6 - Ordinary madness - Heinrich Himmler and the SS

Many writers on the occult have suggested that the notorious SS (Schutz Staffeln or Defence Squads) was actively engaged in black-magic rites designed to contact and enlist the aid of evil and immensely powerful trans-human powers, in order to secure the domination of the planet by the Third Reich. While conventional historians are contemptuous of this notion, it nevertheless holds some attraction for those struggling with the terrible mystery at the heart of Nazism, who have come to believe that only a supernatural explanation can possibly shed light on the movement's origins and deeds.


Goodrick-Clarke, one of the very few serious historians to have explored the subject of the occult inspiration behind Nazism, stresses that although volkisch occultists such as Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels undoubtedly contributed to the 'mythological mood of the Nazi era' (with its bizarre notions of prehistoric Aryan superhumans inhabiting vanished continents),

'they cannot be said to have directly influenced the actions of persons in positions of political power and responsibility'. (1)

As Goodrick-Clarke concedes, however, the one exception is a man named Karl Maria Wiligut (1866-1946), who exerted a profound influence upon Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler.


Before turning our attention to the SS itself, therefore, we must pause to examine the life and thought of Wiligut, and the reasons for his intellectual hold over the leader of the most powerful organization in the Third Reich.

The Man Behind Himmler
Wiligut was born in Vienna into a military family and followed his grandfather and father into the Austrian army, joining the 99th Infantry at Mostar, Herzegovina in late 1884 and reaching the rank of captain by the time he was 37. Throughout his years in the army, he maintained his interest in literature and folklore, writing poetry with a distinctly nationalistic flavor.


In 1903, a book of his poems entitled Seyfrieds Runen was published by Friedrich Schalk, who had also published Guido von List. Although his studies in mythology had led him to join a quasi-Masonic lodge called the Schlarraffia in 1889, Wiligut does not seem to have been active in the volkisch or Pan-German nationalist movements at this time. (2)

During the First World War, Wiligut saw action against the Russians in the Carpathians and was later transferred to the Italian front; by the summer of 1917, he had reached the rank of colonel. Decorated for bravery and highly thought of by his superiors, Wiligut was discharged from the army in January 1919, after nearly 35 years of exemplary service.

At around this time, the Viennese occult underground began to buzz with rumors concerning Wiligut and his alleged possession of an 'ancestral memory' that allowed him to recall the history of the Teutonic people all the way back to the year 228,000 BC.

According to Wiligut, his astonishing clairvoyant ability was the result of an uninterrupted family lineage extending thousands of years into the past. He claimed to have been initiated into the secrets of his family by his father in 1890. Goodrick-Clarke has identified the source of this information about Wiligut as Theodor Czepl, who knew of Wiligut through his occult connections in Vienna, which included Wiligut's cousin, Willy Thaler, and various members of the Order of the New Templars (ONT).


Czepl paid several visits to Wiligut at his Salzburg home in the winter of 1920, and it was during these visits that Wiligut claimed that the Bible had been written in Germany, and that the Germanic god Krist had been appropriated by Christianity. (3)

According to Wiligut's view of prehistory, the Earth was originally lit by three suns and was inhabited by various mythological beings, including giants and dwarves. For many tens of thousands of years, the world was convulsed with warfare until Wiligut's ancestors, the Adler-Wiligoten, brought peace with the foundation of the 'second Boso culture' and the city of Arual-Joruvallas (Goslar, the chief shrine of ancient Germany) in 78,000 BC.


The following millennia saw yet more conflicts involving various now-lost civilizations, until 12,500 BC, when the religion of Krist was established. Three thousand years later, an opposing group of Wotanists challenged this hitherto universal Germanic faith, and crucified the prophet of Krist, Baldur-Chrestos, who nevertheless managed to escape to Asia. The Wotanists destroyed Goslar in 1200 BC, forcing the followers of Krist to establish a new temple at Exsternsteine, near Detmold. (4)

The Wiligut family itself was originally the result of a mating between the gods of air and water, and in later centuries fled from persecution at the hands of Charlemagne, first to the Faroe Islands and then to Russia. Wiligut claimed that his family line included such heroic Germanic figures as Armin the Cherusker and Wittukind. As Goodrick-Clarke notes:

