Peter Staudenmaier on the importance of
the truthfulness of his published writings:
"I don't take these things
nearly as seriously as you do"
Two allegations cultivated and spread by PLANS Inc. are that Rudolf Steiner was a racist, that he was anti-Semitic in his views, and that as a consequence, Waldorf schools today are racist and anti-Semitic systems of education.

These are extremely serious charges. And they are false. Steiner repeatedly criticized the anti-Semitism of his time. At the turn of the century he was actively involved in an organization to combat anti-Semitism, and he never advocated any form of racism, neither in society in general, nor in connection with Waldorf education, whose central focus is the individual student, regardless of ethnic origin, gender or cultural and religious background.

Also recent systematical empirical research contradicts the allegations. A study in Sweden compared several hundred Waldorf students there (grade 9 and 12) to corresponding students in Swedish public schools. (For a summary, see here. The original is available here in Swedish.)

Among other things the research showed that the majority of the pupils in both types of school repudiated Nazism and racism.

However, the proportion of pupils who suggested anti-Nazi and anti-racist solutions, i.e., solutions that involved counteracting or stopping Nazism and racism was considerably greater among the Waldorf pupils (93%) than among pupils at municipal schools (72%).

"I am very critical of the academic realm and the stultifying conception of objectivity that is so often associated with it. That is one of the main reasons I have avoided an academic career so far and remained an independent scholar (...); one of my goals is to move historical discussions out of the academic realm so that non-academics can participate in them. My published work on anthroposophy is not objective in the sense I think you mean, and no competent reader could mistake it for such"
(P. Staudenmaier, public discussion list, Feb 2004.)

One particular proponent of the myth of especially an alleged anti-Semitism in anthroposophy and implicitly Waldorf education, Peter Staudenmaier, warrants special note.

Staudenmaier attracted the attention of PLANS secretary and cofounder, Dan Dugan, for an article he wrote in 2000 entitled “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism”. Staudenmaier was asked to produce the piece for the Norwegian journal, “Humanist”, and Dugan published a copy of it on the PLANS website.

Soon after, Dugan invited Staudenmaier to join PLANS’s ongoing discussion list as well. Needless to say, PLANS’s demagogic website is a far remove from the “academic realm”, and Staudenmaier’s work is assured a very different kind of scrutiny there.

Thanks to the visibility PLANS gave the piece, ugly rumors were quick to circulate. Internet searches for information about Waldorf would make web searchers understand the articles by Staudenmaier to expose Waldorf schools as “nazi training camps”, and that Waldorf espoused doctrines of “Aryan supremacy”. (The link at the page mentioned at the time of giving it specifically linked to the articles by Staudenmaier at the PLANS' site as basis for this understanding.)

Rudolf Steiner, upon whose educational philosophies these schools are based, was now to be found described as someone who had contributed to the building of the ideological basis for the Holocaust, and students of his philosophy were said to “justify some rather scary elements of humanity”.

Staudenmaier’s portrayal of Waldorf education, and its underpinning philosophy, as agents of “white supremacy”, and dedicated to the furtherance of racist, anti-Semitic and fascist ideology simply defied belief to those individuals actually involved in Waldorf education today.

It therefore stands to reason his work is largely ignored by those actually involved in Waldorf education, or any other organized efforts which stem from anthroposophy.

There is little correspondence whatsoever between today’s Waldorf and anthroposophical movements and the accounts Staudenmaier has given of them in his error filled “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism”, a lack of correspondence that also repeatedly turns up with regard to the published sources the article purports to describe, when looking closer at them.
There is very little correspondence as well between his historical descriptions of these efforts and the work of most historians of Steiner, Hitler or nazism. Staudenmaier has instead sharpened his focus on obscure and dubious sources, and he has attempted far too much with them.  And it is Staudenmaier’s biases, not his evidence, which determine his conclusions.

A typical comment when faced with such allegations is that of Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, former Waldorf student and daughter of Heinz Galinski, Auschwitz survivor and for a number of years Chairman of the Central Jewish Council in Germany, who after the Holocaust put his daughter in the Waldorf school in Berlin.

Evelyn Hecht-Galinski:

"I personally have had only good experiences during my school time; it was liberal, antiracist, tolerant of every faith and not missionary"
Also Waldorf educators and supporters were incredulous. The principles of Waldorf education which they enthusiastically advanced and supported were the antithesis of these deplorable accusations. The Waldorf education they worked so hard to build and nurture was an idealistic vision of progressive education in which, to use Steiner’s words, the
highest endeavor must be to produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning and direction to their lives.
Kenneth Chenault, African-American President and CEO of American Express, and former student at the Garden City Waldorf school, has commented on this:
"My parents were looking for a school that would nurture the whole person. They also felt that the Waldorf school would be a far more open environment for African Americans, and that was focused on educating students with values, as well as the academic tools necessary to be constructive and contributing human beings. ...

I think the end result of Waldorf education is to raise our consciousness. There is a heightened consciousness of what our senses bring us from the world around us, about our feelings, about the way we relate to other people. It taught me how to think for myself, to be responsible for my decisions. Second, it made me a good listener, sensitive to the needs of others. And third, it helped establish meaningful beliefs.

In all the Main Block lessons -- in history, science, philosophy -- we really probed the importance of values and beliefs. In dealing with a lot of complex issues and a lot of stress, if that isn't balanced by a core of meaningful beliefs, you really will just be consumed and fail."

To the cursory reader, the article by Staudenmaier that seemed to contradict this would appear to be well researched, and its author an academic authority with expertise in this subject area.

But closer inspection immediately revealed apparent numerous inaccuracies obvious even to those who professed no such expertise, starting to show up already when comparing the introducing paragraphs of the article to the source it purports to be a description of.

