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 prehistoric flood.

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 Judeo-Christianity. (2)

 

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.

 

The British 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 bondage. (3)

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.

 

Schlegel 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, meaning honor.

 

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 Semites.

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 straightforward terms:

' (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. (8)

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).

 

Buffon made 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.

 

The reason 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.

 

Godwin has 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 Zoroastrian scholar

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 23.

 

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 Egypt, 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.

 

Blavatsky continues:

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 then. (13)

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 Pacific Ocean.

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.

 

But 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'.

In The Secret Doctrine, she calls them Jambu, Plaksha, Salmali, Kusa, Krauncha, Saka and Pushkara.

 

She continues:

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:

  1. to the dry lands covering the face of the whole earth during the period of a Root-Race, in general

  2. to what remained of these after a geological [cataclysm]

  3. 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 (16)

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 symbolic terms:

'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 Arktoi, 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 humanity.)' (18)

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. (20)

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 twentieth centuries.

 

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)

The doctrines 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)

Levenda continues:

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 Protocols of the Elders of Zion was an anti-Semitic forgery created by the Okhrana (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 anti-Semitism:

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 consciously exposed.

 

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.

 

Heiden began 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 elements.

 

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 Annie Besant (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 Nationalist Movement.

 

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 Socialism. (31)
 


Iceland and Antarctica

It is a matter of historical record that the Nazis mounted expeditions to Iceland, 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 race.

 

(At some time between the third and fourth centuries BC, Pytheas of 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 north:

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 present Arctic.

 

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 civilization.

 

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 nature'.

 

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.

 

Furthermore, one 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 trip.

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 heat sources.

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.

 

Therefore, 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.
 


The Swastika

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 sun-symbol. (41)

 

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 /

Swastika 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 right.

 

Now it is true that the Bon-Pos perform ritual circumambulations 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. (45)

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.

 

As the 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 ridiculous.

 

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)

Back to Contents