as regards ... what is independent of our bodily makeup we are all individually
made; each one of us is his or her own self, an individual. With the exception
of the far less important differences that show up as racial or national
differences ... but which are (if you have a sense for this you cannot
help noticing it) mere trifles by comparison with differences in individual
gifts and skills: with the exception of these we are all equal as human
beings ... as regards our external, physical humanity. We are equal as
human beings, here in the physical world, specifically in that we all have
the same human form and all manifest a human countenance. The fact that
we all bear a human countenance and encounter one another as external,
physical human beings... this makes us equal on this footing. We differ
from one another in our individual gifts which, however, belong to our
The central focus of Waldorf
education, as one of the movements based on anthroposophy, is the development
of that essence in every person that is independent of gender, race or
other external characteristics. It makes the Waldorf teacher work at building
an understanding and appreciation of each child's place in the world as
a world citizen, rather than primarily as a member of a specific nation,
ethnic group or race.
Education as a Force for Social Change (in GA 192), Hudson 1997, lecture
of 23 April 1919.
In 1935, this anti-racist
and anti-nationalist stance of anthroposophy and Waldorf education made
the Nazi authorities in Germany prohibit
and dissolve the Anthroposophical Society and prohibit the Waldorf
schools from taking on new pupils, after extensive investigations writing
on Waldorf education in the prohibition:
"The methods of
teaching developed by its founder, Steiner, and followed in the anthroposophical
schools still existing today follow an individualistic and human-oriented
education, which has nothing in common with the principles of National
A multi-cultural orientation has also been
a marked trait of Waldorf education since its inception 80 years ago, especially
in building an understanding of the historical origin of the different
major cultures of the world. Today (2013), there exist appr. 1,000 Waldorf schools
and probably some 1,400 Waldorf Kindergarten and 120 Waldorf
institutions for special education world-wide in 60 countries around
"As a result of this opposition
to the National Socialistic idea of Volk (Voelkische Gedanke), the continued
activity of the Anthroposophical Society imposes the danger of injuring
the National Socialistic State. The organization is therefore to be dissolved
on account of its subversive character and the danger it poses to the public."
Accusations that racism was taught in Waldorf schools
in the Netherlands and appeared in Steiner's writings prompted the Anthroposophical
Society in the Netherlands in July 1996 to set up a commission to investigate
the issue, led by an anthroposophical lawyer specializing in discrimination
issues. The commission set about analyzing the published works of Rudolf
Steiner, encompassing approximately 89,000 pages, mostly transcripts of
some 4,000 lectures, but also some 50 written works.
The key question it tried to investigate was whether
Rudolf Steiner taught a racial doctrine, in the sense of a seemingly scientific
theory whereby the superiority of one race is supposed to be legitimized
at the expense of another.
The 720 page report of the commission, that was
published on April 1, 2000, going through the complete collected works
by Steiner, answered the question in the negative: anthroposophy contains
no such racial doctrine.
For more on this, see here.
Empirical research in Germany, that has the largest number of Waldorf schools
(appr. 200) contradicts that racism is promoted in Steiner Waldorf education.
According to a study some years ago by an independent criminological research institute at the request of the German parliament, to find out among other things how wide spread racism is among German school pupils, the proportion of xenophobic pupils,
hostile to foreigners, was by far the lowest among Waldorf pupils, 2.8%,
compared to "Gymnasien" (High schools) 8.3%, "Gesamtschulen" 16.5 %, "Realschulen"
17.4 % and "Hauptschulen" (main schools) 24.7 %.
For more, see:
2013: Robert Mays and Sune Nordwall