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Anthroposophy and the World League fro the Protection of Life

Excerpt from
Eco­fas­cism: Lessons from the Ger­man Expe­ri­ence
by Janet Biehl and Peter Stau­den­maier
1995, AK Press
ISBN 1–873176 73 2

pp 44–45

Among the ultra-right adher­ents of Anthro­pos­o­phy today are offi­cials of the World League for the Pro­tec­tion of Life (WSL), a small but influ­en­tial and very wealthy envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic. The gar­den at its edu­ca­tion­al cen­ter is cul­ti­vat­ed accord­ing to bio­dy­nam­ic meth­ods, and vis­i­tors are served organ­ic refresh­ments. Yet this orga­ni­za­tion was found­ed in 1958 by for­mer mem­bers of the Nation­al Social­ist par­ty, and today it links pro­tec­tion of ‘life’ (that is, ‘right-to-life’) themes and the envi­ron­ment with racism and a revival of völkisch ide­ol­o­gy. The ‘life’ it is most inter­est­ed in pro­tect­ing is of course Ger­man ‘life’; thus the WSL is rabid­ly anti-abor­tion, believ­ing that Ger­man women should be devot­ed to giv­ing birth to ‘Aryan’ babies.

The spir­i­tu­al leader of the WSL and its key fig­ure for most of its his­to­ry has been Wern­er Georg Haver­beck. Born in 1909, Haver­beck became an active Nazi at an ear­ly age; it should be recalled that Nazism was large­ly a youth move­ment, so that mem­bers like Haver­beck are still alive. 33 Haver­beck joined the SA in 1928 and from 1929 to 1932 was a mem­ber of the Reich Admin­is­tra­tion for the Nation­al Social­ist Stu­dent League (Reich­sleitung der NSDAP-Stu­den­ten­schaft) and a leader of the Reich Youth Lead­er­ship of the Hitler Youth (Reichju­gend­fuhrung der Hitler­ju­gend). He served as a lead­ing offi­cial of the Strength Through Joy orga­ni­za­tion, which con­trolled recre­ation­al activ­i­ties under the Third Reich; in 1933 Rudolf Hess saw to it that Haver­beck­’s pass­port was stamped “This man is not to be arrest­ed.” He sur­vived the R6hm purge to help orga­nize the Nurem­berg Par­ty Con­gress and join Hes­s’s staff. It was Hess who con­vert­ed him to Anthro­pos­o­phy. Dur­ing the war he con­duct­ed radio pro­pa­gan­da in Den­mark and worked in South Amer­i­ca; by the end of the war he was an officer.34

After the Allies rude­ly abort­ed Haver­beck­’s many efforts on behalf of the Third Reich, he con­tent­ed him­self for a time work­ing as a pas­tor for the Anthro­po­soph­i­cal Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ty. He found­ed an edu­ca­tion­al cen­ter called the Col­legium Humanum in 1963, where today eco­fas­cist, eso­teric, völkisch, Anthro­posophist, neo­pa­gan, and prim­i­tivist groups meet and hold work­shops. He co-found­ed the WSL and served as its pres­i­dent from 1974 to 1982. In 1981, he was a sig­na­to­ry of the noto­ri­ous Hei­del­berg Man­i­festo, a doc­u­ment drawn up by a group of pro­fes­sors to warn the Ger­man peo­ple of the dan­gers that immi­gra­tion posed to them. Its first draft began:

With great con­cern we observe the sub­ver­sion of the Ger­man peo­ple through the influx of many mil­lions of for­eign­ers and their fam­i­lies, the for­eigniza­tion of our lan­guage, our cul­ture, and our nation­hood . . . . Already many Ger­mans have become for­eign­ers in their liv­ing dis­tricts and work­places, and thus in their own Heimat.35

Rou­tine as this lan­guage may sound now, when oppo­si­tion to immi­gra­tion in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic is much more tol­er­at­ed and neo­fas­cists pan­der to it relent­less­ly, the Man­i­festo had to be toned down at the time (1981) because of the pub­lic out­cry it raised.

In accor­dance with Anthro­po­soph­i­cal root-race beliefs, Haver­beck is notable for pro­pound­ing the the­sis that the two world wars in this cen­tu­ry in fact con­sti­tut­ed a thir­ty years’ war waged by for­eign ·aggres­sors against the Ger­man peo­ple and their spir­i­tu­al life. Appar­ent­ly, Ger­man spir­i­tu­al life stood in the way of “the striv­ings for world dom­i­na­tion by the Anglo-Sax­on race,” behind which lay “the inten­sive image of a call to world dom­i­nance, like the old Jew­ish con­scious­ness.” Indeed, Haver­beck main­tains, the two world wars amount­ed to a con­spir­a­cy against the Ger­man peo­ple and spir­i­tu­al life. It is a “his­tor­i­cal lie” that the Nazis ran “mass-mur­der camps,” argues Haver­beck, and is actu­al­ly “ene­my pro­pa­gan­da.” It was Rus­sia that was the aggres­sor in the Sec­ond World War.36


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