'It will be evident from this epic account of putative genealogy and family history that Wiligut's prehistorical speculations primarily served as a stage upon which he could project the experiences and importance of his own ancestors.' (5)


In addition, Peter Levenda makes the salient point that Wiligut's 'cross-eyed thesis' was based on a spurious amalgamation of genuine cultural traditions (such as those described in the Eddas) and Theosophical belief systems that have little or no provenance in the actual history of mythology. (6)

In Wiligut's view, the victimization of his family that had been going on for tens of thousands of years was continuing at the hands of the Catholic Church, the Freemasons and the Jews, all of whom he held responsible for Germany's defeat in the First World War. His already somewhat precarious mental health was further undermined when his infant son died, thus destroying the male line of the family.


This placed a great strain on his relationship with his wife, Malwine, who in any event was not particularly impressed with his claims of prehistoric greatness for his family. His home life continued to deteriorate, until his violence, threats to kill Malwine and bizarre occult interests resulted in his being committed to the mental asylum at Salzburg in November 1924. Certified insane, he was confined there until 1927.

In spite of this, Wiligut maintained contact with his colleagues in various occult circles, including the ONT and the Edda Society. Five years after his release from the asylum, Wiligut decided to move to Germany and settled in Munich. There he was feted by German occultists as a fount of priceless information on the remote and glorious history of the Germanic people.

Wiligut's introduction to Heinrich Himmler came about through the former's friend Richard Anders, who had contributed to the Edda Society's Hagal magazine and who was now an officer in the SS. Himmler was greatly impressed with the old man's ancestral memory, which implied a racial purity going back much further than 1750 (the year to which SS recruits had to be able to prove their Aryan family history). (7)


Wiligut joined the SS in September 1933, using the name 'Karl Maria Weisthor'. He was made head of the Department for Pre- and Early History in the SS Race and Settlement Main Office in Munich, where he was charged with the task of recording on paper the events he clairvoyantly recalled. His work evidently met with the satisfaction of the Reichsfuhrer-SS, who promoted him to SS-Oberfuhrer (lieutenant-brigadier) in November 1934. (8)

As if his own ravings were not enough, Weisthor introduced Himmler to another occultist, a German crypto-historian and List Society member named Gunther Kirchhoff (18921975) who believed in the existence of energy lines crossing the face of the Earth. Weisthor took it upon himself to forward a number of Kirchhoff's essays and dissertations on ancient Germanic tradition to Himmler, who gave instructions to the Ahnenerbe (the SS Association for Research and Teaching on Heredity) to study them.


One such dissertation concerned a detailed survey undertaken by Kirchhoff and Weisthor in the region of the Murg Valley near Baden-Baden in the Black Forest. After exhaustively examining 'old half-timbered houses, architectural ornament (including sculpture, coats-of-arms, runes, and other symbols), crosses, inscriptions, and natural and man-made rock formations in the forest', (9) the two occultists concluded that the region had been a prehistoric centre of the Krist religion.

Unfortunately for Kirchhoff, even the Ahnenerbe came to think of him as a crackpot who understood nothing of scholarly prehistorical research (quite an indictment, coming from that particular organization). When Kirchhoff accused them, along with the Catholic Church, of conspiring against him, the Ahnenerbe responded by describing his work as 'rubbish' and him as a 'fantasist of the worst kind'. (10)


In spite of this, Himmler continued to instruct the Ahnenerbe to take seriously Kirchhoff's unscholarly rantings, until the outbreak of the Second World War forced him firmly into the background.

Weisthor, on the other hand, would make one further important contribution to Himmler's SS. While travelling through Westphalia during the Nazi electoral campaign of January 1933, Himmler was profoundly affected by the atmosphere of the region, with its romantic castles and the mist- (and myth-) shrouded Teutoburger Forest.


After deciding to take over a castle for SS use, he returned to Westphalia in November and viewed the Wewelsburg castle, which he appropriated in August 1934 with the intention of turning it into an ideological-education college for SS officers. Although at first belonging to the Race and Settlement Main Office, the Wewelsburg castle was placed under the control of Himmler's Personal Staff in February 1935.

It is likely that Himmler's view of the Wewelsburg castle was influenced by Weisthor's assertion that it 'was destined to become a magical German strongpoint in a future conflict between Europe and Asia'. (11) Weisthor's inspiration for this prediction was a Westphalian legend regarding a titanic future battle between East and West.


