Born in 1902 into a Jewish family, Karl König grew up in Vienna in the last years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied medicine and during this time came across the work of Rudolf Steiner. Soon after graduating he worked with Ita Wegman in Switzerland, where he also met his wife, Tilla.
He was a pioneer in the early days of Pilgramshain, a home for children with special needs in Silesia, Germany. However, in 1936 under political pressure he left Germany for Austria. Here he had a large medical practice as well as being the focus of a group of young people interested in Steiner's work.
Following the annexation of Austria by the Nazis, König and many of the young people around him came to Britain as refugees. The ideal of working together as a community was put into practice with the founding of Camphill in 1939. König was the driving force behind the expansion of the Camphill movement across the British Isles, into Europe, South Africa and North America. He died in 1966.