2 - Fantastic prehistory - The Lost Aryan Homeland
As we have seen, the idea of a fabulous and mysterious homeland of the Aryan
people, lying hidden somewhere in the far northern latitudes, was not an
invention of the Nazis but had a rich provenance not only in the tradition
of Western occultism but also in the burgeoning science of anthropology.
(Indeed, the very concept of an 'Aryan Race' owed its existence as much to
philology as any other branch of enquiry.) (1)
Until the Enlightenment, of course, biblical tradition had been assumed to
be the ultimate authority on the origin and history of humanity, that origin
being Mount Ararat on which Noah's Ark made landfall after the Deluge. This
idea made sense even to those scientists of the Enlightenment who rejected
biblical authority, since mountainous regions would have provided the only
possible protection against natural disasters such as the putative
The German Romantics were greatly attracted to Oriental philosophy and
mysticism, in particular the Zend-Avesta, the sacred text of the ancient
Persians. Thinkers of the calibre of Goethe, Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer
and Richard Wagner found in the Orient a system of philosophy and
historiography that allowed them to abandon the unsatisfactory world view of
As Joscelyn Godwin notes, allied with this
admiration for the Orient was a rediscovery of the German Volk, the
pre-Christian Teutonic tribes whose descendants, the Goths, had brought
about the final destruction of the decadent Roman Empire. The problem faced
by the German Romantics was how to forge a historical connection between
themselves and the Orient, which they considered to be the cradle of
humanity and the origin of the highest human ideals.
Godwin asks, concerning the early Teutons:
But where had those noble and gifted tribes come from? Were they, too, sons
of Noah, or dared one sunder them from the biblical genealogy? The time was
ripe to do so. The French Encyclopedists had set the precedent of contempt
for the Hebrew scriptures as a source of accurate information.
School of Calcutta, with their Asiatic Researches, had revealed another
world, surely more learned, and to many minds philosophically and morally
superior to that of Moses. If the Germans could link their origins to India,
then they would be forever free from their Semitic and Mediterranean
Of course, in order to establish and strengthen the link between the Germans
and the Orient, Hebrew had to be abandoned as the original language of
humanity, to be replaced by Sanskrit, the language of classical Hinduism.
Instrumental in the forging of this link was the classical scholar Friedrich
von Schlegel (1772-1829), who attempted to establish a historical and
cultural contact between the Indians and the Scandinavians through which the
Scandinavian languages could have been influenced by the Indian.
solved this problem by supposing that the ancient Indians had travelled to
the far north as a result of their veneration for the sacred mountain, Meru,
which they believed to constitute the spiritual centre of the world.
It was actually Schlegel who coined the term 'Aryan' in 1819 to denote a
racial group (as opposed to a group of people speaking the
Proto-Indo-European language, which is the proper definition of the term).
Schlegel took the word 'Aryan', which had already been borrowed from
Herodotus (who had used the word Arioi to describe the people of Media, an
ancient western Asian country in what is now northern Iran) and applied to
the ancient Persians, and connected it spuriously with the German word Ehre,
At that point, the word 'Aryan' came to denote the highest,
purest and most honorable racial group." (4) This historical scheme was
added to by other thinkers such as the anti-Semitic Christian Lassen, who
claimed that the Indo-Germans were inherently biologically superior to the
The philologist Max Muller would later urge the adoption of the term 'Aryan'
instead of 'Indo-Germanic', since the latter term did not include other
European peoples who could, like the Indians and Germans, trace the origin
of their languages to Sanskrit. According to the historian Leon Poliakov, by
1860 cultivated Europeans had come to accept that there was a fundamental
division between Aryans and Semites.
Godwin expresses this dogma in
' (1) Europeans were of the Aryan Race; (2) This race
had come from the high plateaus of Asia. There had dwelt together the
ancestors of the Indians, Persians, Greeks, Italians, Slavonians, Germans,
and Celts, before setting off to populate Europe and Asia.' (5)
As we noted in Chapter One, the ideas of
Charles Darwin were hijacked at
this time by the proponents of Aryan racial superiority, and the concept of
the survival of the fittest was readily applied to the interaction between
racial groups (however spurious and misguided this system of grouping might
have been). Darwin's assumption that evolution through natural selection
would necessarily result in gradual improvements to each species was
inverted by Aryan racism, which maintained that the White Race had long ago
reached perfection and was being corrupted and undermined through
miscegenation with inferior races.
As Godwin informs us, plans were being laid in some quarters for the
biological 'improvement' of the human race back in the late nineteenth
century. The French writer Ernest Renan believed that selective breeding in
the future would result in the production of 'gods' and 'devas': A factory
of Ases [Scandinavian heroes], an Asgaard, might be reconstituted in the
center of Asia. If one dislikes such myths, one should consider how bees and
ants breed individuals for certain functions, or how botanists make hybrids.
One could concentrate all the nervous energy in the brain ...
It seems that
if such a solution should be at all realizable on the planet Earth, it is
through Germany that it will come. (6)
The Polar Paradise
In their desire to rediscover the ultimate mythical and cultural roots of
their self-designated master race, the proponents of Aryanism turned away
from the heat of the biblical Mesopotamian Eden and looked instead to the
cool and pristine fastness of the Far North.
