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Karl König Archive Series

Karl König: My Task

Autobiography and Biographies

August 2008
More details
  • Publisher
    Floris Books
  • Published
    21st August 2008
  • ISBN 9780863156281
  • Language English
  • Pages 112 pp.

This book presents an inspiring introduction to Karl König's remarkable life and work. It combines König's autobiographical fragment and an essay by Peter Selg, along with two selected reminiscences written by König's colleagues Anke Weihs and Hans-Heinrich Engel.

Born into a Jewish family in 1902, Karl König grew up in Vienna during the final years of the Austro–Hungarian Empire. He studied medicine, and during that time encounted the work of Rudolf Steiner. Soon after graduating, he worked with Ita Wegman in Switzerland, where he also met his wife Tilla.

Dr. König was a pioneer in the early days of Pilgramshain, a home for children with special needs in Silesia, Germany. However, in 1936 political pressure forced him to leave Germany for Austria, where he began a successful medical practice and became the focus of a group of young people interested in Steiner's work.

Following the annexation of Austria by the Nazis, König and many of the young people around him emigrated to Great Britain as refugees. The ideal of working together as a community was put into practice with the establishment of Camphill in 1939. König was the driving force behind the expansion of the Camphill movement across the British Isles and into Europe, South Africa, and North America. Karl König crossed the threshold in 1966.

C O N T E N T S:


Autobiographical Fragment by Karl König
A Biographical Sketch by Peter Selg
Life with Dr. König by Anke Weihs
Some Personal Memories by Hans-Heinrich Engel


Karl König

Karl König (1902–1966) was born in Vienna, in Austria-Hungary, the only son of a Jewish shoemaker. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna and graduated in 1927, with a special interest in embryology. After graduating, he was invited by Ita Wegman to work in her Klinisch-Therapeutisches Institut, a clinic in Arlesheim, Switzerland for people with special needs. He married Mathilde Maasberg in 1929. Dr. König was appointed paediatrician at the Rudolf Steiner-inspired Schloß Pilgrimshain institute in Strzegom, where he worked until 1936, when he returned to Vienna and established a successful medical practice. Owing to Hitler's invasion of Austria, he was forced to flee Vienna to Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1938. Dr. König was interned briefly at the beginning of World War II, but on his release in 1940 he set up the first Camphill Community for Children in Need of Special Care at Camphill on the outskirts of Aberdeen. From the mid-1950s, König began more communities, including one in North Yorkshire, the first to care for those beyond school age with special needs. In 1964, König moved to Brachenreuthe near Überlingen on Lake Constance, Germany, where he set up another community, where he died in 1966.