Himmler found this particularly interesting, in view of his own conviction that a major confrontation between East and West was inevitable -even if it were still a century or more in the future. In addition, it was Weisthor who influenced the development of SS ritual (which we shall examine later in this chapter) and who designed the SS Totenkopfring that symbolized membership of the order. The ring design was based on a death's head, and included a swastika, the double sig-rune of the SS and a hagall rune.

In 1935, Weisthor moved to Berlin, where he joined the Reichsfuhrer-SS Personal Staff and continued to advise Himmler on all aspects of his Germanic pseudo-history. Eyewitnesses recollect that this was a period of great activity, during which Weisthor travelled widely, corresponded extensively and oversaw numerous meetings.


According to Goodrick-Clarke: 'Besides his involvement with the Wewelsburg castle and his land surveys in the Black Forest and elsewhere, Weisthor continued to produce examples of his family traditions such as the Halgarita mottoes, Germanic mantras designed to stimulate ancestral memory ... and the design for the SS Totenkopfring.' (12) In recognition of his work, Weisthor was promoted to SS-Brigadefuhrer (brigadier) in Himmler's Personal Staff in September 1936.

While in Berlin, Weisthor worked with the author and historian Otto Rahn (1904-1939), who had a profound interest in medieval Grail legends and the Cathar heresy. In 1933, Rahn published a romantic historical work entitled Kreuzzug gegen den Gral (Crusade Against the Grail), which was a study of the Albigensian Crusade, a war between the Roman Catholic Church and the Cathars (or Albigensians), an ascetic religious sect that flourished in southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.


The Cathars believed that the teachings of Christ had been corrupted by the Church -and, indeed, that Christ was exclusively a being of spirit who had never been incarnated in human form. This belief arose from their conviction that all matter was the creation of an evil deity opposed to God. Thus they claimed that the dead would not be physically resurrected (since the body was made of matter and hence evil) and that procreation itself was evil, since it increased the amount of matter in the Universe and trapped souls in physicality. (13)


The Cathars were eventually destroyed by Catholic armies on the orders of Pope Innocent III in the first decade of the thirteenth century.

As Levenda notes, Catharism held a particular fascination and attraction for Himmler and other leading Nazis.

'After all, the very word "Cathar" means "pure," and purity -particularly of the blood as the physical embodiment of spiritual "goodness" - was an issue of prime importance to the SS.' (14)

Just as the Cathars had despised the materialism of the Catholic Church, so the Nazis despised Capitalism, which they equated with the,

'excesses of the Jewish financiers that - they said - had brought the nation to ruin during the First World War and the depression that followed'. (15)

The Cathar belief that the evil god who had created the material Universe was none other than Jehovah provided additional common ground with Nazi anti-Semitism.

Ritual suicide was also practiced by the Cathars. Known as the endura, it involved either starving oneself to death, self-poisoning or strangulation by one's fellow Cathars.


Levenda makes another interesting point about the Nazi fascination with Catharism:

[T]he Cathars were fanatics, willing to die for their cause; sacrificing themselves to the Church's onslaught they enjoyed the always-enviable aura of spiritual underdogs. There was something madly beautiful in the way they were immolated on the stakes of the Inquisition, professing their faith and their hatred of Rome until the very end. The Nazis could identify with the Cathars: with their overall fanaticism, with their contempt for the way vital spiritual matters were commercialized (polluted) by the Establishment, and with their passion for 'purity'.


It is perhaps inevitable that the Cathars should have made a sacrament out of suicide, for they must have known that their Quest was doomed to failure from the start. They must have wished for death as a release from a corrupt and insensitive world; and it's entirely possible that, at the root of Nazism, lay a similar death wish. Hitler was surrounded by the suicides of his mistresses and contemplated it himself on at least one occasion before he actually pulled the trigger in Berlin in 1945. Himmler and other captured Nazi leaders killed themselves rather than permit the Allies to do the honors for them. ...


[L]ike the Cathars whom they admired, the Nazis saw in suicide that consolation and release from the world of Satanic matter promised by this most cynical of Cathar sacraments. (16)

The thesis of Rahn's book was that the Cathar heresy and Grail legends constituted an ancient Gothic Gnostic religion that had been suppressed by the Catholic Church, beginning with the persecution of the Cathars and ending with the destruction of the Knights Templar a century later.