The eighteenth-century polymath
Jean-Sylvain Bailly (1736-1793) had already done much of the groundwork for
a radical re-interpretation of humanity's origin with his highly original
combination of Eastern mysticism and astronomy. According to Bailly, the
ancient cultures of Egypt, Chaldea, China and India were actually the heirs
of a far older body of knowledge, possessed in the distant past by a
long-lost superior culture living in the antediluvian North. (7)
Bailly believed that it was this ancient culture that invented the zodiac in
around 4600 BC. After the Flood, members of this civilization moved from
northern Asia to India. For Bailly, this assertion was supported by the
similarity of certain legends in later cultures living far from each other:
for example, the legend of the Phoenix, which is found both in Egypt and in
the Scandinavian Eddas (discussed in Chapter One).
Bailly equated the
details of the Phoenix's death and rebirth with the annual disappearance of
the Sun for 65 days at 71° North latitude. He went on to compare the Phoenix
with the Roman god Janus, the god of time, who is represented with the
number 300 in his right hand, and the number 65 in his left (corresponding,
of course, with the 300 days of daylight and 65 days of darkness each year
in the far northern latitudes).
Bailly thus concluded that Janus was
actually a northern god who had moved south with his original worshippers in
the distant past. In support of his theory, Bailly also cited the legend of
Adonis, who was required by Jupiter to spend one third of each year on Mount
Olympus, one third with Venus and one third in Hades with Persephone. Bailly
connected this legend with conditions in the geographical area at 79° North
latitude, where the Sun disappears for four months (one third) of the year.
To Bailly, this strongly suggested the preservation of the ancient knowledge
of a hitherto unknown Nordic civilization, which had been encoded in
numerous legends passed down to subsequent cultures. These ideas
corresponded somewhat with the work of one Comte de Buffon, who had
concluded in 1749 that the Earth had formed much earlier than the Christian
date of 4004 BC (although Buffon's date of 73,083 BC is still quite far from
the Earth's actual age of approximately 4,000 million years).
the logical suggestion (within his scheme of creation) that the polar
regions would have been the first to cool sufficiently to allow the
development of life, and therefore placed the first human civilization in
the far northern latitudes. For Bailly, this was ample justification for his
own ideas concerning the Arctic region as the cradle of humanity.
for the southerly migration of this first civilization became obvious: since
temperate climates are the most conducive to social, intellectual and
scientific advancement, it clearly became necessary to move away gradually
from the polar regions as they became too cold and the temperatures in the
southern latitudes cooled from arid to temperate. The migration was finally
complete when Chaldea, India and China were reached. (9)
The idea of a polar homeland for humanity was also elaborately developed by
the Indian Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) who wrote an epic work, The
Arctic Home in the Vedas, while in prison in 1897 for publishing
anti-British material in his newspaper, The Kesan.
Published in 1903, Tilak's book concentrates on the age and original location of the Indian
Vedic civilization, from its origin in the Arctic around 10,000 BC, through
its destruction in the last Ice Age; the migration to northern Europe and
Asia in 8000-5000 BC and the composition of the Vedic hymns; the loss of the
Arctic traditions around 3000-1400 BC; to the Pre-Buddhistic period in
1400-500 BC. (10)
Tilak's reading of the ancient Vedic texts supported his assertion of a
prehistoric homeland in the far north, describing as they did a realm
inhabited by the gods where the sun rose and fell once a year.
this to say regarding Tilak's interpretation of the Vedic hymns:
The hymns are full of images that make nonsense in the context of a daily
sunrise, such as the Thirty Dawn-Sisters circling like a wheel,' and the
'Dawn of Many Days' preceding the rising of the sun. If, however, they are
applied to the Pole, they fall perfectly into place.
The light of the sun
circling beneath the horizon would be visible for at least thirty days
before its annual rising. One can imagine the sense of anticipation felt by
the inhabitants, as the wheeling light became ever brighter and the long
winter's night came to an end."
Tilak's ideas on the origin of humanity were further developed by the
H. S. Spencer in his book
The Aryan Ecliptic Cycle (1965), in which he
examines the Zoroastrian scriptures in much the same way that Tilak examined
the Vedic texts.
Spencer compared events in the scriptures with the various
positions of the sun during the precession of the equinoxes. (At this point,
we should pause briefly to examine this phenomenon. The rotational axis of
the Earth is not perpendicular to the plane occupied by the Solar System:
instead, it is tilted at an angle of 23½°.
Due to gravitational forces
from the Sun and the Moon, the axis of the Earth's rotation 'wobbles' very
slightly; or, to be more precise, it describes a circle.
As the planet
rotates, its axis also rotates, describing a complete circle once every
26,000 years.) In this way, Spencer was able to date with considerable
accuracy the events described in the Zoroastrian scriptures. Spencer set the
date for the first appearance of the Aryans in the polar regions at 25,628
BC, during the Interglacial Age.
The Aryans were forced to leave their
homeland as the environment grew steadily colder and more hostile, and
enormous reptiles began to appear. (How the reptiles themselves could have
withstood the cold is another matter.)
