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Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work

1923: The Burning of the Goetheanum (Vol. 6)

Peter Selg Translated by Margot Saar

214 pp.  
6" x 9"
Illustrations: 21 black and white



Published:  March 2018



Published:  March 2018


  • “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

The Goetheanum after the fire — © Dokumentation am Goetheanum, Dornach

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.

Related Titles

  • Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work : 1861–1890: Childhood, Youth, and Study Years (Vol. 1)
  • Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work : 1890–1900: Weimar and Berlin (Vol. 2)
  • Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work : 1900–1914: Spiritual Science and Spiritual Community (Vol. 3)
  • Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work : 1914–1918: The Years of World War I (Vol. 4)
  • Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work : 1919–1922: Social Threefolding and the Waldorf School (Vol. 5)
  • Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work : 1924-1925: The Anthroposophical Society and the School for Spiritual Science (Vol. 7)
  • Autobiography : Chapters in the Course of My Life, 1861-1907 (CW 28)
  • Rudolf Steiner : A Biography
  • Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries : Revised 2nd Edition
  • The Development of Anthroposophy since Rudolf Steiner's Death : An Outline and Perspectives for the Future
  • Milestones : In the Life of Rudolf Steiner and in the Development of Anthroposophy
  • Rudolf Steiner's Core Mission : The Birth and Development of Spiritual-Scientific Karma Research
  • Into the Heart's Land : A Century of Rudolf Steiner's Work in North America

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Anthroposophy: Biography & Autobiography and Anthroposophy: Life & Work of Rudolf Steiner