From 1933, Rahn lived in Berlin and his book and his continued researches into Germanic history came to the attention of Himmler. In May 1935, Rahn joined Weisthor's staff, joining the SS less than a year later. In April 1936, he was promoted to the rank of SS-Unterscharfuhrer (NCO).

His second book, Luzifers Hofgesinde (Lucifer's Servants), which was an account of his research trip to Iceland for the SS, was published in 1937. This was followed by four months of military service with the SS-Death's Head Division 'Oberbayern' at Dachau concentration camp, after which he was allowed to pursue his writing and research full time. In February 1939, Rahn resigned from the SS for unknown reasons, and subsequently died from exposure the following month while walking on the mountains near Kufstein. (17)

As with Rahn's resignation from the SS, the reasons for Weisthor leaving the organization are uncertain. One possible reason is that his health was badly failing; although he was given powerful drugs intended to maintain his mental faculties, they had serious side effects, including personality changes that resulted in heavy smoking and alcohol consumption.


Also at this time his psychological history -including his committal for insanity - which had been a closely guarded secret became known, causing considerable embarrassment to Himmler.


In February 1939, Weisthor's staff were informed that he had retired because of poor health, and that his office would be dissolved. (18) Although the old occultist was supported by the SS during the final years of his life, his influence on the Third Reich was at an end. He was given a home in Aufkirchen, but found it to be too far away from Berlin and he moved to Goslar in May 1940.


When his accommodation was requisitioned for medical research in 1943, he moved again, this time to a small SS house in Carinthia where he spent the remainder of the war with his housekeeper, Elsa Baltrusch, a member of Himmler's Personal Staff. At the end of the war, he was sent by the British occupying forces to a refugee camp where he suffered a stroke.


After their release, he and Baltrusch went first to his family home at Salzburg, and then to Baltrusch's family home at Arolsen. On 3 January 1946, his health finally gave out and he died in hospital. (19)

Heinrich Himmler
The man who was so deeply impressed with the rantings of Wiligut, who would become most closely associated with the terror of the SS and an embodiment of evil second only to Adolf Hitler himself, was born in Munich on 7 October 1900. Himmler's father was the son of a police president and had been a tutor to the princes at the Bavarian court, and thus applied suitably authoritarian principles on his own family. (20)


As Joachim Fest notes:

'No doubt it would be going too far to see in the son's early interest in Teutonic sagas, criminology and military affairs the beginnings of his later development, but the family milieu, with its combination of "officialdom, police work and teaching", manifestly had a lasting effect on him.' (21)

Himmler was not blessed with a robust physical constitution, and this hampered his family's initial intention that he should become a farmer. Nevertheless, the ideal of the noble peasant remained with him and heavily influenced his later ideology and plans for the SS.


After serving very briefly at the end of the First World War, Himmler joined Hitler's NSDAP. In 1926 he met Margerete Boden, the daughter of a West Prussian landowning family, and married her two years later. A fine example of the Germanic type (tall, fair-haired and blue-eyed), she was also seven years older than Himmler and is said to have inspired his interest in alternative medicine such as herbalism and homeopathy. (22)

Himmler was appointed head (Reichsfuhrer) of the SS on 6 January 1929. At that time the organization had barely 300 members, but such were Himmler's organizational skills that he increased its membership to over 50,000 in the next four years. In 1931 he established a special Security Service (SD) within the SS, which would oversee political intelligence.


It was led by the psychopathic Reinhard Heydrich,

'the only top Nazi leader to fit the racial stereotype of being tall (six feet, three inches), blond, and blue-eyed'. (23)

Himmler took control of the party's police functions in April 1934, and then took command of the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei or Secret State Police). SS units were instrumental in Hitler's Blood Purge of 30 June 1934, which saw the end of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the brown-shirted and sadistic militia of the early Nazi Party, and its chief, Ernst Rohm.

Members of the SS were required to correspond to special racial criteria (tall, blond, blue-eyed) and had to be able to trace their Aryan ancestry at least as far back as the year 1750. Initially, the SS membership included approximately 44 per cent from the working class; however, as its status increased following the Nazi rise to power, it attracted more members from the upper class.

