Alvin Paavig, 2010
Picture: David Paavig, 2010

As a young man (1922) Dr. Pressel received a series of massage treatments and this inspired him to later become involved with massage therapy himself. He studied medicin and became a doctor specializing in natural medicine and homeopathy. He did his residency in Jena at a clinic for natural medicine. The subject of his doctoral thesis was syphilis.

In his first medical practice in Bayreuth, from 1933 on, most of his patients received back massages, probably also in the side lying position (see picture).

An old midwife from Koenigsberg showed him how to set cups at that time, an art that had been totally forgotten in Germany. He was to learn a lot through the practice of cupping.

This was the point in his life when he discovered Anthroposophy. It would become the guiding star for the rest of his life. Here he also developed his connections to Eurythmy and Curative Eurythmy which he deepened further throughout his lifetime.


Later several other artistic therapies were added – he participated in painting courses, clay modeling, singing, speech therapy and Bothmer gymnastics and always tried to awaken interest for these therapies in his patients.

According to verbal reports he was not interested in becoming a member of the Anthroposophical Society in the 1930s as long as internal strife existed there, something he did not want to take part in.

Later he never spoke about the following epoch of his life and the people surrounding him did not press him to talk about it. He was married to the medical doctor Anneliese Rausch and had two children with her – a musically highly gifted boy and a girl who was left severely challenged through damage caused by immunizations.


During WW2 Dr. Pressel was drafted and sent to a field hospital at the front in Poland. Some hand written booklets containing texts by Steiner, Goethe and Novalis accompanied him during this time when he cared for the sick and wounded, but was not able to treat them in the manner he believed in. He was forced to carry a hand grenade at all times, but fortunately never used it.

About two weeks before the end of the war he was captured by the Russian army. Approximately at the same time his wife and children were killed by an air raid on Bayreuth - this he did not find out about until afterwards, while in the prison camp.

He explained later that he was grateful never to have experienced brutalities neither directed toward himself nor any of the other prisoners. His talent for languages probably helped establish the humane conditions during the prison term. He quickly made an effort to learn enough Russian to conduct conversations with the officers and the prison guards. By means of a fiddle he was also able to reach his fellow prisoners on a cultural level. The fiddle was taken away from him three times, but he was always able to buy it back with his tobacco rations that he never wanted for himself.

The interested reader is welcome to look at Simeon Pressel's oral story regarding his years in Belarus in the last chapter of this website.