddle of life is not so simple. When such a being dies, it returns to nature from which it came. The corpse decays, but there is no real dissolution of the etheric body, and the natural being returns to nature.

“It is also possible for something like an automaton could occur. The entire human organism exists, and it might be possible to automate the brain and develop a kind of pseudomorality. [sic]

“I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts. Our culture would not be in such a decline if people felt more strongly that a number of people are going around who, because they are completely ruthless, have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.

“Nevertheless, we do not want to shout that to the world. Our opposition is already large enough. Such things are really shocking to people. I caused enough shock when I needed to say that a very famous university professor, after a very short period between death and rebirth, was reincarnated as a black scientist. We do not want to shout such things out into the world.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, pp. 649-650. Steiner was right, for once (although he didn’t see the full horror of his remarks). Such appalling views should not be shouted. They also should not be spoken. Nor whispered. Nor thought.


Is "bile" the right word? You decide.

Steiner's vision was essentially optimistic and affirmative. He affirmed love and freedom and transcendent truth. His admirers often claim that all his teachings are sunny. But, as we have seen, there is another side to Steiner's doctrines that must be acknowledged. If you're going to read Steiner, you should do him, and yourself — and your children, if you're thinking of sending  them to a Waldorf school — the justice of noticing what Steiner actually said. Too often, he adherents don't do this. They see what they want to see in his words, ignoring or rationalizing the rest. This is a dangerous approach, and it runs contrary to Steiner's own injunctions. He claimed to be presenting verifiable truths that will stand up to scrutiny. So scrutinize his remarks. Truth hangs in the balance.

— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings

Demons, depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

[Image from James Randi's 



(St. Martin’s Griffin, 1995), p. 72.]


On July 28, 2009 Peter Staudenmaier posted 

two messages about Rudolf Steiner’s racism:

They cover some of the same ground we have already traversed.

Still, they are worth reading. 

I have edited them slightly for inclusion here.

For those who aren't familiar with the topic, Steiner taught that advanced souls incarnate in "higher races," while souls that fail to advance spiritually incarnate in "lower races," a process which eventually leads toward the emergence of the "Universal Human" in which racial and ethnic characteristics have disappeared. (Rather like a flower growing from seed to maturity, one might say.) Many Anthroposophists take this doctrine to be antiracist, in part because of an inadequate understanding of what racism is.

According to Steiner's evolutionary model, the process of racial-spiritual evolution comprises several simultaneous strands. More highly developed souls incarnate in higher races, and the lower races gradually disappear as the souls overall get better and better. For Steiner, people who do not follow Christ and who instead remain stuck in group identities, in specific racial and ethnic groups, are working away from rather than toward the Universal Human; they are following the Lucifer-Ahriman trend instead of the Christ trend. In Steiner's model, racial and ethnic particularity are the contrast to 'universal humanity.'

This is what many Anthroposophists take to be an antiracist stance. It is in fact one of many historical instances of spiritual racism. A fuller understanding of Steiner's broader teachings on evolution can help make sense of his racial doctrines, which some Anthroposophists continue to defend today.

In order to comprehend Steiner's teachings about advanced souls and higher races and so forth, it helps to place them in their original context, the broader claims about race and spirit that Steiner handed down to his followers. Among other things, Steiner taught that humankind is divided into lower races and higher races; that skin color is directly tied to spiritual disposition; that history and social existence can only be understood through racial characteristics; that humankind evolves by successive incarnations in progressively higher racial forms; that souls which fail to progress are relegated to a backward race; that souls which do progress are elevated to an advanced race; that Europeans and especially Germans belong to the most advanced race; that the white race is the spiritually creative race of the future; that intelligence is correlated to blonde hair and blue eyes.

Many Anthroposophists today are unaware of these aspects of Anthroposophy as Steiner presented it. Frank Smith, for example, denies that Steiner held any of these positions. Here are a few passages from Steiner himself:

"In each root race various stages must also be gone through. There are  always seven of these. In the beginning of a period identified with a root race, its principal characteristics are in a youthful condition; slowly they attain maturity and finally enter a decline. The population of a root race is thereby divided into seven sub-races. But one must not imagine that one subrace immediately disappears when a new one develops. Each one may maintain itself for a long time while others are developing beside it. Thus there are always populations which show different stages of development living beside each other on earth." — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY; full text available online:

"The ancestors of the Atlanteans lived in a region which has disappeared, the main part of which lay south of contemporary Asia. In theosophical writings they are called the Lemurians. After they had passed through various stages of development the greatest part of them declined. These became stunted men, whose descendants still inhabit certain parts of the earth today as so-called savage tribes. Only a small part of Lemurian humanity was capable of further development. From this part the Atlanteans were formed." [Ibid.]

