Rudolf Steiner on Heinrich von Treitschke
As part of an argumentation by Peter Staudenmaier and Peter Zegers that Rudolf Steiner was an anti-Semite, they in the article "Anthroposophy and its Defenders" write:
"... throughout his life Steiner consorted with notoriously bitter antisemites and was by his own account on entirely friendly terms with them. The passages in Mein Lebensgang on his relationship with Heinrich von Treitschke, for example, are straightforwardly admiring of this towering figure on the German right, who was the foremost intellectual ally of militant anti-Semitism (Treitschke coined the Nazi slogan "The Jews are our misfortune")."What Staudenmaier and Zegers describe as the "relationship" between Steiner and the historian Heinrich von Treitschke - as one of the notoriously bitter anti-Semites that Steiner according to them "consorted with" "throughout his life" "on entirely friendly terms" - is "documented" by Steiner in his autobiography as a description of one personal meeting during a lunch, when Treitschke at one time visited Weimar, where Steiner at the time worked at the Goethe archives, editing the Natural Scientific works by Goethe. Nothing in the autobiography indicates that Steiner personally met Treitschke more than on the one occasion he describes (see below).
In his autobiography, Steiner devotes much time to describing and characterizing numerous of the people he met through his life, focussing on describing them from an empathetic-objective purely human perspective, and restricting possible negative comments on them.
This is also characteristic of his description of the professor or history at the University of Berlin Heinrich von Treitschke, on whom he restricts his personal criticism to telling that one did not gain any relation to Treitschke's views when listening to him, telling between the lines that that also was Steiner's "relation" to them.
At one time, Bernhard Suphan, the director of the Goethe Institute in Weimar, a cultural center in Germany, invited Steiner, in his early thirties at the time, along with a number of other people to a luncheon, to which also the well known historian Treitschke was invited.
In contrast to a Ludwig Laistner, that Steiner in the same chapter of his autobiography describes as someone with whom he developed a friendly relation, Steiner describes Treitschke as a lonely person who was characterized by being deaf, living completely in his own thoughts about the world, stuck in his own personality, and with whom it was impossible to have a personal conversation in a more full, normal sense.
On Treitschke's views of the world, Steiner describes them as characterized by strongly personal sympathies and antipathies, and indirectly telling that he - as mentioned - did not gain any relation to them when he met him personally and listened to him either, when Treitschke at one time visited Weimar.
"Among the visitors to Weimar was Heinrich von Treitschke. I had the opportunity of meeting him when Suphan included me among the guests invited to meet Treitschke at luncheon.One may compare this description by Steiner of the professor of history at the University of Berlin Heinrich von Treitschke with Staudenmaier's and Zegers' description of what he writes, characterizing it as being "straightforwardly admiring of this towering figure on the German right", implying that Steiner in the autobiography describes his admiration both of Treitschke as a person and of his political views and implying that Treitschke was one of those that Steiner had a "relation" and "consorted with" "throughout his life" "on entirely friendly terms" beyond normal courtesy when meeting in more or less public contexts.
For some more examples of Staudenmaier's "scholary" way of describing the sources he asserts that he describes in his works on Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, see here.
For a more extensive study on Steiner's view of Jewry,
Judaism and anti-Semitism and the allegation that he should have been an
anti-Semite, see "Racial
Ideals Lead Mankind Into Decadence"
For more on Steiner's relation to and view of the writings of Treitschke, see Rudolf Steiner and Heinrich von Treitschke by Daniel Hindes.
Copyright 2003-2011: Sune Nordwall