WASHINGTON: Found among the personal effects of Hitler was a book of the occult by Ernst Schertel written in 1923, “Magic: History, Theory, Practice.” It was a guide to the occult that helped to form Hitler’s Monsters and the monstrous deeds they did.
In the book he underlined the following passage:
“Horror always lurks at the bottom of the magical world and everything ‘holy’ is always mixed with horror.”
“He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world.”
That particular occult tome was among Hitler’s prized possessions.
Beyond materialism to the occult
Since the publication of Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” in 1867, we secular “moderns” tend to view reality almost exclusively through the prism of materialism.
But men like Hitler and his acolyte Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the dreaded SS, viewed the world as a realm guided by spiritual forces. An esotericism author Eric Kurlander, professor of history at Stetson University, calls “the Nazi supernatural imaginary.”
In his new book “Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich,” Kurlander explores the occult ideas that sent German archeologists on a global hunt for relics imbued with mystical powers; sustained notions of genetic ties between Germans and the lost inhabitants of Atlantis; stirred scientists to perform horrific medical experiments and develop rockets that soared to the stratosphere; launched a world war with astrological guidance; and brought industrial efficiency to the barbaric practice of human sacrifice in what came to be the Jewish Holocaust.
The myth and monster
In 1938, pioneer psychoanalyst Carl Jung described Hitler as…
“… a medicine man, a form of spiritual vessel, a demi-deity, or even better, a myth. With Hitler you are scared. You know you would never be able to talk to that man; because there is nobody there. He is not a man, but a collective. He is not an individual, but a whole nation.”
Jung’s clinical portrayal of the German Führer is eerily reminiscent of the description in Saint Mark’s gospel of the possessed Demoniac of the Gadarene:
“And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion, for we are many.’”
Professor Kurlander says the Nazis employed “the premise that the late nineteenth and early twentieth century witnessed a reframing and transposition of supernatural thinking from Christianity to occultism, border [fringe] science, and alternative religion.”
Soldiers of the crooked cross
And among the Nazi hierarchy, none was more steeped in magical thinking than SS head Heinrich Himmler. He occupied and expanded Wewelsburg castle in Westphalia to serve as an occultic holy site.
Quite separate from the German army (Wehrmacht), the SS (Schutzstaffel) was an occultic knightly order – a twisted caricature of the Vatican’s papal protectors, the Swiss Guard.
Himmler’s neopaganism engendered a vehement hatred of Christianity. With that hate came a diminishment of conscious humanity and exaltation of mindless nature:
“We will have to deal with Christianity in a tougher way than hitherto. We must settle accounts with this Christianity, this greatest of plagues that could have happened to us in our history, which has weakened us in every conflict… We shall once again have to find a new scale of values for our people… Man is nothing special at all. He is an insignificant part of this earth… He must once again look with deep reverence into this world. Then he will acquire the right sense of proportion about what is above us, about how we are woven into this cycle.”
Monsters as friends
This pagan Earth worship is reminiscent of today’s fanatical environmental movement, with its cataclysmic visions of melting ice caps and drowning polar bears. And then there is this:
“Alongside this interest in folklore, mythology, and an alternative religion there emerged a renewed fascination with werewolves and witches – except these monsters in Christian liturgy now come to be viewed increasingly as positive figures.”
And Kurlander notes that German authors like Hermann Löns portrayed werewolves not as monsters. At least not as evil monsters. Instead they are heroic guerrilla resistance fighters. Fighters sworn to protect German blood and soil against foreign interlopers.
This is reminiscent of Stephenie Meyer’s popular “Twilight” novels, in which werewolves and vampires are romantic figures.
And today’s rehabilitation of witches is similar to that of Nazi occultists:
“Instead of being pawns of Satan, German ‘witches’ became Earth mothers, practitioners of an ancient Indo-Germanic religion that the Catholic Church, whose inquisitors were the true monsters, sought to eradicate.”
Getting to the truth of Hitler’s Monsters
Eric Kurlander goes to great pains to separate his book from works by fringe historians, like Trevor Ravenscroft’s “The Spear of Destiny,” which claims Hitler’s possession of the so-called Spear of Longinus – said to be the ancient Roman lance that pierced the side of Christ – imbued the mad dictator with seemingly unstoppable power.
Ravenscroft’s claims have since been debunked. However the book remains an entertaining page-turner in the mold of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.”
Kurlander assures the reader that his work meets the highest academic standards:
“I have relied, as much as possible, on hundreds of Nazi Party and personal papers, government documents, manuscripts, newspapers, and published primary-source accounts drawn directly from the German federal archives in Berlin.”
The one failing of “Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich” is that Eric Kurlander’s many sources impede the flow of his book. That said, it remains a fascinating work that examines the malevolent and invisible forces employed by the Nazi regime to plunge our physical world into hellish war.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…” said Saint Paul.