Wednesday 29 April 2015

Ernst Lehrs

Leopold Edgar was Ernst Lehrs’ real name. He was born on 30 July 1894, the son of Ernst Julius and Clara Lehrs.

He volunteered his services for World War I and became an officer. He came back from this war believing, as did many young people of his generation, that society must be fundamentally changed.

He discovered anthroposophy and became interested in the teachings of Rudolph Steiner. To his mother’s disappointment, he gave up his career as a scientist and became one of the first teachers at the Stuttgart Waldorf School in 1921. At this point he also took on his father’s name, Ernst. This worried his mother even more.

However, he remained close to his mother and together they extended their knowledge and understanding of the cultures around them.

Clara Lehrs remained sceptical about the teachings of Steiner. Yet she worked for the Anthroposophist Conference Centre in Jena for a while, and as she wanted to give that up, Ernst persuaded her to build a house with him in Stuttgart that she could run as a boarding house for children at the Waldorf School. The house was completed in 1928.

From 7 April 1933 “non-Aryans” were no longer allowed to teach. It counted for nothing that Ernst had fought for Germany in World War 1 and that he had received the Iron Cross. He was no longer allowed to be a teacher. The arguments went back and forth but Ernst was dismissed from the Waldorf School with three other teachers: Freidrich Hiebel, Alexander Strakosch and Karl Schubert.

He was now without a job and saw no future in Germany. He emigrated first to Holland and then England, in both cases continuing to work for the Steiner schools. He only came back to Germany in 1952. He worked then as a lecturer at the newly established course in anthroposophical curative education in Eckwälden, where he remained until his death on 31 December 1979. He wrote several books about anthroposophy.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Emil Kühn

Emil Kühn was born on 6 February 1886 in Schwäbisch-Gmund, Germany. The family moved to Stuttgart when his father, who had a silverware factory, died in 1895.
He went to the Gymnasium (Grammar School) and the Realschule  (Technical grammar School) in Stuttgart. He studied geology and mineralogy in Freiberg and his PhD thesis was about the preservation of precious metals.
He worked for a lead and silver mining company immediately after his studies and from 1912 he worked for the Behr furniture factory. There he learnt about anthroposophy form the women he would later marry, Martha Behr. In 1920 he became a member of the Anthroposophy Association.
He was active in the founding of the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart. From 1936-1938 and then from 1945-59 he was the chairman of Waldorf Schools Association. He was also for many years the chairman of the Anthroposophist Building Union and treasurer of the building fund.
In 1939 he bought Haus Lehrs from Clara Lehrs for 30,000 marks. This enabled her to pay the money she owed to the authorities and allowed the work of the Special Class to go on.  
After 1945 to 1965 he was the CEO of the German Anthroposophy Society.
He continued his connection to the Waldorf / Anthroposophy movements and celebrated his 80th birthday with a Eurhythmy display in the Rudolph Steiner Haus in Stuttgart, a house he had helped to build.
He died on 9 November 1968.