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3 Accommodation, Collaboration, Persecution: Anthroposophy in the Shadow of National Socialism, 1933–1945

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Chapter Summary

Heydrich and other adversaries of Steiner's movement developed a concerted campaign to suppress anthroposophical activities and eliminate anthroposophist organizational life from the Third Reich. These efforts in turn spurred a variety of anthroposophical strategies for accommodation to the strictures of the Nazi state, often through appeals to supporters in Nazi quarters. In this process, the lines between accommodation and collaboration became blurred as anthroposophists attempted to demonstrate their loyalty to Nazi goals. The perception of the Anthroposophical Society and the Christian Community as ideological organizations impeded their acceptance in a state which had no room for a plurality of worldviews. Still, many anthroposophists accommodated themselves to the Nazi regime and participated in its activities, whether out of conviction, opportunism, to the survival of Steiner's movement. Regardless of their conduct, anthroposophists faced persecution from sectors of the regime that viewed alternative spiritual groups as obstacles to National Socialism's totalitarian aims.

Keywords: accommodation; anthroposophist; christian community; collaboration; Heydrich; national socialism; Nazi state; Steiner



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