"All of you were once Atlanteans, and these Atlantean bodies looked very different, as I have already described. The same soul that was once in an Atlantean body somewhere is now in your body. But not all bodies have been prepared, in the way yours have been, by a small number of colonists who long ago migrated from the West to the East. Those who remained behind, who bound themselves up with their race, they degenerated, while the advanced ones founded new civilizations. The last stragglers on the way to the east, the Mongols, still retain something of the culture of the Atlanteans. In the same way, the bodies of those people who do not develop themselves in a progressive fashion will continue into the next era and will constitute the Chinese of the future. There will once again be decadent peoples. After all, the souls that inhabit Chinese bodies are those that will once again have to incarnate in such races, because they had too strong an attraction to that race." — Rudolf Steiner, MENSCHHEITSENTWICKELUNG UND CHRISTUS-ERKENNTNIS, GA 100, p. 187.

"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. Even though new facts contradict it, contemporary natural science promotes the view that the more highly developed peoples descend from the peoples that have remained behind in evolution. This view is incompatible with the results of spiritual research." — Rudolf Steiner, ibid. p. 243.

"For peoples and races are but steps leading to pure humanity. A race or a nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type, the further they have worked their way from the physical and perishable to the supersensible and imperishable. The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms is thus a process of liberation. Man must finally appear in harmonious perfection." — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF HIGHER WORLDS; full text available online:

"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." — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS, p. 52; this book was published in an authorized English translation in 1999 by the Rudolf Steiner Press, London, under the title FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER, but the English translation omits the chapter on "Color and the Races of Humankind".

"How could one fail to be struck by the profound differences in spiritual culture between, let us say, the peoples of Europe and Asia! How indeed could one not be struck by the differences connected with the colour of the skin?" 

"How can we fail to realise that the Asiatic peoples have retained certain cultural impulses of past earthly epochs, whereas the Euro-American peoples have advanced beyond them? Only a man with a not quite sound soul life can be impressed with the Oriental mysticism which Eastern humanity has preserved from earlier times, when lower forces of seership were general. Such unsound spiritual life, however, has frequently gripped Europe, people have thought that they must practise Asiatic yoga and similar things in order to find their way into the spiritual life. This tendency proves nothing else than an unhealthy soul-life."  — Rudolf Steiner, "The Christ-Impulse as Bearer of the Union of the Spiritual and the Bodily", p. 6.

"The characteristic of the mission of white humanity in general is to carry down the spirit, to impregnate the flesh with the spirit. Man has his white skin that the spirit may work in the skin when it descends to the physical plane. The task of our fifth culture-epoch, prepared through the preceding four epochs, is to make the outer physical body a shrine for the spirit. We must acquaint ourselves with those cultural impulses which show the tendency to bring the spirit into the flesh, into everyday matters. When we quite recognise this, then we shall also be clear that where the spirit has still to work as spirit, where in a certain way it has to stay behind in its development — because in our time it should descend into the flesh — where it stays behind, takes a demonic character and does not completely permeate the flesh, there the white skin does not appear. Atavistic forces are present which do not let the spirit come into complete harmony with the flesh. 

"But these things do not enter the world without the most violent struggles. White humanity is still on the way to take the spirit more and more deeply into its own being. Yellow humanity is on the way to conserve that age in which the spirit is held away from the body, is sought purely outside the human physical organisation. This makes it inevitable that the transition from the fifth culture epoch to the sixth will bring about a violent struggle of the white and yellow races in the most varied domains. 

"On the one hand we have a part of mankind with the mission to bring the spirit into physical life, to let the spirit permeate each single thing in physical life. On the other hand we have a part of mankind who are now destined to take over a descending evolution." — Rudolf Steiner, "The Christ-Impulse as Bearer of the Union of the Spiritual and the Bodily", pp. 7-9.