According to Spencer, the advent of
the Ice Age that scattered the Aryans from their pleasant homeland was just
one of a number of global catastrophes that proved the downfall of at least
three other ancient civilizations:
According to Spencer, the Aryan
tradition influenced the great civilizations of
Sumer and Babylon.
From Hyperborea to Atlantis
The great Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky, whom we met in Chapter One,
had considerable information to divulge on the nature of the lost
civilizations whose philosophy and knowledge were passed down, in frequently
garbled form, to the great civilizations of the Middle and Far East.
According to Blavatsky, who claimed to have consulted a fantastically old
document entitled the
Stanzas of Dzyan while in Tibet, our remote ancestors
occupied a number of lost continents, the first of which she describes as
'The Imperishable Sacred Land', an eternal place unencumbered by the
sometimes violent fates reserved for other continents, that was the home of
the first human and also of 'the last divine mortal'.
The Second Continent was Hyperborea,
'the land which stretched out its
promontories southward and westward from the North Pole to receive the
Second Race, and comprised the whole of what is now known as Northern Asia'.
The 'Second Race' refers to one of the Root Races.
The land of the Hyperboreans, the country that extended beyond Boreas, the
frozen-hearted god of snows and hurricanes, who loved to slumber heavily on
the chain of Mount Riphaeus, was neither an ideal country, as surmised by
the mythologists, nor yet a land in the neighborhood of Scythia and the
Danube. It was a real continent, a bond-fide land which knew no winter in
those early days, nor have its sorry remains more than one night and day
during the year, even now.
The nocturnal shadows never fall upon it, said
the Greeks; for it is the land of the Gods, the favorite abode of Apollo,
the god of light, and its inhabitants are his beloved priests and servants.
This may be regarded as poetized fiction now; but it was poetized truth
The Third Continent was Lemuria (so called by the zoologist
P. L. Sclater in
reference to a hypothetical sunken continent extending from Madagascar to
Sri Lanka and Sumatra). Blavatsky claimed that the gigantic continent of
Lemuria actually existed, its highest points now forming islands in the
The Fourth Continent was Atlantis.
'It would be the first historical land,
were the traditions of the ancients to receive more attention than they have
hitherto. The famous island of Plato of that name was but a fragment of this
great Continent.' (14)
In her description of the Fifth Continent, Blavatsky evokes images of
cataclysmic seismic shifts in the land mass of the Earth:
The Fifth Continent was America; but, as it is situated at the Antipodes, it
is Europe and Asia Minor, almost coeval with it, which are generally
referred to by the Indo-Aryan Occultists as the fifth. If their teaching
followed the appearance of the Continents in their geological and
geographical order, then this classification would have to be altered.
as the sequence of the Continents is made to follow the order of evolution
of the Races, from the first to the fifth, our Aryan Root-race, Europe must
be called the fifth great Continent. The Secret Doctrine takes no account of
islands and peninsulas, nor does it follow the modern geographical
distribution of land and sea. Since the day of its earliest teachings and
the destruction of the great Atlantis, the face of the earth has changed
more than once.
There was a time when the delta of Egypt and Northern Africa
belonged to Europe, before the formation of the Straits of Gibraltar, and a
further upheaval of the continent, changed entirely the face of the map of
Europe. The last serious change occurred some 12,000 years ago, and was
followed by the submersion of Plato's little Atlantic island, which he calls
Atlantis after its parent continent. (15)
Blavatsky claimed to have read in the Stanzas of Dzyan that the Earth
contained seven great continents,
'four of which have already lived their
day, the fifth still exists, and two are to appear in the future'.
Secret Doctrine, she calls them Jambu, Plaksha, Salmali, Kusa, Krauncha,
Saka and Pushkara.
We believe that each of these is not strictly a continent in the modern
sense of the word, but that each name, from Jambu down to Pushkara, refers
to the geographical names given:
to the dry lands covering the face of
the whole earth during the period of a Root-Race, in general
what remained of these after a geological [cataclysm]
to those localities which will enter,
after the future cataclysms, into the formation of new universal
'continents,' [or] peninsulas ... each continent being, in one
sense, a greater or smaller region of dry land surrounded with water
Aside from the Stanzas of Dzyan, Blavatsky drew on a huge number of
religious texts, including the Hindu Puranas, which speak of a land called
Svita-Dvipa (Hyperborea), or the White Island, at the centre of which is
Mount Meru, the spiritual centre of the world. (We will have more to say of
Mount Meru in Chapter Four.)
If we accept the attributes given to Mount Meru
in the sacred texts of the Hindus - including its height of 672,000 miles -
then it must be conceded that the mountain does not exist anywhere on the
physical Earth. This has led Orientalists to speculate that the White Island
and Mount Meru are situated in what might best be described as another
dimension occupying that same space as Earth and which is visible (and
reachable) to beings possessing a sufficiently advanced spirituality. (17)
The legendary realm of Hyperborea also formed a centerpiece in the writings
of the French occultist Rene Guenon (1886-1951) who, like Blavatsky (whom he
nevertheless considered a charlatan), claimed to have received his
information from hidden Oriental sources. Guenon's Hyperborea is very
similar to Blavatsky's, although its origin is placed much more recently.
