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    Volume 6 - 1923: The Burning of the Goetheanum

    Peter Selg


    “Try to become one with the world—that will be the best and most important ‘program’. It is something that cannot be contained in statutes but needs to burn in our hearts as a flame.” —Rudolf Steiner

    In 1923, Central Europe was still in disarray and social chaos created by the polarizing events of World War I. In volume 6 of his seven-volume biography of Rudolf Steiner, Peter Selg focuses on one of the most tragic years for the anthroposophical movement, including especially the rise of nationalism and the seeds of hatred spawned by Adolf Hitler and his followers.

    The very beginning of that pivotal year began with the destruction of the nearly finished Goetheanum building in Dornach, Switzerland, delivering a heavy blow to the Anthroposophical Society and to Rudolf Steiner, both spiritually and on a personal level. It was evident that the fire had been caused by arson, and Steiner immediately expressed determination to rebuild and move forward, despite the friction in the Anthroposophical Society and the movement as a whole. Steiner noted, “It will not be viable if things continue as before,” suggesting that the Society needed to be suffused with the “will to wake up...because then it can inspire an awakening of the present civilization as a whole.” He devoted the remainder of 1923—indeed, his life—to that cause.

    Originally published in German as chapter 10, « Der Brand des Goetheanum und das Jahr 1923 », in Rudolf Steiner, 1861–1925: Lebens- und Werkgeschichte (vol. 3), Verlag des Ita Wegman Instituts, 2012.

    26 June 2018; Trans: Margot Saar; SB; 214pp; Illustrations: 21 black and white; 23 x 15 cm; pb;

    £29.99  ISBN 9781621482192