Between Occultism and Nazism

Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era


The relationship between Nazism and occultism has been an object of fascination and speculation for decades. Peter Staudenmaier’s Between Occultism and Nazism provides a detailed historical examination centered on the anthroposophist movement founded by Rudolf Steiner. Its surprising findings reveal a remarkable level of Nazi support for Waldorf schools, biodynamic farming, and other anthroposophist initiatives, even as Nazi officials attempted to suppress occult tendencies. The book also includes an analysis of anthroposophist involvement in the racial policies of Fascist Italy. Based on extensive archival research, this study offers rich material on controversial questions about the nature of esoteric spirituality and alternative cultural ideals and their political resonance.

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Peter Staudenmaier, Ph.D. (Cornell University, 2010), is Assistant Professor of History at Marquette University. He has published widely on Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the history of occult thought.
"With his case study of German and Italian Anthroposophy, Peter Staudenmaier presents the arguably most nuanced and best-grounded contribution to this debate in many years. On the basis of an impressive amount of source material and scholarship, Staudenmaier manages to avoid both apologetic and polemical simplifications."
Julian Strube, Heidelberg University, Aries – Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism, Volume 17 (2017)

"For anybody interested in the intersection between religion, race, and politics, this book is a goldmine of information."
Olav Hammer, University of Southern Denmark, Numen, Vol.63, No.1

"Staudenmaier’s Between Occultism and Nazism is a splendid, well-argued and meticulous contribution to the study of one of the most important of the new religious movements of modern Europe."
Stefan Arvidsson, Correspondences, 2.2

"An important book for those seeking to understand the role of Western esotericism in the Third Reich."
D. Harms, State University of New York College at Cortland, CHOICE, December 2014

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