February 26, 2021

The new return of Nazi sorcerers | Culture

From Indiana Jones, who faced the Nazis for the ark of the Alliance and the Grail, to Captain America, who fought arm and shield against the Hitlerian agent and archivillano Red Skull, going through The children of Brazil and his plan to clone the Nazi leader and video games like Castle Wolfenstein, our popular culture is full of references to the relationship of Nazism with the occult, the supernatural and science in the margins of magic and charlatanism.

A fundamental milestone in the conception of Nazism as a movement deeply imbricated with the esoteric and the irrational was the publication in 1960 of The return of the witches, by Louis Pawels and Jacques Bergier (Spanish edition in Plaza & Janés), a potpourri of mysteries and essays of novelistic touches – and at times deliciously botched – that discovered secret secrets and that became a best seller, giving rise to a whole new genre of fantastic realism that has proved very prolific. In his enthusiastic as well as crazy speech, Pawells and Bergier gave rise to the most abracadabrantes theories about the relationship of the Nazis with the occult and intermingled real facts with cryptohistory, conspiracy theory, ufology and pure nonsense to configure a III Reich of the shadows and argue that there was a "spiritual" history of Nazism hidden by the official. In The return of the witches many of us hear about the concave earth and the frozen world of Hans Horbiger for the first time, the societies of Vril and Thule, the Unknown Superiors who dictated their orders to Hitler, the pseudo-scientific Nazi experiments, or the mad pursuit of the Black Order, the SS, in pursuit of extravagant sources of physical or spiritual power.

Now, a novel, The triumph of darkness (Grijalbo), of two other authors of very different sign, Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne (popular writers of thrillers and authors of an essay on Dan Brown), explores from fiction the Nazi universe of the supernatural taking advantage to relaunch the debate about what is true in all that hodgepodge and "shed a little light". The novel, which has just appeared in Spanish, is the first part of the "saga del sol negro", a trilogy from which the second installment has already been published in France. The nuit du mal. In the plot, the Nazis get a grimoire that explains how to locate a series of swastikas with magical powers that will allow them to win the war. The search takes them to Tibet, to Montserrat, to Montségur, to Cnossos (it is true that the Nazis dug there) and to other places, while a series of agents from both sides confront each other in a deadly secret struggle. The funny thing is that Giacometti and Ravenne rely on authentic documentation about the esoteric inquiries of the III Reich. Including new findings as revealed by the excavations of the original castle of Montségur (which is not the one visited, of later construction), the 13,000 books on magic, witchcraft and demonology of Himmler's personal collection recently discovered hidden in Prague , or that of a treaty of French alchemy of the seventeenth century stolen by the Nazis and found in a file of the Russian army.

Giacometti and Ravenne confess that they have had a great time using all the myths of fantastic Nazism. But they underline at the same time their "didactic will". They want their work to dig into this underground and heterogeneous humus of the Third Reich and clarify what is part of History and what is pure fiction. "Ours is fun literature, but unlike Dan Brown we say what is true and what is not, we believe we have that responsibility." In this regard, his books have separate appendices under the heading "separate the true from the false", in which clarifications and indications are offered "to know more" so that no one is called to deceit. "Nazism is not a Harry Potter at the head of Panzer divisions," they say. The authors line up – and cite them in a recommended bibliography – with the historians most in vogue in serious research on supernatural Nazism, such as Eric Kurlander (Hitler's monsters, a supernatural History of the Third Reich, Yale University Press, 2018, "our Bible"), Stephane François (Le nazisme revisité, l'occultisme contre l'histoire, Berg, 2008), or Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (there is an edition in Spanish of his seminal work on the subject, The dark roots of Nazism, Ed. Sudamericana, 2005), three essential books in the debate.

View of the crypt of Wewelsburg Castle from the SS leader, Heinrich Himmler, near Paderborn, in Germany.

View of the crypt of Wewelsburg Castle from the SS leader, Heinrich Himmler, near Paderborn, in Germany. afp

The question, they agreed in an interview in Paris, is that it is very difficult, especially for the layman, to draw a clear dividing line in Nazism between the rational and the irrational, the scientific and the para-scientific. "We are talking about a movement that obviously impregnated in its beginnings fantastic theories about hidden forces of history and spiritual powers," Ravenne explains, "although later on when he came to power he distanced himself from those beliefs and could even fight them occasionally". Hitler himself, who in his early years moved intuitively composing his ideology based on what he was taking opportunistically from the nationalist market völkisch (the cultural and ethnic nationalism rooted in Germany from Herder), racist and anti-Semitic of the time, flirted (if you can imagine Hitler flirting) with societies and characters such as the Aryanists of the Thule Society, the Germanenorden and other small groups , and even with parapsychology (in your personal library there are subject books underlined). In fact, the swastika is a very old symbol with deep esoteric resonances that was in the environment in the twenties and that Hitler simply modified by straightening the arms, which were curved, and giving the colors of the flag guillermina, black, the white and the red. "Hitler structures in his political theory a magma that also contains some completely irrational ideas", reflect Giacometti and Ravenne.

