Thomas Weihs

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Thomas Weihs (30 April 1914, in Vienna (then the Austro-Hungarian Empire) – 19 June 1983, in Aberdeen, Scotland) was a doctor, farmer and special needs educator, one of the founders and leading co-workers of the Camphill Movement and a pioneer of Anthroposophical curative education. [1] [2]

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

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Aberdeen is a city in northeast Scotland. It is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 37th most populous built-up area, with an official population estimate of 196,670 for the city of Aberdeen and 228,800 for the local council area.

The Camphill Movement is an initiative for social change based on the principles of anthroposophy. Camphill communities are residential communities and schools that provide support for the education, employment, and daily lives of adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental health problems, or other special needs.

Contents

Biography

Thomas Johannes Weihs was the second child of Gertrude and Richard Weiss (spelling later changed), who had settled in Vienna from Brody in the Ukraine. During his studies in Medicine at the University of Vienna, he met Dr Karl König and became part of a youth group whose members formed the core of what was to become Camphill in Scotland.

Brody City in Lviv Oblast, Ukraine

Brody is a city in Lviv Oblast (region) of western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Brody Raion (district), and is located in the valley of the upper Styr River, approximately 90 kilometres northeast of the oblast capital, Lviv. Population: 23,713 (2016 est.).

Ukraine sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.

University of Vienna public university located in Vienna, Austria

The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. With its long and rich history, the University of Vienna has developed into one of the largest universities in Europe, and also one of the most renowned, especially in the Humanities. It is associated with 20 Nobel prize winners and has been the academic home to a large number of scholars of historical as well as of academic importance.

Being of Jewish origin, he fled Austria together with his first wife, Helene Stoll, completed his doctor's degree in Basel, after which, at the outbreak of World War II he joined Dr König and the others in Scotland. Near Aberdeen, on Camphill estate, they founded the work in curative education for those they called "children in need of special care," which was to occupy him for the rest of his life. He had a number of children with Helene, one of whom, Christine Polyblank, founded the Ringwood Waldorf School.

Basel Place in Basel-Stadt, Switzerland

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's third-most-populous city with about 180,000 inhabitants.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

The Ringwood Waldorf School is an independent alternative school standing on the borders of Dorset and Hampshire, with classes ranging from Kindergarten to the Upper school. It educates according to the principles of Steiner Waldorf Education and has an enrollment of over 240 students.

As Camphill grew, so his responsibilities increased, ranging from farming and general handyman to doctor, educator, lecturer and writer. In 1957 he was appointed Superintendent of the Camphill work by Dr König. He had, by this time, also established a thriving practice as a doctor, including working at Dr. König's own London practice. At the same time he travelled widely, lecturing at Camphill centres throughout the world as well as to the general public. It was in this manner that he met BBC film director Jonathan Stedall, then 28 and taking a year off to study at Emerson College. Their collaboration led to the numerous films for British television that Stedall made on Camphill such as "Candle on the Hill".

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.

Weihs’ best-known work, the book Children in Need of Special Care, was published in 1971 and has since been reprinted on several occasions and translated into 14 languages.

His final work, "Embryogenesis in Myth and Science", was completed on his deathbed and published posthumously.

Besides this, his work as sculptor led to a considerable number of pieces set up all over the various farms and public buildings of Camphill.

Films of Jonathan Stedall on Camphill

1967–68 in Need of Special Care (BBC2 2 × 60'):

1973

1990

Published works

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

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Books

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References

  1. ‘’The Builders of Camphill: Lives and Destinies of the Founders’’ Edited by Friedwart Bock, Article by Christine Polyblank, Floris Books, 2004 ISBN   9780863154423
  2. ‘’Thomas Weihs’’ – Biographischer Eintrag in der Online-Dokumentation der anthroposophischen Forschungsstelle Kulturimpuls