According to Guenon, the present cycle of humanity began a mere 64,800 years
ago in the Hyperborean land of Tula (Thule). Along with the later Atlantean
civilization, which lasted for 12,960 years (or half of one precessional
cycle), Hyperborea was the origin of all religious and spiritual tradition
in our own modern world.
Guenon also wrote of Mount Meru, although in
'It seems from his essays on symbology that Guenon did not
regard Meru as an actual mountain situated at the North Pole, but rather as
a symbol of the earth's axis that passes through the pole and points to the
the constellations of the Great and Little Bears. (Guenon also claimed that
the inclination of the Earth's axis at 23 1/2° was a result of the Fall of
At this point, we should pause to consider a question that may have occurred
to the reader: assuming the existence of the prehistoric Root Races of
humanity, why have none of their remains ever been discovered and excavated
by archaeologists and paleontologists?
Apart from the obvious but not
particularly satisfactory answer that the vast majority of the Earth's
fossil record has yet to be discovered, it should be remembered that,
according to Guenon, Blavatsky and the other Theosophists, the early Earth
and its fabulous primordial inhabitants were not solid, corporeal entities,
but were composed of a rarefied spiritual substance that only later
descended into the material state. It is for this reason that their remains
have never been discovered. (19)
For a basic chronology of the Earth according to this system, we can look to
Godwin, who summarizes the development of Guenon's work by Jean Phaure.
Between 62,000 and 36,880 BC was the Golden Age (Krita Yuga), which lasted
for one full precessional cycle (25,920 years) beginning with the Age of
Leo. This was the period before the descent into matter, when Paradise
existed. Then came the period from 36,880 to 17,440 BC, the Silver Age
(Treta Yuga), lasting 19,440 years.
This age lasted from Leo to Sagittarius,
and included the descent into matter. It also saw the rise of Hyperborea and
the other continents of Lemuria and Mu. This was followed by the period from
17,440 to 4,480 BC, the Bronze Age (Dvapara Yuga), which lasted for half of
one precessional cycle, and from Scorpio to Gemini. This age saw the fall of
Atlantis around 10,800 BC, the colonization of other parts of the world by
Atlantean refugees, the biblical Flood and the invention of writing. The
period between 4,480 BC and AD 2000 is the Iron Age (Kali Yuga), which lasts
for 6,480 years, from Taurus, through Aries to Pisces. This period includes
our own history.
The cycle ends with the Millennium and the beginning of the
Age of Aquarius. Phaure has no problem with an incarnated humanity living in
the Arctic, and suggests that they were able to do so with the aid of a
spiritual energy source unknown to our own narrow, materialistic science. In
support of this, he cites the case of certain Tibetan adepts who are able to
live quite happily in the frigid Himalayan regions with little clothing.
It is easy to see how the central tenets of Theosophy - the ancient and
fantastic civilizations, the origins of the Aryan race and that race's
position of high nobility - were attractive to the German occultists and
nationalists who so hated the modern world of the late nineteenth and early
As the researcher Peter Levenda observes:
'Modernism in general was seen as being largely an urban, sophisticated,
intellectual (hence "Jewish") phenomenon, and this included science,
technology, the Industrial Revolution, and capitalism.' (21)
of the Theosophists successfully fused science and mysticism, taking
Darwin's theories regarding natural selection and the survival of the
fittest and applying them to the concept of a spiritual struggle between the
races of Earth (resulting in the Aryan race), which was a necessary
component in the evolution of the spirit. (22)
It should be remembered that Blavatsky's works ... appear to be the result
of prodigious scholarship and were extremely convincing in their day. The
rationale behind many later Nazi projects can be traced back -through the
writings of von List, von Sebottendorff, and von Liebenfels - to ideas first
popularized by Blavatsky.
A caste system of races, the importance of ancient
alphabets (notably the runes), the superiority of the Aryans (a white race
with its origins in the Himalayas), an 'initiated' version of astrology and
astronomy, the cosmic truths coded within pagan myths ... all of these and
more can be found both in Blavatsky and in the Nazi Party itself,
specifically in the ideology of its Dark Creature, the SS.
It was, after
all, Blavatsky who pointed out the supreme occult significance of the
swastika. And it was a follower of Blavatsky who was instrumental in
introducing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to a Western European
community eager for a scapegoat.(23)
It will be remembered that the notorious document known as the
the Elders of Zion was an anti-Semitic forgery created by the
Czarist secret police) and occultists in St Petersburg and Paris to
discredit the enemies of Rachkhovsky, the head of the Okhrana in Paris. (24)
Produced in St Petersburg in 1902 and translated into German in 1919, the
document purported to be the minutes of a meeting of the putative secret
Jewish world conspiracy, (25) a conspiracy that, it appeared, was
approaching the fulfillment of its goals.
The Protocols indicated that
Democracy, Communism and international commerce had been successfully
infiltrated and taken over by the Jews, who,
'had "infected" all governments,
all commerce, all of the arts and media'. (26)
Information regarding the
Protocols was initially provided to the press by a Madame Yuliana Glinka, a
believer in Spiritualism who would do much to promote the anti-Semitic
falsehoods contained within the document.
