Rudolf Steiner’s Family. II – The Parents

Rudolf Steiner’s Family. II – The Parents

15 September 2022 Martina Maria Sam 224 views

His father fought for his children and was a freethinker. His quiet mother feared throughout her life that her son was overexerting himself because of the financial support he kept sending home. It was a poor but loving home.


Rudolf Steiner came from a family that lived in modest circumstances. His parents, he relates, had «always shown a willingness to give their last penny for the good of their children; but there were not very many such last pennies available.»(1) His father, as a kind of minor employee, a private official at the non-state Austrian Southern Railway, always had to fight «poor pay» and had only a meagre income,(2) so that some things were unaffordable. Honey, for example, was «already so expensive […] that with the poverty of my parents we were simply not able to buy any honey».(3).

His father and mother were «real children» of the Waldviertel, «the beautiful Lower Austrian woodland north of the Danube.» «My parents loved what they had experienced in their homeland. And when they spoke of it, you instinctively felt how they had not left this homeland with their souls, despite the fact that fate had destined them to go through most of their lives far from it.»(4) Once his father had retired, his parents moved back home.

His Father – Johann Baptist Steiner

Johann Baptist Steiner (Trabenreith, 23 June 1829–22 January 1910, Horn) had spent his childhood and youth «in the closest connection with the Premonstratensian monastery in Geras».(5)«He always looked back on that time of his life with a great fondness. He liked to tell how he had performed services at the monastery and how he had been taught by the monks.»(6) The «people at the monastery liked him and even gave him a scholarship to study towards the first classes of grammar school».(7) «He subsequently became a gamekeeper in the service of Count Hoyos. This family owned property in Horn. That is where my father met my mother. He then left the game service and joined the Austrian Southern Railway as a telegraph operator. He was first employed at a small railway station in southern Styria [Prestranek]. Then he was transferred to Kraljevec on the Hungarian-Croatian border.»(8) The further stations in Johann Steiner’s work were Mödling, Pottschach, Neudörfl, Inzersdorf and finally Brunn am Gebirge; he rose from telegraph operator to cashier and finally became stationmaster.

This excerpt comes from an article originally published in the (online exclusive) English Edition of the weekly Newsletter ‹Das Goetheanum›. You can read the full article on the website of 'Das Goetheanum'.

Continue reading