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Karl König Archive Series

Becoming Human

A Social Task

Karl König
Edited by Richard Steel
Translated by Carlotta Dyson
August 2011
More details
  • Publisher
    Floris Books
  • Published
    23rd August 2011
  • ISBN 9780863158094
  • Language English
  • Pages 192 pp.

Karl König, the founder of the Camphill movement, was very aware of the need for change in the social order he saw around him. In this revealing collection of imaginative thought and ideas, he shows, however, that true social change must begin in individuals.

He goes on to say that renewal is something each human being can practice themselves in the midst of everyday life.

“Threefolding in the social realm is not an easy concept to come to terms with, let alone realize.... All the more reason to pick up this very timely book and make an effort to understand how society could have organized itself; and what could still happen if social development stays connected with the true needs of humanity rather than be blinded by power and greed. At times it is heartrending to read how the right path for humanity has time and again being sidetracked. Yet overall it is inspiring to know that this impulse has not simply failed and died out.”

Camphill Correspondence

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.