As is well known, Hitler himself came to believe wholeheartedly in the
veracity of the Protocols, which formed a principal basis for his own
To what an extent the whole existence of this people is based on a
continuous lie is shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Wise Men
[Elders] of Zion, so infinitely hated by the Jews. They are based on a
forgery, the Frankfurter Zeitung moans and screams once every week: the best
proof that they are authentic. What many Jews may do unconsciously is here
And that is what matters. It is completely indifferent
from what Jewish brain these disclosures originate; the important thing is
that with positively terrifying certainty they reveal the nature and
activity of the Jewish people and expose their inner contexts as well as
their ultimate final aims. The best criticism applied to them, however, is
reality. Anyone who examines the historical development of the last hundred
years from the standpoint of this book will at once understand the screaming
of the Jewish press.
For once this book has become the common property of a
people, the Jewish menace may be considered as broken. (27)
Hitler's reference to the Frankfurter Zeitung is especially interesting and
ironic, in view of the startling and intriguing suggestion made by that
paper's Munich correspondent, the anti-Nazi Konrad Heiden.
reporting on Hitler's activities in 1921; when Hitler took power in 1933,
Heiden was forced to flee to France.
In his biography of Hitler, Der
Fuehrer, written in exile and published in 1944, Heiden suggests a profound
connection between Hitler and the Protocols, a connection which is
summarized by Rosenbaum:
Heiden's stunning conjecture, which deserves attention because of his
intimate acquaintance with the Hitler Party from the very beginning of the
Fuhrer's rise, was that the secret of that rise lay in Hitler's adapting the
modernized Machiavellian tactics attributed to his archenemy, the Elders of
Zion, and putting them to his own use in manipulating the media, subverting
the institutions of the state, and Grafting his own successful conspiracy to
rule the world.
Heiden argues that Hitler did not merely
adopt the counterfeit Jewish conspiracy as his vision of the world, he
adopted the tactics falsely attributed to Jews by Czarist forgers as his
own - and used them with remarkable success. A success that made Hitler
himself a kind of creation of a counterfeit. (28)
I hope the reader will forgive this seeming digression from the subject we
were discussing: while the apparent influence of the Protocols on Hitler may
seem a long way from the lost Aryan homeland of the prehistoric north, it is
worth introducing the idea at this point, not only because it was a
supporter of Blavatsky who promoted the Protocols in western Europe but also
because it is of profound importance to the rest of our study.
If Heiden was
correct in his conjecture, and Adolf Hitler, and hence Nazi Germany, were
the creation of a counterfeit, this demonstrates quite convincingly the
power and influence that bizarre falsehoods can have over the collective
psyche of a people. This will have special significance in the last three
chapters of this book, which will deal with Nazi cosmology and the belief in
a hollow Earth, the theory that German scientists were responsible for the
wave of UFO sightings in the late 1940s (and perhaps still are responsible
for such sightings today), and the persistent rumors regarding the survival
of key Nazis in a hidden Antarctic colony.
Before moving on, however, we must return briefly to Blavatsky and Theosophy
in order to address the implication that the movement possessed fascist
In spite of its proclamation of the supremacy of the Aryan race
(not to mention Madame Glinka's unfortunate promotion of the Protocols),
Theosophy was not inherently fascist, and Blavatsky herself did not become
overtly involved in politics (29)
(Indeed, although it had inspired a large
number of German occultists and nationalists at the turn of the century,
Theosophy would later be attacked and suppressed by the Nazis, along with
all other organizations showing any resistance whatsoever to Hitler.) (30)
Nevertheless, some of Blavatsky's followers, most notably
(1847-1933), became active in politics. In Besant's case, it was Indian
politics, and it was under her presidency after Henry Olcott's death in 1907
that the Theosophical Society became an important element in the Indian
As Levenda notes, the Nazis would later attempt to
exploit Indian nationalism and the desire for home rule by claiming a
similarity of ideals and objectives between Indian nationalism and National
Iceland and Antarctica
It is a matter of historical record that the Nazis mounted expeditions to
Antarctica and Tibet (the Tibetan expeditions will be examined more
closely in the next chapter). The true reasons for these expeditions,
however, have been the subject of considerable debate throughout the decades
since the end of the war.
As we have already noted, the Nazi concept of
Thule can be traced to Guido von List, Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels and Rudolf
von Sebottendorff, who conceived of it as the ancient homeland of the Aryan
(At some time between the third and fourth centuries BC,
Massilia undertook a voyage to the north. He reached Scotland, and sailed on
for six more days, probably reaching the North Shetland Islands. He then
claimed to have reached the land of Thule, which may have been Iceland, or
perhaps Norway, before encountering a frozen sea.) (32)
The volkisch fascination with the Scandinavian Eddas led von Sebottendorff
to conclude that the supposedly long-vanished land of Thule was actually
Iceland. This link with the lost Aryan homeland prompted an intense interest
in the possibility of discovering further clues to their remote history,
indeed, to their very origin, among the caves and prehistoric monuments of
the island. (33)
According to Peter Levenda, an organization called the Nordic Society was
established at Lubeck by Alfred Rosenberg (1893-1945), the Nazi mystic,
philosopher, editor of the Volkischer Beobachter and later Reich Minister
for the occupied eastern territories. The society counted among its members
representatives from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, who were
drawn together in order to defend the Nordic nations against the Soviet,
Jewish and Masonic threat.
