Konig's life and times


Karl König was born on September 25th 1902, the only child of Jewish parents, in Vienna, Austria. Although brought up Jewish, he studied many religions and philosophies, and was particularly drawn towards Christianity and the works of Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner.

He studied medicine at the University of Vienna, graduating in 1927, then worked in a children's hospital in Vienna. Following a meeting with Dr Ita Wegman from the Steiner-instituted School of Spiritual Science in Dornach. With his wife, he established and worked for seven years in the first curative home, Schloss Pilgramshain in Silesia, Germany. In 1935, as political pressure mounted in Germany, he decided to return to Vienna. It was during the following two years that König developed further his theories about curative education.

When Austria became annexed to Germany in March, 1938, their lives became endangered. Following failed plans to move to France or Ireland (König's letters to establish a therapeutic community in Ireland have not been uncovered in State records of the period, but anti-semitism within the Department of Foreign Affairs at the time has since been documented), Karl König and his followers became war refugees in north-east Scotland in 1939.

In the following years, the curative educational community at Camphill House, near Aberdeen in Scotland was founded. It has since given its name to the communities that continue to follow König's principles. He further developed Camphill Communities, establishing villages and schools in Germany, the US, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. He died on March 27th, 1966. Camphill Communities have since been established in Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa and India.