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
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
'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
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
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
The Cathars were eventually destroyed by Catholic armies
on the orders of Pope Innocent III in the first decade of the thirteenth
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.'
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)
belief that the evil god who had created the material Universe was none
other than Jehovah provided additional common ground with Nazi
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. ...
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.
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.
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
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:
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.'
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'.
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
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
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.
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
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)
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
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
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
'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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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'.
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