On 22 August 1938, the Volkischer Beobachter
carried an article on one of the Nordic Society's meetings, at which
Rosenberg was quoted thus:
'We all stand under the same European destiny, and must feel obliged to this
common destiny, because finally the existence of the white man depends
altogether upon the unity of the European continent! Unanimous must we
oppose that terrible attempt by Moscow to destroy the world, the sea of
blood into which already many people have dived!' (34)
Rosenberg explained his Thulean mythology in his book
Der Mythus des 20 Jahrhunderts (The Myth of the Twentieth Century), published in 1930, which
was a massive best-seller in Germany, despite the fact that it was widely
considered to be appallingly-written nonsense. (Hitler himself, who, once in
power, had little time for paganism, Thulean or otherwise, described it as
'stuff nobody can understand'.) (35)
In the first chapter of the book,
Rosenberg explains the basis of his belief in an ancient Aryan homeland in
The geologists show us a continent between North America and Europe, whose
remains we can see today in Greenland and Iceland. They tell us that islands
on the other side of the Far North (Novaia Zemlya) display former tide marks
over 100 meters higher than today's; they make it probable that the North
Pole has wandered, and that a much milder climate once reigned in the
All this allows the ancient legend of Atlantis to appear in
a new light. It seems not impossible that where the waves of the Atlantic
Ocean now crash and pull off giant icebergs, once a blooming continent rose
out of the water, on which a creative race raised a mighty, wide-ranging
culture, and sent its children out into the world as seafarers and warriors.
But even if this Atlantean hypothesis is not thought tenable, one has to
assume that there was a prehistoric northern center of culture. (36)
Despite these assertions concerning the great secrets of a long-vanished
Aryan civilization that might be found in Iceland, Rosenberg, who was looked
upon with a mixture of amusement and contempt by most of the leading Nazis,
was not involved with the actual expeditions sent there.
They were authorized by Heinrich Himmler under the auspices of the
Ahnenerbe - the SS
Association for Research and Teaching on Heredity.
Levenda has retrieved
numerous documents regarding these missions, some of which he includes in
his fascinating study Unholy Alliance (1995).
One of these documents,
addressed to the Ahnenerbe from a Dr Bruno Schweizer, contains a proposal
for a research journey to Iceland, and is dated 10 March 1938:
From year to year it becomes more difficult to meet living witnesses of
Germanic cultural feelings and Germanic soul attitudes on the classical
Icelandic soil uninfluenced by the over-powerful grasp of western
In only a few years has the natural look of the country, which
since the Ur-time has remained mostly untouched in stone and meadow, in
desert and untamed mountain torrents, revealed its open countenance to man
and has fundamentally changed from mountainsides and rock slabs to manicured
lawns, nurseries and pasture grounds, almost as far from Reykjavik as the
barren coast section, a feat accomplished by the hand of man; the city
itself expands with almost American speed as roadways and bridges, power
stations and factories emerge and the density of the traffic in Reykjavik
corresponds with that of a European city.
Dr Schweizer goes on to bemoan the loss of ancient agricultural techniques
such as forging, wood-carving, spinning, weaving and dyeing; along with the
forgetting of myths and legends and the lack of belief in a 'transcendent
After describing the lamentable rise of materialism that drew
people from rural areas to the city (and gave an unfavorable impression to
good German visitors!), the doctor continues:
Every year that we wait quietly means damage to a number of objects, and
other objects become ruined for camera and film due to newfangled public
buildings in the modern style. For the work in question only the summer is
appropriate, that is, the months of June through August.
must reckon that occasionally several rainy days can occur, delaying thereby
certain photographic work. The ship connections are such that it is perhaps
only possible to go to and from the Continent once a week.
All this means a minimum period of from 5-6 weeks for the framework of the
The possible tasks of an Iceland research trip with a cultural knowledge
mission are greatly variegated. Therefore it remains for us to select only
the most immediate and most realizable. A variety of other tasks ... should
be considered as additional assignments.
Thus the recording of human images (race-measurements) and the investigation
of museum treasures are considered to be additional assignments. (37)
As Levenda wryly observes, it is not clear how the people of Iceland would
have reacted to the taking of 'race measurements' or, for that matter, the
'investigation of museum treasures', which almost certainly would not have
remained in the museums for very long!
German interest in Antarctic exploration goes back to 1873, when Eduard
Dallman mounted an expedition in his steamship Gronland on behalf of the
newly founded German Society of Polar Research. Less than 60 years later,
the Swiss explorer Wilhelm Filchner, who had already led an expedition to
Tibet in 1903-05, planned to lead two expeditions to Antarctica with the
intention of determining if the continent was a single piece of land.
