Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Karl Schubert - a biography

Vienna 1889

 Key stages in his life:

Born: 25 November 1889 in Vienna
Mother was Jewish but he was christened Catholic
1908 – Began to study linguistics and philosophy in Vienna. He met Rudolph Steiner that year. 
1916 - Married.
1917- His son was born.
In the Great War he was taken prisoner of war by the Russians. He came back to Vienna in 1918. 
1919 – Started working with Steiner
1934 – Had to stop teaching in the main school because of his Jewish connections but the special class could carry on.  It eventually moved into the house on Schellberg Street - Clara Lehrs's home. It only moved form there in the 1960s when the class became a school that was too bio.    
1944 - Came on a list for deportation because of his Jewish connections but was saved.
Note: he remained a catholic all of his life.
Died : 3 February 1949 in Stuttgart. 


Father was a professional carpenter. He had been brought up in an orphanage. He was quite religious and encouraged the children to think of a spiritual life.
His mother had Jewish connections. She was educated and encouraged the children to be interested in literature.  
The children were brought up as catholic.

The Advent Garden

Karl Schubert invented the ceremony.
It takes place on the four Sundays before Christmas.
The children enter the largest room of the house.
There is a candle surrounded by moss and crystals.
An adult speaks.
The children leave the room with a candle burning.  

The growth of a school

1919 Rudolph Steiner asked Karl Schubert to set up the special class.
1964 the school was recognised by the state.
1969 it moved to new premises  

Three mysteries:

  1. Why did he remain a Catholic even though he was interested in Anthroposophy?
  2. How was he released from the deportation list?
  3. Why weren't the children in the special classes sent to one of the euthanasia centres?  

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Renate’s Passport

We’re very excited to have found Renate’s passport. It has various stamps on it that show her movements. 

It was originally granted on 17 July 1936. There is an Italian stamp for 31 of July 1936.  This is the famous journey to Italy which created the need for the passport. Remember her father had a massive row with the officials over that passport and this was all because she was christened wrongly. Her name should have been Renata Clara and she became Klara Renate. In the end he was told to go and get her an adult passport and this may have really helped her to get out of Germany when she needed to.  

The passport was valid until 17 July 1941. By that time she was living in England.   

There are several stamps up to 1938- showing that she was well off enough to travel and that travel was reasonably easy even though everything was getting difficult in Europe, especially for Jews. Quite chilling are the swastikas on the German border stamps. 

There are transit visas for Switzerland and France. Her French visa allows her a stay of up to fifteen days. Presumably this is to cover any hold-up on the journey.  

Her English visa shows that she was permitted to land in Dover on 31 January 1939. This is a little puzzling. Her own account has her leaving Germany 28 January. Was this memory not working properly or would it have taken that long in those days? Or perhaps she was fictionalising her account. The visa was for twelve months. She stayed in the UK for the rest of her life, and became English in 1947. This passport could have confirmed dates for her.  

In the passport we can also see some money transactions. In December 1938 she bought 400 Swiss francs. We can only assume that this was an easy currency to use when obtaining sterling may have been difficult. This was worth about £32.00 then, getting on for the £50.00 needed for the Kindertransport. That £50.00 is the equivalent of £3,000 today. There is also an exchange of ten Reichmarks for approximately ten French francs which presumably were used to buy the French transit visa.