December 17, 2002
Editor: Joseph Trainor
1866: HITLER'S WARLOCK
He was called "Himmler's Rasputin." He sent scores of Nazi agents around
the world on a quest for magical artifacts. He literally wrote the book
on Esoteric Nazism. And he claimed to be the last warlock or magician of
an order dating back to the lost continent of Atlantis.
Of all the strange personalities in Adolf Hitler's entourage, Karl Maria Wiligut was certainly the oddest.
Wiligut was born on December 10, 1866 in Vienna, then the capital of the
large eastern European empire of Austria-Hungary. "Both his father and
his grandfather had served as officers in the Austrian army" and Karl, "the
eldest son followed this family tradition."
In 1880, "at the age of fourteen, he began attending the Imperial Cadet
School at Vienna-Breitensee and in December 1884 he joined the 99th
Infantry Regiment at Mostar," in what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina. "He was
promoted second lieutenant in November 1888, (first) lieutenant in 1892
and captain in 1903. During this early period of his military career, he
served with the 99th, 88th and 47th Infantry Regiments" of the Austro-Hungarian
In 1900, while stationed at Znaim in Moravia, Wiligut became intrigued
by a curious prehistoric menhir called the Rabenstein, the subject of
much local folklore. As a result, he began reading the books of Guido
von List, a fellow Austrian and founder of the Ariosophy movement,
tried his own hand at volkisch poetry.
(Editor's Comment: You know your editor. Can't pass an ancient monument
or ruin without checking it out. If any of our eastern European readers
has more information about these ruins at Znaim, please send an
In 1907, Wiligut married Malwine Leuts von Treuenringen. His daughter
Gertrud was born in Vienna in 1908 and, while there, Wiligut made the
acquaintance of Theodore Czepl, a member of the Order of the New Templars (ONT).
Czepl invited Wiligut to join "an occult circle in
Vienna, whose members included Willy Thaler, a cousin of Wiligut's, his
wife, Marie Thaler, the well-known (stage) actress, and several ONT
During the course of these meetings, Wiligut revealed "the he had
received instruction on the runes from his grandfather Karl Wiligut
(1794-1883) and dated his formal initiation into the family secrets by
his father" in 1890.
And what secrets! The elder Wiligut told 24-year-old Karl that he was "the
last descendant of a long-line of Germanic sages, the Uiligotis of the
Asa-Uana-Sippe, which dated back to a remote prehistoric era. Wiligut
claimed to possess ancestral-clairvoyant memory, which enabled him to
recall the history and experiences of his tribe over thousands of years."
Wiligut believed that Germany was originally settled in 228,000 B.C. by
people from the lost continent of Atlantis and that his family began in
the magical city of Arual-Joruvallas (now Goslar--J.T.). He insisted
that the Bible was much older than anyone thought, that the events of
the New Testament had taken place in Germany and not Palestine, and that
Jesus Christ was really Krist, an avatar who had founded
religion in 12,500 B.C. The Wiligut family were supposed to be sages of
Irminism who were driven into the northern European wilderness by rival
sorcerers in 1,200 B.C.
Wiligut's budding career in Ariosophy was cut short in 1914 by another
catastrophe--World War I. "In October 1914, he became a staff officer in
the 30th Infantry Regiment, witnessing action against the Russian army
in the Carpathians along the northeastern flank of the
(Austro-Hungarian) empire. Following an exhausting campaign during which
he was either in battle or on long night marches, Wiligut was promoted
to lieutenant colonel and and transferred back to Graz to organize
reinforcements for the 14th and 49th Infantry Regiments."
"He was then posted to the Italian front where he held a succession of
commands between June 1915 and" was "promoted to the rank of colonel in
August 1917...In May 1918, Wiligut was recalled from the front in the
South Tyrol and placed in command of camps for returned soldiers at
Zolkiew, north of Lemberg (now Lvov--J.T.) in the Ukraine."
Discharged in January 1919, Wiligut brought his family to Salzburg. But
like many Austro-Hungarian staff officers, he felt that his country had
been cheated of victory in the war. The empire, he felt, had been
brought down by the political intrigues of (pick one) (A) the Vatican;
(B) Freemasonry; and (C) the Jews. What was needed, he thought, was a
new German-speaking empire.
In 1922, the retired colonel founded his own volkisch newspaper,
Eiserne Besen (German for The Iron Broom--J.T.) and began calling for a
rightwing revolt to overthrow the socialist Austrian republic. "Matters
abruptly climaxed in November 1924 when Wiligut was involuntarily
committed to the Salzburg mental asylum, where he was certified insane
and remained an inmate until his release in early 1927."
Wiligut's disciples - Ernst Rudiger, Friedrich Teltscher, Friedrich
Schiller and Werner von Bulow - assisted his daughters, Gertrud and Lotte, in persuading the Austrian courts to let him out. Five years
later, in 1932, heeding the call of "the Higher Powers,"
emigrated to Germany and settled in Bogenhausen, a suburb of Munich.
Shortly thereafter, another disciple, Richard Anders, introduced the
elderly sorcerer to his good friend, Heinrich Himmler, a rising star in
the NSDAP or Nazi Party. Himmler, who was deeply interested in German
prehistory, "was evidently impressed by Wiligut's ancestral-clairvoyant
memory and decided to exploit as fully as possible this unique source of
information on ancient Germanic religion and traditions."
"In September 1933, Wiligut joined the SS under the pseudonym
Maria Weisthor.'" Wiligut and Himmler became fast friends.
tired of hearing the old man talk about "the hidden history of
Atlantis," as revealed in his visions, or reading Wiligut's endless
magazine articles on European prehistory.
Wiligut designed the dreaded SS Totenkopf ring and hat badge, plus the
runic symbols used on black SS uniforms and flags. With his newest
disciple, Gunther Kirchhoff, he sent archaeological teams to investigate
prehistoric sites at Gaggenau in 1934, Germany's Murg valley in 1936 and
Glozel, France in 1940.
Money was no obstacle. Himmler created the SS-Ahnenerbe in 1936,
promoted his elderly mentor-in-magick to SS-Brigadefuhrer (General), and
turned him loose on several dozen crackpot projects. First prize
undoubtedly goes to "Wiligut's Tunnel." This was a vertical tunnel 16
kilometers (10 miles) deep begun in Hungary in 1941, designed to carry
an elevator car that would lower Himmler and Wiligut into
World of Agharti" (Better known to readers of Edgar Rice Burroughs as Pellucidar--J.T.) Millions were spent on the tunnel, and work continued
until November 1944, when the lack of supplies forced the SS project to
But age had finally caught up with the old warlock. He resigned from
active duty in the SS in August 1939 and moved to his "beloved Goslar"
the following year. Himmler sent Elsa Baltrusch, a member of his
household staff, to look after Wiligut, who spent his declining years
with his runes and spells and ancient artifacts.
Evacuated to Austria in 1943, Wiligut was there when the war ended. He
was briefly detained and questioned by the British Army at Velden, but
then was allowed to return to Germany. He fell ill during the trip in
December 1945. "The journey proved too much for the old man and he was
hospitalized on arrival. Karl Maria Wiligut died on 3 January 1946, the
last of his secret line." (See the book
The Occult Roots of Nazism by
Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, New York University Press, 1992, pages 177 to