Friday, 6 October 2017


Hunting that most elusive snark

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Karl Otto Bärnklau was a pseudonym
of András Pető's – alledgedly

This note was written in February 2016 but for some reason was not posted on line at that time. Inconclusive though it is, it ought not to remain in the private domain. Unheilbare Krankheiten? is no longer on ZWAB's list. Presumably someone bought it.

1. Unfug der Krankenheit – Triumph der Heilkunst ('Nonsense of illness – triumph of the art of healing'). Hardback

2. Gibt es unheilbare Krankheiten? Nein! ('Are there incurable diseases? No!'). Paperback

As part of our self-imposed task of trying to formalise and disseminatewhat is actually knowable about András Pető, his life and work, as opposed to myth, fantasy, rumour and wishful thinking, Gill Maguire and I have turned brief attention to pinning down the dates of the two books that he published in Western Germany, one in 1965 and the other, well, whenever he did.

They were published by separate companies. As far as I am can see the two companies were not connected – other than by having a common interest in the esoteric.

The softback and the hardback versions have overlapping contents but are not identical. Conductive pedagogy figures explicitly only in small measure in these two books, this mainly through inclusion of a couple of pages attributed to Otto Klein on page 70 of the hardback edition, though unattributed on page 72 of the softback, on which Susie Mallett has commented as follows –
I have a report in German, by Otto Klein written in 1962 after he had visited András Pető and observed his work. I cannot find a single passage in it that corresponds to what is quoted from Klein in Unfug on pages 70-72, although Klein‘s report does contain some of the information that Bärnklau used. The Unfug chapter that refers to Otto Klein has a completely different style to Otto Klein‘s own writing. Perhaps, as the advert that I found for Unfug said, it has been „reworked“, it certainly maintains the old-fashioned style of the rest of the book. Perhaps Bärnklau got the information from a completely different article to the one that I have. Who knows? I doubt that we ever will!

The two books are in German.

Publication of the hardback

The hardback, was published in Hannau/Main, to the north of Germany, near Frankfürt, in what during the Cold War was West Germany. The book has its date of publication clearly indicated in an appropriate place: 1965. It is called Unfug der Krankenheit – Triumph der Heilkunst ('Nonsense of illness – triumph of the art of healing').

The author is given is Dr Med Karl Otto Bärnklau (literally, 'Bear's Claw'). It has been widely reported that this is a pseudonym adopted by Andras Peto for these two books – and there has been no reason not to accept this. I have not see his using this particular pseudonym elsewhere. 

This book's date of publication is not a problem either.  

Publication of the softback

This is also in German and called Gibt es unheilbare Krankheiten? Nein! ('Are there incurable diseases? No!'). Again, the author is given as Dr Med Karl Otto Bärnklau.

This is a nicely bound softback. There is no indication of its date of publication. Online listings, however, offer some indication, albeit inconsistent.
  • Google Books puts its date of publication as 1970. Perhaps Google Books knows something that the rest of us do not, but it does not share its source.
  • is not so sure and puts publication date as 'ca. 1960'. Again, no source is given. Most antiquariats (second-hand book shops) choose discretion over valour and, as I have done in the past, simply put 'no date'.
The Rudolph'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, publisher of the paperback, had been founded in Dresden back in 1894. In the nineteen-thirties, thirteen of its books were sufficiently off-message to be banned by the Nazis.

When the War was over, the Rudolph'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung continued for a while in Dresden. The city found itself in the Eastern side of divided Germany and in 1948 the company moved to Lindau in the south of what was then Western Germany. Its lists included esoteric topics. In the nineteen sixties it had been among Germany's best-known non-fiction publishers, its publications including German translations of the Karma Sutra and the Marquis de Sade. It remained in Lindau till around 1970 when it was absorbed by two other publishers, themselves both now defunct.


There are always mysteries where András Pető is concerned!

Never mind just the dates of publication – to me there remain further unanswered questions around these two books:
  • why/how at all, during the Cold War, did András Pető publish these two books in Western Germany, through two separate publishing houses on the other side of the Iron Curtain from where he lived in Hungary?
  • and nowadays, why is the content of these books apparently so studiously ignored, not least by German-speakers working within Conductive Education?
  • mention of Dresden is intriguing because, so the story goes, in the nineteen-thirties András Pető used from time to time to disappear from Vienna – to Dresden where the hagiography goes he was engaged in publishing (i.e. in the Third Reich – Nazi Germany).
As for the content of these two books, Susie Mallett appears the only one to have considered this, in various postings on her Conductor blog.


Bärnklau, K. O. (1964) Unfug der Krankenheit – Triumph der Heilkunst, Hannau/Main, Verlag Karl Schustek

Bärnklau, K. O. (n.d.) Gibt es unheilbare Krankheiten? Nein! Lindau: Rudolph'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung

Mallett, S. (2010) The story of a search for books, Conductor, 8 September

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Blogger Unknown said...

Susie has had kindly sent me Peto's books published in German from Germany a few years back. Since then I had some chapters translated. Fascinating and soo far ahead of his (Peto's) time. Most of the regular thinkers, especially the ones with 'mindsets' conditioned by science still wouldn't understand or would discard them as total nonsense. Maybe that is the reason that mistakenly so quote " these books apparently so studiously ignored, not least by German-speakers working within Conductive Education?" unquote
Also, maybe just maybe that is the reason why conductive practices differ so much from one another.
From the ones of the up and down left and right 1-2-3-4-5 ( most of the time they don't even use RI) along with the mixture of what ever is the new trend....
to the true understanding and respect of wholesome human growth, health wellness and development, focusing on the person and his/her quality of life... There is so much more could be said...

Friday, 6 October 2017 at 17:18:00 BST  

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