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On Willy Lochmann and Bondarev

Below is something I wrote to the Anthroposophy email list over at Yahoo Groups. It is in response to a lengthy german message from Willy Lochmann to Robert Mason, that Robert posted there. The original post was in German, so I won’t reproduce it here. I’ll try to make my comments comprehensible without reference to the original, since all but a few German speakers won’t know what it was about anyway.

So Willy Lochmann, Bondraev’s publisher, assumes responsibility for expurgating the Holocaust-denial statements from the German edition of Bondarev’s book. He admits why it was necessary: the general unpopularity of the position, combined with possible legal liability. Now I don’t know what is more interesting, the fact that he kept them out of print, or that he would privately state that he agrees with them. This whole, “we’re not getting the whole story about the Holocaust” combined with “I resent Jews making such a big deal about it” is downright antisemitic. Citing English-speaking Holocaust deniers and “The New World Order” does nothing to mitigate the antisemitism. Such antisemitism is rampant in Russia today, so I can excuse it as cultural heritage in Bondarev’s case, but Willy Lochmann has no such excuse.

Citing 20% of Steiner’s output (volumes 160-220 of the complete works) as supporting the position is feeble. Steiner did indeed talk of “historical symptomology” and looking beyond the surface of events. And he attempted to do this frequently in said volumes. But please don’t claim that anyone who has read 60 Steiner books is suddenly qualified to judge whether or not the Holocaust occurred. A far better method would be to check out some of the several archives (the Nazi’s kept detailed records) or any of the relevant books on the subject. You can’t just wrap yourself in the cloak of mysticism and spout of nonsense and expect the world to bow down to your superior insight. Stupid statements like “no one who has not read the above Steiner books is qualified to form a judgment of Bondarev’s book” and “those who have read the above books and still disagree with us haven’t understood them” show a real open-mindedness on the subject.

Lochmann shows quite a persecution complex. He considers the death of Irina Gordienko shortly after the completion of her anti-Prokofieff book as a possible contract killing (ordered by Prokofieff, or merely a supporter?). Welcome to the high-stakes world of anthroposophical debate. The delayed, but generally negative reception of Bondraev’s book is interpreted as an orchestrated campaign to silence him, rather than an honest reaction to a misguided text.

As to Bondraev, the one who knows more and better than everyone else, is it any wonder that he is not popular in Dornach. Besides denying the Holocaust, he has called everyone there a sellout, and accused them of failing to maintain Steiner’s legacy (presumably because they dont do things the way he would). These types of statements illustrate the most important point in considering Bondarev’s work: the tone. Here is an idealist profoundly upset with the modern world. His work is in every sense of the word reactionary. And as such, he shares not just opinions, but also attitudes, with a whole host of other reactionary fundamentalists. The whole world has gone wrong. Traditional values are not being upheld. God will punish us for this. Etc. You can read the section on homosexuals that Robert Mason so kindly put up on the internet (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Sparta/1105/GoodEvil.htm). For a self-professed “Christian Initiate”there is very little of Christ’s love or compassion. In fact the whole thing is rather Old Testament.

And that is just one of the many things that don’t add up. Another example: I have a hard time understanding how skydiving is part of a satanic initiation (supposedly free-fall separates the physical from the etheric bodies; however, if that is the goal, there are plenty of illegal drugs that will accomplish this much more effectively, and they are far more widely used).

In the end I find Bondarev’s work interesting, but I don’t agree with a lot of his conclusions. And I find the tone quite off-putting. Apparently I’m not alone; most anthroposophists who have reviewed the book come to similar conclusions. To Willy Lochman, that means I am part of an anthro-conspiracy to keep the wisdom of Bondarev from other anthroposophists (by speaking negatively about it). Indeed, I am part of an anthro-Gestapo which is now hounding the saint, now that the actual KGB has stopped (his words below). What can I say? I’m sorry you see it that way, but I’ll make up my own mind, thank you. I don’t “follow” Steiner, and I certainly won’t “follow” Bondarev just because he thinks he knows more than I do.

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