For a further detailed analysis of the article, showing the extent of the fabrications by Staudenmaier in it, see here.

For a summary of the analysis, see The Top 10 things wrong with Peter Staudenmaier's Anthroposophy and Ecofascism.

In defending such inaccuracies, Staudenmaier would note his background in “historical research”, and repeatedly justified the errors and distortions as within the “standards of scholarship”. And those challengers unpersuaded by such excuses, Staudenmaier dismissively scorned as either “apologists” or dilettantes without sufficient background in “historical scholarship” to informedly question him.

Having taken his work “out of the public realm so that non-academics could participate”, he seldom hesitated to pull rank against his non-academic dissenters. While critical of the “academic realm” and rejecting their company, he would often defend even the most dubious of his assertions as completely consistent with “scholarly concensus”.

Over the years since, Staudenmaier has become firmly entrenched at PLANS. Its website features six of his works, perhaps more than any other print or web publisher. He has been a voluble contributor to PLANS’s public discussion pages as well, where he continues to engage in head-to-head battles against any and all challengers.

Several of these head-to-head battles have since been recapitulated elsewhere on the internet, and document the various, and oftentimes contradictory, explanations proffered by Staudenmaier in defense against those raising questions regarding his factualism and biased distortions.   We have linked several articles documenting a few such exchanges below.

Though somewhat lengthy at times, and certainly making complicated reading for those new to these controversies, these dialogues offer a revealing background both to Staudenmaier as self described “scholar” and polemicist. They also reveal the degree to which Staudenmaier has relied upon scant evidence to inform his texts, both in terms of the facts cited and the conjectures interposed throughout.

After realizing the extent of errors already in the introduction to his article, he at one time (2001) told that he had sent a "corrected" version of his article "Anthroposophy and Ecofascism" to several of of the sites that publish it.

But, when seeing that none of them replaced the original article with what even he himself considered to be untruths in it, with his "corrected" version, he then commented:

"I don't take these things nearly as seriously as you do."

On this point, closer analysis of the writings of Staudenmaier repeatedly support him.


1. In the introduction to his article "Anthroposophy and Ecofacism", Peter Staudenmaier depicts Steiner as an anti-Semite and Aryan supremacist by referring to a published lecture series by Steiner, that he says he describes.

For a comparison of what Staudenmaier writes with the source he writes that the describes, and a number of the many stories he then has told through the years about this, when having realized that what he writes lacks support in the source he refers to, see here.

2. According to Staudenmaier, Steiner was an "enthusiastically active pan-German nationalist".

Was that the case? See here for some general comments on this.

3. As one of the "arguments" by Staudenmaier for his description of Steiner as German nationalist, he in one of his articles writes:

"... 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 [My Life] on his relationship with Heinrich von Treitschke, for example, are straightforwardly admiring of this towering figure on the German right, ..."

Is that true? For a comparison of what Staudenmaier writes with what Steiner himself writes on Treitschke in his autobiography, see here. For another comment on this, see here.

4. As another "argument" for his view, Staudenmaier gives the picture of Steiner as someone who in his autobiography tells how positively influenced he was by a book, that was the bible of the right-wing nationalist völkisch movement, the forerunner to the Nazis.

For a comparison of what Staudenmaier writes, with what Steiner himself actually writes on this in his autobiography, see here.

5. According to Staudenmaier, Rudolf Hess, the representative of Hitler, was a "practicing anthroposophist in his own right". Was that the case? Also on this point, as on so many other points in what he writes, the facts contradicts him.

For some comments on this by Ilse Hess, the wife of Rudolf Hess, see here.

For an analysis of and some more comments on this, see here.

After the article on "Anthroposophy and Ecofascism" was published by a Human Ethical respectively a rationalist organization in Norway respectively Sweden, it was answered and commented on by other authors.

After the article 'Anthroposophy and Eco-Fascism" was published in "Humanist" 2/2000, organ of the Norwegian Human Ethical Association, it was answered by Peter Normann Waage, former waldorf pupil and now journalist at the main left oriented daily in Norway; "Dagbladet" (The Daily):

Peter Normann Waage:
(Humanist 3/2000) 

Staudenmaier answered together with Peter Zegers in Humanist 4/2000.

This led to a new answer
Peter Normann Waage:
(Humanist 1/2001)

For two answers by Cato Schiøtz, a Supreme Court lawyer in Norway to the Norwegian journal Humanist, not published by the journal, see

Cato Schiøtz:
Noen bemerkninger om forholdet til nazisme, rasisme og øko-fascisme
Some comments on the relation to nazism, racism and ecofascism), and

Cato Schiøtz:

A complementing comment on the article by Staudenmaier was published by Oddvar Granly in the Norwegian anthroposophical Journal Libra

Oddvar Granly:
(Libra 3-4/2000)

The article by Staudenmaier at the site of PLANS has also been published by "Folkvett", organ of "Föreningen Vetenskap och Folkbildning" (Association Science and Common Sense) nr 2/2001.

It has also been republished by the association in late 2003. See here for some comments in Swedish about the publication and republication of the article by Staudenmaier.

In the same issue, an answer was published, written by Göran Fant, long time Waldorf teacher and historian of literature and music. 

Göran Fant:
(Folkvett 2/2001, s. 42-58)

Daniel Hindes:
For a detailed paragraph by paragraph analysis and documentation of the extent of Staudenmaier's fabrications in his article, see

from 2004.

For some more comments on the writings and argumentation technique of Peter Staudenmaier, based on public discussions with him during 2004, see 

Daniel Hindes:

For some further comments by Daniel Hindes on the allegations by Peter Staudenmaier and some other "critics" of anthroposophy, see here, and here.