By 1937, the three major concentration camps in Germany were staffed by the SS Totenkopfverbande (Death's Head Units), and the following year saw the formation of the Verfugungstruppe (Action Groups), which numbered 200,000 and which later became the Waffen-SS (Military SS). By the end of 1938, SS membership had reached nearly 240,000, a figure that would later rise to approximately one million.

According to the historian Joachim C. Fest:

[T]he aims of the enormous SS apparatus were ... comprehensive and concerned not so much with controlling the state as with becoming a state itself. The occupants of the chief positions in the SS developed step by step into the holders of power in an authentic 'collateral state', which gradually penetrated existing institutions, undermined them, and finally began to dissolve them.


Fundamentally there was no sphere of public life upon which the SS did not make its competing demands: the economic, ideological, military, scientific and technical spheres, as well as those of agrarian and population policies, legislation and general administration. This development found its most unmistakable expression in the hierarchy of the Senior SS and Police Commanders, especially in the Eastern zones; the considerable independence that Himmler's corps of leaders enjoyed vis-a-vis the civil or military administration was a working model for a shift of power planned for the whole area of the Greater German Reich after the war.


This process received its initial impetus following the so-called Rohm Putsch, and it moved towards its completion after the attempted revolt of 20 July 1944. The SS now pushed its way into 'the centre of the organizational fabric of the Wehrmacht', and Himmler, who had meanwhile also become Reich Minister of the Interior, now in addition became chief of the Replacement Army.


On top of his many other functions he was thus in charge 'of all military transport, military censorship, the intelligence service, surveillance of the troops, the supply of food, clothing and pay to the troops, and care of the wounded'. (24)

The Ahnenerbe and the Rituals of the SS
It has been said of Himmler many times that his personality was a curious mixture of rationality and fantasy: that his capacity for rational planning, the following of orders and administrative detail existed alongside an idealist enthusiasm for utopianism, mysticism and the occult.


This combination of the quotidian and the fantastic led to Himmler's conception of the ultimate role of the SS:

'his black-uniformed troops would provide both the bloodstock of the future Aryan master-race and the ideological elite of an ever-expanding Greater Germanic Reich'. (25)

From 1930, Himmler concentrated on the formulation of his plans for the SS, which included the establishment of the SS officers' college at the Wewelsburg castle in 1933. Two years later, he established the Ahnenerbe with the Nazi pagan ideologue Richard Walther Darre.


The Ahnenerbe was the Ancestral Heritage Research and Teaching Society, and was initially an independent institute conducting research into Germanic prehistory, archaeology and occult mysticism. It was subsequently incorporated into the SS in April 1940, with its staff holding SS rank.


Levenda thinks it likely that the inspiration for the Ahnenerbe came from a number of German intellectuals and occultists who had subscribed to the theories of the volkisch writers of the late nineteenth century, as well as from the adventures of a number of explorers and archaeologists, including the world-famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin. (26)

Born in Stockholm in 1865, Hedin left Sweden at the age of twenty and sailed to Baku on the Caspian Sea. This was the first voyage of a man who would travel through most of Asia, and whose exploits would be recorded in the book My Life as an Explorer (1925). Hedin's voyages and tales of fabulous Asian cities did much to consolidate the European and American publics' fascination with the mysterious Orient - a fascination that had already been kindled by Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. (27)

Levenda writes:

There is evidence to suggest that the Ahnenerbe itself was formed as a private institution by several friends and admirers of Sven Hedin, including Wolfram Sievers (who would later find justice at the Nuremberg Trials) and Dr Friedrich Hielscher who, according to the records of the Nuremberg Trial of November 1946, had been responsible for recruiting Sievers into the Ahnenerbe.


In fact, there was a Sven Hedin Institute for Inner Asian Research in Munich that was part of the Ahnenerbe and as late as 1942 Hedin himself (then about seventy-seven years old) was in friendly communication with such important Ahnenerbe personnel as Dr Ernst Schafer from his residence in Stockholm. Moreover, on January 16, 1943, the Sven Hedin Institute for Inner Asian (i.e. Mongolian) Research and Expeditions was formally inaugurated in Munich with 'great pomp,' a ceremony at which Hedin was in attendance as he was awarded with an honorary doctorate for the occasion.(28)

It is possible that Hedin may have met Karl Haushofer (whom we discussed in Chapter Three) while in the Far East, since Hedin was an occasional ambassador for the Swedish Government and Haushofer was a German military attaché.