"The race may fall behind; the community of people may remain backward, but the souls progress beyond the several races. If we wish to form a true conception of this we must say that all the souls now living in bodies in civilized countries were formerly incarnated in Atlantean bodies. A few developed there in the requisite manner, and did not remain in Atlantean bodies. As they had developed further they could become the souls of the bodies which had also progressed further. Only the souls which as souls had remained backward had to take bodies which as bodies had remained at a lower stage. If all the souls had progressed, the backward races would either have decreased very much in population, or the bodies would be occupied by newly incoming souls at a low stage of development. For there are always souls which can inhabit backward bodies. No soul is bound to a backward body if it does not bind itself to it. The relation between soul-development and race-development is preserved to us in a wonderful myth. Let us imagine race following race, civilization following civilization. The soul going through its earth mission in the right way is incarnated in a certain race; it strives upward in this race, and acquires the capacities of this race in order next time to be incarnated in a higher one. Only the souls which sink in the race and do not work out of the physical materiality, are held back in the race by their own weight, as one might say. They appear a second time in the same race and eventually a third time in bodies in similarly formed races. Such souls hold back the bodies of the race." — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN, p. 80.

"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, 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, GA 102, p. 174.

"Look at the colours to be found in Asia, from the Negroes to the yellow races. Hence you have bodies that are sheaths for every possible level of soul, from the completely passive Negro soul entirely given up the outer world of physical existence, to the other levels of passive souls in every possible part of Asia. Various characteristics of the evolution of the Asiatic and African peoples will now be comprehensible to you: they present various combinations of surrender to the environment and the external manifestation of ego-feeling. So fundamentally we have two groups of people representing combinations: those on European soil, forming the root stock of the white population, who had predominantly developed the feeling of personality [...] On the other hand there are those peoples in Asia with passive, self-effacing natures in whom just this passivity expresses itself in the highest degree. This makes the people dreamy, and the etheric body penetrates very deeply into the physical body. That is the fundamental difference between the European and the Asiatic peoples."  — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION, pp. 120-121.

"We here in Europe call ourselves the white race. If we go over to Asia, we have mostly the yellow race. And if we go over to Africa, there we have the black race. Those are also the original races. Everything else living in these regions is based on migration. Thus when we ask which race belongs to which part of the earth, we must say: the yellow race, the Mongols, the Mongolian race belongs to Asia, the white race or the Caucasian race belongs to Europe, and the black race or the Negro race belongs to Africa. The Negro race does not belong to Europe, and the fact that this race is now playing such a large role in Europe is of course nothing but a nuisance."  — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS, pp. 52-53.

"The whites are the ones who actually develop humanity in themselves." — Ibid. p. 62.

"The white race is the race of the future, the spiritually creative race." — Ibid. p. 67.

"If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense if men do not arrive at a form of intelligence that is independent of blondness. Blond hair actually bestows intelligence." — Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND ILLNESS, p. 86.

"The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe, but it works, in an even worse way, back on France. It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting."  — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 559.

"Darwinism has made many errors in regard to the differentiation expressed by the races actually existing on the Earth. The higher races have not descended from the lower races; on the contrary, the latter represent the degeneration of the higher races which have preceded them." — Rudolf Steiner, AN ESOTERIC COSMOLOGY, p. 23.

— Peter Staudenmaier

[R. R., 2006.]

For more on Steiner's racist remarks 
and racism in Waldorf schools, please go to:

For a report of racism discovered 
in Waldorf schools recently, 
in the USA, see

Here is an item from the Waldorf Watch 

"daily quotes" section of the "news" page:

Rudolf Steiner was an anti-Semite. He may have passed through a philo-Semitic stage; he certainly made some philo-Semitic statements. But he made a great many anti-Semitic statements and, on balance, he must be counted an anti-Semite. [See “RS on Jews”.] 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 be.

Steiner — whom his followers revere 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 against humanity ever committed: 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, "Vom Wesen des Judentums" {On the Nature of the Jews}, DIE GESCHICHTE DER MENSCHHEIT UND DIE WELTANSCHAUUNGEN DER KULTURVOLKER, Dornach, 1968, GA 353.

— Roger Rawlings


[You may also want to read

"Steiner and the Warlord".]


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


Selected, revealing Steiner quotations; includes "Anthroposophy at Waldorf"

More from Steiner 

Other than Rudolf

Who Says continued

Nonsense in the air



Additional revealing quotations; includes "Last Words" and "Reading Steiner"


Some of Steiner’s silliest statements (on topics such as gnomes)



To consider statements made by Anthroposophists
in recent years, see the following pages posted in
the third section of Waldorf Watch:

Waldorf schools in the 21st Century

What they're saying


What they're reading

What they're saying (cont.)

Readings (2018...)

More, and more, and...

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 each page here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the essay on that page; 
others are not — they provide general context.