Filchner's plans called for two ships, one to enter the Weddell Sea and one
to enter the Ross Sea. Two groups would then embark on a land journey and
attempt to meet at the centre of the continent. This plan, however, proved
too expensive, and so a single ship, the Deutschland, was used. The
Deutschland was a Norwegian ship specifically designed for work in polar
regions, and was acquired with the help of Ernest Shackleton, Otto
Nordenskjold and Fridtjof Nansen.
The expedition reached the Weddell Sea in
December 1911. Another expedition was mounted in 1925 with the polar
expedition ship Meteor under the command of Dr Albert Merz.
In the years running up to the Second World War, Germany wanted a foothold
in Antarctica, both for the propaganda value of demonstrating the power of
the Third Reich and also because of the territory's strategic significance
in the South Atlantic. On 17 December 1938, an expedition was dispatched
under the command of Captain Alfred Ritscher to the South Atlantic coast of
Antarctica and arrived there on 19 January 1939.
The expedition's ship was
the Schwabenland, an aircraft carrier that had been used since 1934 for
transatlantic mail delivery. The Schwabenland, which had been prepared for
the expedition in the Hamburg shipyards at a cost of one million
Reichsmarks, was equipped with two Dornier seaplanes, the Passat and the
Boreas, which were launched from its flight deck by steam catapults and
which made fifteen flights over the territory which Norwegian explorers had
named Queen Maud Land.
The aircraft covered approximately 600,000 square
kilometers, took more than 11,000 photographs of the Princess Astrid and
Princess Martha coasts of western Queen Maud Land, and dropped several
thousand drop-flags (metal poles with swastikas). The area was claimed for
the Third Reich, and was renamed Neu Schwabenland.
Perhaps the most surprising discovery made by this expedition was a number
of large, ice-free areas, containing lakes and sparse vegetation. The
expedition geologists suggested that this might have been due to underground
In mid-February 1939, the Schwabenland left Antarctica and returned to
Hamburg. Ritscher was surprised at the findings of the expedition,
particularly the ice-free areas, and immediately began to plan another
journey upon his arrival home.
These plans, however, were apparently
abandoned with the outbreak of war.
At this point, orthodox history gives way to strange rumors and
speculations regarding the true reason for the Third Reich's interest in
Antarctica. It has been suggested, for instance, that the 1938-39 expedition
had been to look for a suitable ice-free region on the continent that could
be used for a secret Nazi base after the war.
According to the novelist and
UFO researcher W. A. Harbinson:
'Throughout the war, the Germans sent ships
and aircraft to Neu Schwabenland with enough equipment and manpower (much of
it slave labour from the concentration camps) to build massive complexes
under the ice or in well-hidden ice-free areas. At the close of the war
selected Nazi scientists and SS troops fled to Antarctica ...' (38)
Such speculations properly belong to the field known as 'Nazi survival',
which we will discuss in depth in the final chapter of this book.
let us place them aside and turn our attention to another important element
in the concept of a lost Aryan homeland: a symbol that once signified good
fortune but was irreparably corrupted by the Nazis, and which now signifies
nothing but terror and death.
In antiquity, the swastika was a universal symbol, being used from the
Bronze Age onwards on objects of every kind. The word 'swastika' comes from
the Sanskrit: su (Greek eu, meaning 'good'), asti (Greek
esto, meaning 'to
be') and the suffix ka. (39) The symbol means 'good luck' (the
Sanskrit-Tibetan word Swasti means 'may it be auspicious').
According to Joscelyn Godwin, the shape of the swastika derives from the constellation
Arktos, also known as the
Great Bear, the Plough and the
Big Dipper. To the
observer in the Northern Hemisphere, this constellation appears to rotate
around Polaris, the Pole Star (an effect caused by the rotation of the
Earth). If the positions of Arktos in relation to Polaris are represented in
pictorial form (corresponding to the four seasons), the result is highly
suggestive of a swastika; in 4000 BC, they were identical to the symbol. It
is for this reason that the swastika (aside from denoting good fortune) has
been used to represent the Pole. (40)
The swastika gained in importance in European culture in the nineteenth
century, primarily in the fields of comparative ethnology and Oriental
studies. The absence of the symbol from Egypt, Chaldea, Assyria and
Phoenicia led the ethnologists to believe that the swastika was an Aryan
Madame Blavatsky saw the significance of the symbol, and
incorporated it into the seal of the Theosophical Society to signify the
harmony of universal movement.
According to Godwin:
'So innocent were the
"good luck" associations of the swastika that during World War I, it was
used as the emblem of the British War Savings Scheme, appearing on coupons
and stamps.' (42)
The swastika appears in two forms: left-handed and right-handed. However,
confusion quickly arises when one is faced with the question of how to
define 'left' and 'right' with regard to this symbol. Some occultists and
historians favor a definition based on the direction taken by the arms as
they extend outward from the centre; while others prefer to define left' and
'right' in terms of the apparent direction of rotation.
The confusion arises
from the fact that a swastika whose arms proceed to the left appears to be
rotating to the right, and vice versa.
