Veronica Carstens passed away peacefully on January 25, 2012 at the age of 88.
The wife of the former German President was a passionate advocate of holistic medicine, particularly homeopathy. Herself a specialist in internal medicine, she accumulated a wealth of experience during her lengthy career as a practising physician.
Together with her husband, she founded the Carstens Stiftung (Carstens Trust), which has made remarkable contributions to homeopathic research as well as raising the profile of homeopathy.
Links with Narayana Publishers
When Karl Carstens became President at the end of the 1970s, his wife chose to continue in practice. She regularly invited visitors to her home in Meckenheim for advanced training in homeopathy, in which Narayana’s founders Herbert Sigwart and Ulrich Welte also took part. Hugbald Müller, founder of the colour method of homeopathy, also presented his work there. Veronica Carstens expressly welcomed the attractive and reasonably priced new edition of Hahnemann’s reference work, the “Organon”, which was first published by Narayana in 1983. We consequently had a personal link with this pioneer even then.
We still have a letter from Mrs. Carstens dating from this time, in which she wishes Ulrich Welte and the publishing company all the best:
Dear Mr. Welte, September 26, 1984
Thank you very much for your letter dated September 14, with which you enclosed two copies of your dissertation, Hahnemann’s “Organon of the Healing Art” published by your company, and publication lists. I am very impressed by everything you report. You have developed such a field of activity besides running a practice, which by all means also requires immense dedication. How do you manage all this? You cannot imagine how happy I am that the younger generation is showing so much commitment to this kind of healing. People of our generation are still considered outsiders, and had a difficult time convincing others of the veracity of their views. We now no longer need to worry that this precious old treasure will in time be lost. I will gladly mention your publishing company in our working circle (we have been holding advanced training sessions for students, doctors and pharmacists in our house for 10 years). I am also constantly receiving enquiries from students and doctors throughout Germany about the books they should buy to familiarise themselves with this – to them – new area as quickly as possible. Could I refer them to your publishing company and give them your personal address? My correspondence on this subject is so extensive that I can no longer handle it alone and would be glad to delegate it. I am sending you 50 brochures from NATUR und MEDIZIN e.V. for your waiting room. Should you require more copies, I will be happy to send them to you.
With warmest greetings, also to your friend and colleague Mr. Herbert Sigwart.
Karl and Veronica Carstens
Veronica Carstens, née Prior (1923-2012) began studying medicine at the University of Freiburg in 1942, passed her preliminary examinations and worked as a hospital nurse for the German Red Cross from 1944 to 1945. In 1944, she married Karl Carstens, who was later to become the German President.
In 1956, she resumed her medical studies at the University of Bonn. In 1960, she graduated after passing the state examinations and receiving her doctorate. This was followed by
a period of training as a specialist in internal medicine in Bonn. At the beginning of the 1960s, she became a co-founder of the Women’s and Family Service at the Foreign Office. From 1960 to 1968 she worked as a junior doctor; in 1968, she founded a practice for internal medicine in Meckenheim, specialising in homeopathy and naturopathy.
In her role as the wife of the President, she became the patron of the German Multiple Sclerosis Society, UNICEF Germany and the German Maternal Convalescence movement as well as the Chairperson of the German Society for the Aged.
Karl Carstens loved long walks. From the coast to the Alps. Through the Harz mountains or the Teutoburg Forest. Carstens preferred to explore Germany on foot. When her husband was President, he took many long walks through Germany to get especially close to the populace. No other German President had ever done this in such a way. His period of office consequently began on a walk through Schleswig-Holstein to the tune of German wind music. Thousands of citizens listened as he invited them to accompany him on Shanks’ pony. “This morning, we want to begin the walk which will take us through the whole of Germany to the Alps, albeit in stages. No more than three days at a time. Not that you think I’ll be giving up my official business for the next two months and just going for a walk. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible.”
In 1984, Carstens refused a second period in office on account of his age. He died in 1992 after a stroke.
Karl und Veronica Carstens
During Carstens’ period in office, he and his wife founded the Karl and Veronica Carstens Trust in 1982, and the advancement society known as the Nature and Medicine Foundation in 1983. The Karl and Veronica Carstens Trust promotes science and research into naturopathy and homeopathy and gives special assistance to up-and-coming scientists and physicians. Its long-term goal is the integration of complementary medicine into the research and teachings of academic medicine.
Promoting homeopathic research is one of the Karl and Veronica Carstens Trust’s central tasks. Subsidies are consequently granted to most of the projects in this field.
The decision to found a trust was made during Karl Carstens’ time in office. “As we had no children, we often thought about what
we would put in our wills. After all, it was by all means possible that we could be killed on one of our many trips around the world. That meant we had to find some kind of regulation.” It was Karl Carstens who came up with the idea of laying the foundation for a trust focusing on scientific research into naturopathy. The first research project subsidised by the Carstens Trust explored the “Potential of homeopathic remedies for increasing phagocytosis”, led by Prof. Dr. H. Wagner at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.
The vast majority of the subsidies awarded by the Carstens Trust flowed into clinical and experimental research projects into homeopathy. In all, about seven million Euro flowed into homeopathic projects and sponsorship for young scientists and physicians. Since 1994, the annual figure has been between 500,000 and 700,000 Euro, one third to one half of the respective subsidy volume. Since its foundation, the Carstens Trust has provided more than 25 million Euro in grants for more than 550 individual projects (as of 2009). These produced more than 700 scientific publications; 73 books have been published by the Trust itself.
Veronica Carstens exerted a tremendous influence during her lifetime. In 2009, she retired from public life and lately lived at a sanatorium in Bonn. She passed away peacefully on January 25, 2012 surrounded by her closest friends and family.
Veronica Carstens: NATURE AND MEDICINE/Carstens Trust
Karl and Veronica Carstens: federal archive, image 146-2008-0320 / CC-BY-SA
Dr. Veronica Carstens 2009: Bernardo Friese/Carstens Trust
Karl and Veronica Carstens: Carstens Trust