'Given Haushofer's excessive interest in political geography and his establishment of the Deutsche Akademie all over Asia (including China and India, Hedin's old stomping grounds), it would actually be odd if the two hadn't met.' (29)

Indeed, the Deutsche Akademie and the Ahnenerbe, whose director was Wolfram Sievers, were run along very similar lines. Dr Walther Wust, the Humanities chairman of the Ahnenerbe who carried the SS rank of Oberfuhrer, was also acting president of the Deutsche Akademie. Both organisations conducted field research at Dachau concentration camp. (30)


Himmler's vision of the SS required its transformation from Hitler's personal bodyguard to a pagan religious order with virtually complete autonomy, answerable only to the Fuhrer himself. As we have seen, Himmler chose as the headquarters for his order the castle of Wewelsburg, near Paderborn in Westphalia and close to the stone monument known as the Exsternsteine where the Teutonic hero Arminius was said to have battled the Romans.

The focal point of Wewelsburg, evidently owing much to the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, was a great dining hall with an oaken table to seat twelve picked from the senior Gruppenfuhrers. The walls were to be adorned with their coats of arms; although a high proportion lacked these -as of course did Himmler himself - they were assisted in the drafting of designs by Professor Diebitsch and experts from the Ahnenerbe. (31)

Beneath the dining hall was a circular room with a shallow depression reached by three stone steps (symbolizing the three Reichs). In this place of the dead, the coat of arms of the deceased 'Knight' of the SS would be ceremonially burned. Each member of Himmler's Inner Circle of Twelve had his own room, which was dedicated to an Aryan ancestor.


Himmler's own quarters were dedicated to King Heinrich I, the Saxon king who had battled Hungarians and Slavs and of whom Himmler was convinced he was the reincarnation, (32) although he also claimed to have had conversations with Heinrich's ghost at night. (33)

Inside the dining hall, Himmler and his Inner Circle would perform various occult exercises, which included attempts to communicate with the spirits of dead Teutons and efforts to influence the mind of a person in the next room through the concentration of willpower.

There was no place for Christianity in the SS, and members were actively encouraged to break with the Church.

New religious ceremonies were developed to take the place of Christian ones; for instance, a winter solstice ceremony was designed to replace Christmas (starting in 1939 the word 'Christmas' was forbidden to appear in any official SS document), and another ceremony for the summer solstice.


Gifts were to be given at the summer solstice ceremony rather than at the winter solstice ... (A possible, though by no means documented, cause for this switch of gift-giving to the summer solstice is the death of Hitler's mother on the winter solstice and all the grief and complex emotions this event represented for Hitler. It's understandable that Hitler - as the Fuhrer and at least nominally in charge of the direction the new state religion would take - would have wanted to remove every vestige of 'Christmas' from the pagan winter solstice festival.


As a means of denying his grief? Or as an act of defiance against the god whose birth is celebrated on that day, a god who robbed Hitler of his beloved mother? It's worthwhile to note in this context that for a national 'Day of the German Mother' Hitler chose his own mother's birthday.) (34)

Besides Christmas, weddings and christenings were also replaced by pagan rituals, and pagan myths, as we saw earlier in this chapter, influenced Himmler's choice of Wewelsburg as the SS-order castle.


The meticulous work of Peter Levenda in unearthing previously unpublished documents from the period allows us to consider the pagan world view of the Ahnenerbe and the SS. The files of the Ahnenerbe contained an article by A.E. Muller originally published in a monthly journal called Lower Saxony in 1903, which describes the celebration of the summer solstice at the Exsternsteine monument near the Wewelsburg in the mid-nineteenth century.

[They are] like giants from a prehistoric world which, during the furious creation of the Earth, were placed there by God as eternal monuments ... Many of our Volk are known to have preserved the pagan belief and its rituals, and I remember that some sixty years ago, in my earliest childhood days ... the custom was to undertake a long, continuous journey that lasted for whole days and which only ended on St John's Day, to see those ancient 'Holy Stones' and to celebrate there, with the sunrise, the Festival of the Summer Solstice.(35)

The town of Paderborn itself also had considerable pagan significance, as demonstrated by a letter from a man named von Motz to the head of the Ahnenerbe, Wolfram Sievers, which is quoted in Levenda's hugely informative book Unholy Alliance:

I am sending to you now ... six photographs with explanatory text. Maybe these can appear in one of the next issues of [the official SS magazine] Schwarze Korps in order to show that it is to some extent a favored practice of the church on images of its saints and so forth to illustrate the defeat of adversaries by [having them] step on them.

