CARL–ALEXANDER MIER (MIRBT)
Born 4th August 1902 – died 22nd June 1975.
Mark Gartner wrote some recollections of Carl and his life.
Obituary – from Camphill Correspondence 1975
CARL ALEXANDER MIER *August 4th 1902 – June 22nd 1975
Carl Mier died, almost 73 years of age, in the small town of Kulmbach near Bayreuth in Germany, on the 22nd of June. He stayed there with friends, together with Gertrude on the way to Czechoslovakia and Poland. In the last years the connections he wove to the countries behind the Iron Curtain, especially to Czechoslovakia and its beauty and history-laden capital Prague, to East Germany, and to Poland, to many people living there, took an increasing part in his soul .
Full of hopefulness, of concern and eagerness ; it was very clear that his will in turning to Eastern Europe intended more than could be achieved in this life; these countries presenting the not quite reached pinnacle for him . After having stayed there very shortly a year or so ago he wanted to stay there longer this summer . This was also connected with his piety, which often had strong Catholic forms, as with Dr. König. As one of the co-founders of Botton, one of the foremost bearers of the village-impulse, he therefore developed in the first years of Botton, among many other ones, a connection to the Mother House of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, in Whitby, and to its then old foundress Sister Margaret; we owe to this our bell.
But his main insight into the nature of the village-impulse was the conquering of the realm of adult education. His lectures and courses on geography and then on the stars, their substance and impulse, brought not only Botton and then the other villages into relief and incarnation, it also brought his mission, his essential discipleship to Rudolf Steiner, to full splendour.
He himself described the many lectures he was invited to give in England, Germany, Switzerland, etc., as fruits from the tree of the village-impulse: to combine villagers and co-workers in the light that falls upon them both through the opened window of general learning, of unspecialised world-knowledge, of adult education.
He was in the highest sense a friend of Dr. Königs, as Dr. König was a friend of his ; he, Carl, was deeply identified with the deepest mission Camphill has in the rise and morning of spirit-knowledge, of the new Christianity. I am sure we will be able to do our work, the village conference will reach its aims better, through him helping from the other side.
All these are, of course, only some facets of this extraordinary, so often frustrated, life.
Peter Roth – Botton – England (Reprinted, with the Editor’s permission, from Bottom Village News – June 28th 1975)
(The following details of Carl Mier’s life have been supplied by Gertrude Mier. Many readers of Camphill Correspondence will be glad to know there. It should also be recorded with gratitude that Carl put the large knowledge he acquired in distributing `The Cresset’ freely at our disposal when launching Camphill Correspondence. – Ed.)
Carl Alexander Mier was born on 4th August 1902, the fifth child of Carl Theodor Mirbt, Professor of Theology, in Marburg. The father’s family came originally from Moravia and were all old members of the Moravian Church (Brethren), with Irish family connections . His mother came from an old, well known family of University Professors.
Carl Alexander went to school first in Marburg, then in Göttingen, and to the sorrow of his parents did not take up an academic career, but trained in farming, working as an assistant on farms in Westphalia, Mecklenburg and Silesia. But his heart could not stand the strain of such heavy work, he became ill and then studied agriculture at first in Göttingen. There in a drama course he met Gertrude Stalmann and their friendship grew until they married in 1927.
In Göttingen they also met Anthroposophy, and joined a study group of students under Friedrich Hiebet, who was also a student. The way had been opened by an enthusiastic report of H.von Baravalle about Waldorf School pedagogy. They soon became members of the Free Anthroposophical Society, and soon had close contact with the bio-dynamic work of Count Keyserlink; when Gertrude was secretary to the latter in Koberwitz he paid several visits there. He was very active in the Berlin group of young Anthroposophists, and after taking his degree, Carl and Gertrude went to Dornach, he working under Mrs. Scott Pyle in a plant-colour laboratory, she as a secretary to Dr. Vreede with whom both became deeply connected and who inspired him to take up the study of the stars in her new and living way . This work he carried on in lecture courses in many places until a few weeks before his death.
In Dornach at a general meeting, Mr. Dunlop and George Adams invited the members of the Society to the `World Conference’ in London, and Carl accepted the invitation and went as Count Keyserlingk’s representative in the summer of 1928 . He stayed on and with friends like Maurice Wood, Mrs. Pease and George Adams began to introduce bio-dynamic farming and gardening. An association for the furthering of this work was formed and he was the advising secretary until 1955. After a short stay in Yorkshire came years of work in Bray in Berkshire, and then a long and intimate connection with Sunfield, with Fried Geuter, Michael Wilson and David Clement. Later came shorter stays in Cambridgeshire and Kirkcudbrightshire, until he had to do some war work as monitor for the B.B.C. for eighteen months.
British nationality had been acquired before the war, and the name Mirbt was changed to Mier in 1942.
When, after the war, bio-dynamic work could be taken up more intensively again, he worked once more as a Secretary to the Association, first in Wiltshire with the Brocklebanks, and again in Sunfield, until in 1955 he joined the Camphill Movement when the first Village started in Botton ; for the idea of helping to build up social centres of a new kind for the future had always lived in him. For Count Keyserlingk had always impressed upon his young friends that places must be founded where the Christ would resurrect, and Carl and Gertrude had found that only work on the land together with life and work with so-called handicapped people would give the possibility of founding such places.
Carl lived and worked in Botton for some years, handed on the Secretaryship of the Bio-dynamic Association to others and devoted himself to the work in the Camphill Movement as Secretary. After a few years in Murtle he moved to Delrow.
During the last eight years a great urge awoke in Carl and Gertrude to travel to the U .S.S.R., speaking of Anthroposophy as the form of healing education to as many people as possible . Every year such a visit, a kind of missionary one, could be made and many deep friendships were able to be established . This year the journey could not be completed, and not far from the border, on the day before crossing it, Carl died among friends of long standing actively working in bio-dynamic farming. In the baronial hall he lay in state for three days surrounded by greenery, flowers, roses and was buried in the grounds, in the Wernstein Woods.