Alex Podolinsky (1925 – 2019)
Alex Sergei de Podolinsky was dynamic, vibrantly creative, artistic and actively perceptive. He was born in Baden-Baden (DE), his father was of Ukrainian noble descent, his mother was German.
Alex had several siblings and a twin sister, Alika. Because of the Nazi threat the twins were sent to boarding school in Britain. In 1938 they were at the Goetheanum where they were taught by anthroposophists and attended the eurythmy rehearsals and performances directed by Marie Steiner. During a visit to relatives in Freiburg (DE) in 1939 they were detained in Germany. There they attended the Salem boarding school near Lake Constance. During World War II Alex Podolinsky was forced to serve in the German army. After the war he studied, among other things, philosophy in Freiburg (DE), probably under Martin Heidegger.
Land of the sun
As a very young child Alex had a dream of a land with a giant sun. Later, he befriended a boy from Australia at boarding school in Britain and realized that he wanted to be in a land of the sun. In 1949, not least because of the past Nazi terrors, Alex Podolinsky emigrated with his wife Kathrin to Australia, where they had seven children.
He initially worked in a home for immigrants there, and was then increasingly involved in the founding and building of Waldorf Schools in both Australia and New Zealand. He also designed private homes. For him, acoustics were the soul of a building. He loved music, was an accomplished flute player and already played concerts at a young age.
The answer he found to the question regarding the future, which he had asked himself in 1946, was the «procreation of life». He became a farmer who developed the Australian approach to biodynamic farming, an approach that was suited to the contintent’s vast expanses of farmland. Around 1960 he founded the Biodynamic Association of Australia and the Biodynamic Research Institute.
He visited the biodynamic farmers in Australia and also promoted the biodynamic method in South Africa and Europe. His strong sense of commitment was carried by his great will power. When the Australia Broadcasting Corporation broadcast a piece on Alex Podolinsky he was said to have sent hand-written answers to the feedback received after the programme.
Genius and fighter
Probably because it was so important to him that things were done right, Alex could come across as imposing and this could cause social tensions. Ueli Hurter, one of the leaders of the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum, wrote in a letter to Alex’ family and friends, «He was a genius and a fighter. His insight into the life of the soil and of plants and his commitment to the preparations went deep and was inspired by an inner fire.» The website of the Biodynamic Research Institute in Australia (demeter.org.au) quotes Alex von Podolinsky as saying, «In biodynamics we are builders of health – not healers of sickness».