In any case, Hitler "in the thirties moves away from esotericism" and believes more in the strength of a modern mass movement and in a lot of well-mechanized divisions capable of subduing Europe than in the dark arcana and the supposed occult powers of mystics and astrologers. However, the need to shore up a new system of beliefs centered on earth and blood, to affirm his quasi-religious leadership of a messianic nature and to justify the unjustifiable racist theories and war, pushed him to cohabit with irrational thinking (there is something more irrational than anti-Semitism and that Auschwitz?) In that contradiction within the Nazism there were people, themes and initiatives that seem out of place in a modern state or simply sane and that took advantage of and deepened the crack of the Third Reich towards the emotional, the occult and the supernatural.

And do not forget that several of the most important Nazi leaders, especially Heinrich Himmler, Rudolph Hess and Alfred Rosenberg, were firm adherents to occult beliefs and remained so. The SS of the first was a very material force but at the same time Himmler covered them with an esoteric halo of a secret order inspired by the Templars of the legend. "Hess," recalls Ravenne, who is a Freemason, "was obsessed with astrology, employed astrologers in the middle of the war and put his controversial flight to England under the influence of the stars." For his part, "Himmler was a technocrat who efficiently oriented the Final Solution in an industrial way," Giacometti points out, "but at the same time he was an enlightened man capable of throwing the SS in search of Thor's hammer and other fantastic Germanic relics at the that attributed a real power ". There was in those Nazi leaders "a true magical thought".

"The documentation shows that there was an impulse from certain instances towards irrational areas in the III Reich, such as the practice of an archeology of a spurious or perverse scientificity", explain Giacometti and Ravenne. "The activities of the Ahnenerbe, the ancestral research institute of the SS, which have inspired the Indiana Jones films, are outrageous but played a decisive role in the construction of the Jewish question and ended experiments with prisoners in the fields. Nazism "is a leafy and monstrous tree with very deep roots, there are economic, social and political reasons in the movement, but also other secondary impulses but also determinants that have not been sufficiently recognized, leaving them in the hands of charlatans. That is changing. "

Giacometti and Ravenne consider that the will to clarify that dark zone of Nazism, which does not mean at all to relativize its criminal historical responsibility or make the Nazis more interesting, has a very current interest in the world of the Nazis. fake news and when, from different antimodern areas, scientific principles or established history are irrationally questioned. The authors recall that the Nazis believed in alternative forms of healing outside of medicine and investigated sources of energy and crazy, miraculous weapons (a theme that ties in with Nazi flying saucers and the legendary Die Glocke, La Campana). Fortunately, they thought that atomic fission was part of Jewish degenerate science …

From Montserrat to Tibet through the castles of Montségur and Wewelsburg

One of the protagonists of the work of Giacometti and Ravenne, the villain of the show, is Karl Weistort, of the Ahnenerbe, in which it is possible to recognize, although they have charged the inks, the mystic ariosophist, military and occultist, Karl Maria Wiligut, who took the nickname Weisthor, in honor of the Norse god Thor. Willigut was a member of pagan esoteric societies and then was part of the inner circle of Himmler, who promoted him to colonel and later general of the SS. In the novel also appear Ernst Schäfer, the real head of the mission sent to Tibet by Himmler, Goering (which is explained in passant that he had a passion for brassieres-the collection was found by the Allies in 1945-), Hess, Otto Skorzeny, Himmler himself and Hitler himself, belching with the smell of cabbage cooked in a tremendous scene. He also stars in the saga, along with a former member of the International Brigades, the ambiguous Erika Von Essling character based on Erika Trautmann, an SS-affiliated archaeologist whose passionate biography has been traced by the authors. Aleister Crowley also appears, aligning with the Allies to fight against the Nazis in the shadow. Among the scenarios, highlights Montserrat, whose abbey visited Himmler and where he asked for the Grail. "In France, that episode is unknown, and we have included it in the novel." There is also the castle of Wewelsburg, the spiritual center of the SS, where Himmler celebrated its ceremonies.

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