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Thule Society emblem


The Thule Society (German: Thule-Gesellschaft), originally the Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum 'Study Group for Germanic Antiquity', was a German occultist and Völkisch group in Munich, notable chiefly as the organization that sponsored the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, which was later transformed by Adolf Hitler into the Nazi Party. Hitler, however, was never a member of the Thule Society.


The Thule Society was founded August 17, 1918 by Rudolf von Sebottendorff, a German occultist, as the Munich branch of the Germanenorden, a secret society a.k.a. the "Order of Teutons" (1912).

Von Sebottendorff later claimed that he originally intended the Thule Society to be a vehicle for promoting his own occultist theories, but that the Germanenorden pressed him to emphasize political, nationalist and anti-Semitic themes. Since this claim was made while the Nazis were in power and von Sebottendorff had little to gain by denying anti-Semitism, it may well be true.


A primary focus of Thule-Gesellschaft was a claim concerning the origins of the Aryan race. "Thule" was a land located by Greco-Roman geographers in the furthest north. The society was named after "Ultima Thule" — (Latin: most distant North) mentioned by the Roman poet Virgil in his epic poem Aeneid, which was the far northern segment of Thule and is generally understood to mean Scandinavia. Said by Nazi mystics to be the capital of ancient Hyperborea, they placed Ultima Thule in the extreme north near Greenland or Iceland.

The Thulists believed in the hollow earth theory. The Thule Society counted among its goals the desire to prove that the Aryan race came from a lost continent, perhaps Atlantis.

The Thule-Gesellschaft maintained close contacts with followers of Theosophy and the followers of Helena Blavatsky, a famous Occultist during the second part of the 19th century.

Anthroposophical themes were common too, as the motto Der Weg ist in Dir - 'The Way is present in You', expresses. Self-realization and the supreme position of the human person were essential to the Thulists.


The Thule Society attracted about 250 followers in Munich and about 1,500 in greater Bavaria. Its meetings were often held in the still existent Munich luxury hotel Vier Jahreszeiten ("The Four Seasons").

The followers of the Thule Society were, by von Sebottendorff's own admission, little interested in his occultist theories. They were more interested in racism and combating Jews and Communists. They are also said to have planned to kidnap the Socialist prime minister Kurt Eisner. After the establishment of the Munich Soviet Republic, they were accused of trying to infiltrate its government and of having attempted a coup on April 30, 1919. During this attempt, the Soviet government took several members of the Thule Society hostage, and later executed them.

Münchener Beobachter newspaper

The Thule Society bought a local weekly newspaper, the Münchener Beobachter (Munich Observer), and changed its name to Münchener Beobachter und Sportblatt (loosely, Munich Observer and Sport Report) in an attempt to improve its circulation. The Münchener Beobachter later became the Völkischer Beobachter (People's Observer), the main Nazi newspaper. It was edited by Karl Harrer.

Deutsche Arbeiterpartei

In 1919, the Thule Society's Anton Drexler, who had developed links between the Society and various extreme right workers' organizations in Munich, together with Karl Harrer established the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP), or German Workers Party. Adolf Hitler joined this party in 1919. By April 1, 1920, the DAP had been reconstituted as the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), or National Socialist German Workers Party (generally known as the "Nazi Party").

Von Sebottendorff had by then left the Thule Society, and never joined the DAP or the Nazi party. Many other members of the Thule Society and/or DAP were later prominent in Nazi Germany, including

  • Dietrich Eckart

  • Gottfried Feder

  • Hans Frank

  • Karl Harrer

  • Rudolf Hess

  • Alfred Rosenberg

  • Julius Streicher

Dietrich Eckart, who coached Hitler on his public speaking skills, had Mein Kampf dedicated to him. While it has been claimed that Adolf Hitler was a member (The Occult and the Third Reich, Jean Michel Angebert, 1974. p. 9), there is no evidence for this claim; on the contrary, the evidence is that he never attended a meeting, as attested to by Johannes Hering's diary of Society meetings (Johannes Hering, "Beiträge zur Geschichte der Thule-Gesellschaft", typescript dated 21 June 1939, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, NS26/865, cit. in Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism, 1992 p.201.)


It is quite clear that Hitler himself had little interest in, and made little time for, "esoteric" matters.

Other members were,

  • Karl Fiehler

  • Wilhelm Frick

  • Michel Frank

  • Heinrich Jost

  • Wolfgang Pongratz

  • Wilhelm Laforce

  • Johann Ott

  • Hans Riemann

  • Max Seselmann

  • Hans-Arnold Stadler

Two well-known aristocrats in the group were Countess Hella von Westarp, a young woman who functioned as secretary, and Prince Gustav von Thurn und Taxis (both of these were among hostages abducted and executed by the Communist government in Munich in 1919).


After Hitler came to power, the Thule Society was one of many organizations suppressed. When von Sebottendorff returned to Germany and published a book about the Thule Society, Bevor Hitler kam, he was arrested and the book prohibited.

Nonetheless, it has been argued that some Thule members and their ideas were incorporated into the Third Reich. {The Occult and the Third Reich, Jean Michel Angeburt, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1974, p. 9} Some of the Thule Society's teachings were expressed in the books of Alfred Rosenberg. Also, many of the occult ideas found favour with Heinrich Himmler who, like Hitler, had a great interest in mysticism.


Thule Society revived

A revived Thule Society is rumored to have met during the time of the Wagner festival in Bayreuth in 1966. Among the participants was an American exchange student, Gene A. Statler, a distant relative of Gauleiter Hans-Arnold Stadler. Statler's account of that meeting is contained in unpublished diaries which later became the property of magazine editor Raymond Palmer.


Conspiracy Theories

Like the Ahnenerbe section of the SS, and due to its occult background, the Thule Society has become the center of many conspiracy theories concerning Nazi Germany. Such theories include the creation of spacecraft and secret weapons. Because the group helped Hitler with his speaking skills, some have even suggested that the society somehow granted him magic powers that contributed to his later success.

It is also claimed that Thule-Gesellschaft possessed a psychic named Maria Orsic, who convinced them that the Aryan race did not originate on the Earth, but came from Aldebaran in Taurus — some sixty-five light years away.

It is further suggested that Vril, Thule-Gesellschaft, and DHvSS (Men of the Black Stone) all joined together at some point (perhaps 1919). DHvSS is said to have worshipped a German mountain goddess "Isias" as well as the Schwarzer Stein (Black Stone).