Each swastika variant has been taken to mean different things by writers on
the occult, such as the Frenchman Andre Brissaud who says that the
counter-clockwise-spinning swastika represents the rotation of the Earth on
its axis and is the 'Wheel of the Golden Sun', symbolizing creation,
evolution and fertility. The clockwise-spinning swastika is, according to
Brissaud, the 'Wheel of the Black Sun', representing man's quest for power
in opposition to Heaven. (43)
The Chilean diplomat, esotericist and Hitler
apologist Miguel Serrano (b. 1917), whom we shall meet again in the final
chapter, has another explanation of the left- and right-handed swastikas:
the left-handed (clockwise-turning) symbol represents the migration of the
ancient Aryan Race from its homeland at the North Pole, while the
right-handed (counter-clockwise-turning) symbol - the one used by the Nazis
- represents the destiny of the Aryans to return to their spiritual centre
at the South Pole.(44)
Swastika with arms extending to left, apparent rotation to right /
with arms extending to right, apparent rotation to left
After informing us of the complexities attached to the interpretation of
left- and right-handed swastikas, Godwin continues:
Whatever the validity of these theories, the ancient decorative swastikas
show no preference whatsoever for one type over the other. The place where
the left-right distinction is supposed to be most significant is Tibet,
where both Nicholas Roerich and Anagarika Govinda observed that the swastika
of the ancient Bon-Po religion points to the left, the Buddhist one to the
Now it is true that the Bon-Pos perform ritual
counter-clockwise, the Buddhists clockwise, but almost all the Buddhist
iconography collected by Thomas Wilson shows left-handed swastikas, just
like the ones on the Bon-Pos' ritual scepter, their equivalent of the
Buddhist vajra. One can only say that the swastika should perhaps be
left-handed if (as in Bon-Po) it denotes polar revolution, and right-handed
if (as in Buddhism) it symbolizes the course of the sun.
But the root of the
problem is probably the inherent ambiguity of the symbol itself, which makes
the left-handed swastika appear to be rotating to the right, and vice versa.
As we saw in the first chapter, the swastika gained popularity among German
anti-Semitic groups through the writings of Guido von List and Lanz von
Liebenfels, who took the symbol of good fortune and universal harmony and
used it to denote the unconquerable Germanic hero. As might be expected, the
counter-clockwise orientation of the swastika used as a banner by the
National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) has also aroused
considerable controversy in occult and esoteric circles.
According to the occult historian Francis King, when Hitler called for
suggestions for a banner, all of the submissions included a swastika. The
one Hitler finally chose had been designed by Dr Friedrich Krohn, a dentist
from Sternberg. However, the design incorporated a clockwise-turning
swastika, symbolizing good fortune, harmony and spirituality.
Hitler decided to reverse the design, making the swastika counter-clockwise,
symbolizing evil and black magic. (46) Here again, we encounter the problem
of defining what is a right-and left-handed swastika. Was the Nazi symbol
right-handed (traditionally denoting good) or left-handed (denoting evil)?
In one sense, the Nazi swastika could be said to be right-handed because the
hooked arms extend to the right; conversely, it could be said to be
left-handed, since the apparent rotation is counter-clockwise.
journalist Ken Anderson notes:
'What we are dealing with is subjective
definition ... We can speculate that Hitler had chosen to reverse the cross
because of the connotations of black magic and evil in Krohn's cross and for
the purpose of evoking the positive images of good luck, spiritual
evolution, etc., for his fledgling party!' (47)
Anderson gives the impression of having his tongue slightly in his cheek,
but his interpretation is almost certainly correct, for two reasons.
Firstly, we must remember that Hitler himself had very little time for
occult mumbo-jumbo, and was certainly not the practicing black magician many
occultists claim him to have been (more on this in Chapter Five); and
secondly, the idea that Hitler considered himself 'evil' (as he would have
had to have done in order to take the step of reversing a positive symbol to
a negative one), or that evil was an attractive concept for him is
As we noted in the Introduction, one of the most terrifying and
baffling aspects of Adolf Hitler is that he did not consider himself 'evil':
as Trevor-Roper states, Hitler was convinced of his own rectitude, that he
was acting correctly in exterminating the Jews and the other groups targeted
for destruction by the Nazis.
In addition, Hitler himself makes no mention of such an alteration in his
repulsive Mein Kampf.
In view of the fact that he took most of the credit
for the design himself, neglecting even to mention Krohn's name, he would
surely have explained the reasons for his making such a fundamental
alteration to the design of the NSDAP banner:
... I was obliged to reject without exception the numerous designs which
poured in from the circles of the young movement ... I myself - as Leader -
did not want to come out publicly at once with my own design, since after
all it was possible that another should produce one just as good or perhaps
even better. Actually, a dentist from Starnberg [sic] did deliver a design
that was not bad at all, and, incidentally, was quite close to my own,
having only the one fault that a swastika with curved legs was composed into
a white disk.
I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form;
a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the
middle. After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the
size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and
thickness of the swastika. (48)
The reader will notice that Hitler says the submission he received that was
quite close to his own had only one fault: the swastika had curved legs.
Anderson is undoubtedly correct when he states that,
'the major importance of
the decision [was] - for a man who prided himself on being a thwarted artist
of great merit - not some unidentified occultic myth, but rather balance and
aesthetic value'. (49)
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