The referenced essay also mentioned that there are depictions of the serpent's head, as the symbol of original sin, being stepped on [by the saints].

These depictions are quite uncommonly prevalent. It is always Mary who treads on original sin.

Now these pictures appear to me particularly interesting because the serpent refers to an ancient symbol of Germanic belief. At the Battle of Hastings the flag of the Saxons shows a golden serpent on a blue field ...

The Mary Statue at Paderborn was erected in the middle of the past century in the courtyard of the former Jesuit College. As professor Alois Fuchs related several times before in lectures concerning the Paderborn art monuments, the artist that created the Mary Statue must have been a Protestant. This is for me completely proven because the face in the moon-sickle in every case represents Luther.

It is well known that Rome and Judah, preferring thus to take advantage of their own victims, created victory monuments for them. (36)

As Levenda notes, these motifs are common in the volkisch underpinnings of Nazism, with the serpent, thought of as an archetype of evil in Christianity, considered sacred by the Aryans.


In addition,

'"Rome and Judah" shamelessly exploited the suffering of their own people by depicting them as heroes or as vanquishers of evil through their agonies (thus reinforcing weak, non-Aryan suicidal tendencies among the oppressed populations of Europe).' (37)

As we have noted, the Ahnenerbe received its official status within the SS in 1940, and while other occult-oriented groups such as the Freemasons, the Theosophists and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn were being suppressed, the Ahnenerbe was given free rein to pursue its own line of mystical and occult enquiry, with the express purpose of proving the historical validity of Nazi paganism.


Its more than 50 sections covered every aspect of occultism and paganism, including Celtic studies, the rituals surrounding the Exsternsteine monument, Scandinavian mythology, runic symbolism, the World Ice Theory of Hans Horbiger (which will be discussed in Chapter Seven), and an archaeological research group that attempted to prove the geographical ubiquity of the ancient Aryan civilization.


In addition, at the door of the Ahnenerbe must lie the ineradicable iniquity of the medical experiments conducted at Dachau and other concentration camps, since it was this organization that commissioned the unbelievably hideous program of 'scientific research' on living human subjects.

The mental ambiguity of Heinrich Himmler - rational, obedient and totally desirous of security on the one hand; immersed in the spurious fantasy of Aryan destiny on the other - was demonstrated most powerfully in the final phase of the Nazi regime, when it became obvious that Germany would lose the war and the 'Thousand-year Reich' would become dust.


From 1943 onward, Himmler maintained loose contacts with the Resistance Movement in Germany, and in the spring of 1945 he entered into secret negotiations with the World Jewish Congress. (By September 1944 he had already given orders for the murder of Jews to be halted, in order to offer a more 'presentable' face to the Allies, an order that was not followed). (38)

Himmler's actions at this time indicate what Fest calls 'an almost incredible divorce from reality', one example being his suggestion to a representative of the World Jewish Congress that 'it is time you Jews and we National Socialists buried the hatchet'. (39)


He even assumed, in all seriousness, that he might lead a post-war Germany in an alliance with the West against the Soviet Union. When the reality of the Third Reich's defeat finally overwhelmed his fantasies and sent them to oblivion, and the idea of disguise and escape finally presented itself to him, Himmler adopted perhaps the worst false identity he could have chosen: the uniform of a sergeant-major of the Secret Military Police, a division of the Gestapo. Such was his 'divorce from reality', even then, that it did not occur to him that any Gestapo member would be arrested on sight by the Allies.


This indeed occurred on 21 May 1945.

Like their master, many SS men took their own lives in 1945, appalled less at Himmler's betrayal of Hitler through his attempts to negotiate with the Allies than at his betrayal of the SS itself and of the ideals that had given meaning (at least to them) to the destruction they had wrought upon their six million victims.


The collapse of this SS ideal 'left only a senseless, filthy, barbaric murder industry, for which there could be no defence'. (40)


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