Peter Selg on Karl Koenig

On the 5th-6th September 2008 Prof.Dr.Med.Peter Selg gave four lectures on Karl Koenig’s biography in Rudolf Steiner House. Prof..Peter Selg is a consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy and the Director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Anthroposophic Research in Arlesheim, Switzerland. He is Professor for Medical Anthropology at the Alanus
Hochschule for Arts and Society in Alter near Bonn, Germany. He has written numerous works concerning anthroposophic medicine and a biography of Rudolf Steiner as well.

Prof.Peter Segl talked about Karl Koenig’s life, about his destiny as the Austrian Jewish refugee in England after the year 1939 when Hitler invaded Austria. This was an Austrian paediatrician who at this time left Vienna for Aberdeen in Scotland. During World War II he set up the first Camphill Community for Children in Need of special Care at Camphill, by Miltimber, on the outskirts of Aberdeen. “Candle on the Hill” is a chapter written in Friedwart Bock's
book, which is a picture of the conditions of living in Aberdeen in Scotland. Some sentences from this book Candle on the hill. “It is a cold Scottish May in 1939. Picture, if you will, a small but dedicated group of Austrian refugees, living and working in a manse, without electricity or heating, on a bleak windy hill outside Aberdeen, Scotland. Some of them are Jewish, escaping inevitable war in their country.“

The lectures of Prof. Peter Selg in this conference of the medical section were quite original. He did not use an exact construction of the contents of his two recent publications on Karl Koenig’s life. Prof P.Selg spoke with monotone diction of the sentences about the personality of Karel Koenig, his work with the children with special needs, with the background of social problems, personal depression, headache and overtaken with his work with the patients. The source of his lectures on Karl Koenig Prof P.Selg founded on correspondence and personal diaries of Karel Koenig. Prof. Peter Selg did not make deep analyses if the Karl Koenig’s work. He tried to introduce us to Karel Koenig’s great personality, to his courage and faith, to his work in the historical epoch before and after World War II. Prof. Peter Selg explained to the audience in the hall in Steiner House, which was full, why Karel Koenig was so important as the founder of the. Camphill Movement. He described to us his humanistic communication with the children and all the visitors to Camphill. The idea of Karel Koenig, that children whom he treated in Camphill generally knew the diagnosis of their illness, was interesting. Karel Koning, in the words of Prof P.Selg, started to talk with his patients every morning during the working week, continuing until the evening. Karl Koenig was a skilled anthroposophical paediatrician, inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s research into anthroposophical medicine and the education of children from their birth. Prof. P.Selg mentioned this fact as very important in the K.Koenig’s life.

Prof Peter Selg said that the all work of this Austrian paediatrician is still waiting in the archives for serious research and publication. In 1969, Karl Koenig started to live in Brachenreuthe, near Uberlingen on lake Constance in Germany. He set up the community for children and adults with special needs. He died in 1966.

I am very grateful to Professor Selg for his lectures. They help me to understand care of children and adults with special needs. For an Art Therapist like me it is valuable background. I did not know about Karl Koenig’s work, and I am not alone.

Libuse Mikova-Mika,
121 Westfields,
St. Albans AL3 4JR
01727 864257

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