National Socialism and the Occult - Part V - SS - Die Schutzstaffel

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
SS Double Sig Armenen Runes
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Though we have not yet learned all of the secrets of the SS, (abbreviated with stylized "Armanen" sig runes) and may never learn them, we do know some of them.
We know that it was undoubtedly an occult society.
In order to make sense of the activities of the SS, it must be seen that its members were motivated, for the most part by sacrifice in a fanatical Utopian cause.
Present-day occult groups have improved our understanding of the human capacity for personality change, and for expanding the boundaries of endurance.
They show us how malleable people are.
They give us new insights into how an appeal to idealism and a training for self-sacrifice can prepare people for deeds which transcend individual conscience.
Membership in the SS seemed to present an opportunity to become part of a Utopian society.
The National Socialist revolution, in some ways like the Communist Revolution, aimed to turn things around, but instead of an outmoded class struggle, it was concerned with a racial struggle.
A new class would be brought to power, not the old aristocracy, but a new aristocracy, based on the inherent nobility of Aryan Blood.
The master race, (Herrenrasse), was to be the first step Hitlers goal of a culmination of a biological evolution - der Übermensch..

Heinrich Himmler
If inferior races prevented these goals, the 'master race' would be justified, by the natural law of Darwinism, in doing whatever it needed to survive in the harsh struggle for existence.
This had an immediate appeal to many in Germany and Austria
Sons of middle-class men, like Himmler, who could not even hope, in that gray time of the twenties and thirties, to approach the comfortable standard of living of their fathers, now saw an escape route.
It was not necessarily outcasts or, for that matter, scoundrels who joined the SS, but ordinary people, members of the lower and middle classes, and later, even members of the aristocracy - who saw in it a chance to participate in a movement with which they could identify.
They were to be the warriors against the enemy - and they recognized the enemy.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain
Many of these men had fathers who had read the books of Guido von List, Lanz von Liebenfels, Fritsch, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, and believed in the mystical racism contained in these men's writings.
Lanz von Liebenfels

Some of he churches, too, had shown sympathy with the völkisch ideas.
In school, the future National Socialists had been taught by people who had been conditioned by the same Zeitgeist.
On joining the SS, then, a man had little to unlearn.
As a bulwark against the horror of the future, in which all the avenues of growth seemed to be closed, the organization promised new options.
The renunciation of personality, which it required of the individual, he gladly assented to.
For the sake of being part of a Utopian society which would usher in a golden age, he was willing to give up personal liberty.
He had been told for some time, anyway, that individual liberty was a fiction.
Often, it was only the liberty to go down the drain.

'The New Man'
Arno Breker
If, in the process of the SS training, an individual was transformed into a machine, he could justify it with the propaganda that he was on the way to becoming 'the new man'.
As a member of the SS put it:

'We were told all the time we were the elect, we were to be the Führer's and Himmler's special instrument for creating a new Reich.
They became our conscience, we lost our personal moral self-determination'.

There was a feeling that 'the Last Days were at hand,' that the subhuman Jew, the creature of the Demiurge, 'the creature of another god', had to be prevented, by any means, from taking over the world.
crusade of the elect, in absolute obedience to the will of the charismatic Führer', was a 'divine mission.'
As Himmler told the SS:

Heinrich Himmler
'We shall unremittingly fulfill our task. . . . We shall take care that never more in Germany, the heart of Europe, can the Jewish-Bolshevik revolution of sub-humans be kindled internally, or by emissaries from abroad. Pitilessly we shall be a merciless sword against all these forces whose existence and doings we know, whether it be today, or in decades, or in centuries'.

If Germany, after World War I, was a man-made jungle, the 'new man' was the 'natural man', very much at home in the economic and psychic swamp.
Encouraged to 'think with his blood', and to renounce the bourgeois shackles of humanism, he turned, as Himmler had, from the tender romanticism of knightly deeds and pure fellow-feeling to a savage romanticism - stählernde Romantik
In this, he was the archetypal twentieth-century man, daring to destroy the old forms so that the new could be born.
He was a modern, yet ancient warrior, accomplished in technology, so that, in a curious way, he came to embody both rationalism and irrationalism.
These were not the only ambiguities.
The SS men were trained to be the first stage in a superhuman mutation, and already behaved as if they were 'herrenmenschen'.
Fearless and hard, they were also capable of subservience to superiors.
What was the nature of the order which could contain such paradoxes ?
It was an elite society, with strict conditions for acceptance.

SS Candidates
Himmler himself scrutinized applicants' photographs for an intuition into their breeding.
They had to prove that only pure Aryan blood had flowed into their veins for three generations. 
They had to meet certain requirements of racial appearance, physical condition, and general bearing.
Intellectual attainments were not taken into account to a very great extent.
They had to go through innumerable political and physical tests, demonstrate that there were no hereditary imperfections in their families, and be examined for racial purity by a board of doctors, racial specialists, and SS officers.

SS Swimming Team
The ratio of height to physique was important.
No one could be under 1.70 meters [5' 7"], and if he were over 1.80 [5' 11"] or 1.85 [6' 1"], although this was in itself gratifying, the height must be balanced by the harmony of the rest of the body - the lower thigh, for example, must be in proportion to the upper.
The hands, the gait, the bearing must be those of the desirable SS man, an ideal physical and psychological type on whose specifications they had been working since 1931, said Himmler.
Even underarm perspiration was made a distinguishing characteristic.
If the applicant met the specifications, he was then made a candidate.

Oath Taking at the Feldherrnhalle - München
He had to swear an oath of loyalty, bravery, and obedience unto death to his superiors, and to Hitler.
An SS lieutenant general had to swear further that he would not favour his own offspring, or those of other SS men.
In the prolongation of examination and testing, Himmler copied the Jesuits, with their two-year-long period of rigorous tests and exercises for novices before they allowed them to take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

SS Sports Badge
Before a candidate was allowed to consider himself an SS man, he had to pass through a year-long course to win his sports badge, a period in the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Labour Service), and two years in the army.

Reichsarbeitsdienst (Labour Service)
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

Then, after an intensive course of indoctrination, he had to wait until the following November 9 to become a full member.
At 10:00 P.M. at the National Socialist shrine in Munich, the acolyte attended a special mystical ceremony binding him to his Führer, who was present.
The scene before the Feldherrnhalle was described thus:
'Tears came to my eyes when, by the light of the torches, thousands of voices repeated the oath in chorus.
It was like a prayer.'
Himmler was known as 'the Black Jesuit', and created a hierarchical structure with a graded series of privileges, separating the higher orders from the lower orders, with himself as 'General of the Order'.

Ordensburg Vogelsang - Besuch Adolf Hitler
He understood well the elitist leanings of his men, and their fear of losing their status.
Naturally, then, despite the conditioning these men were daily receiving that they were the hope of civilization, they lived in constant fear of being discovered to be in some way unworthy of such a high calling.
Yet there was a fierce pride in having been chosen for a superhuman task, and the romanticism persisted:
'And how they drilled us till we howled with rage - over obstacle courses, crawling through pipes; pack drills and long route marches in the heat, with the taps all turned off so that we could not drink. Yet no one would dream of asking for a transfer, such was the comradeship. 
One got so that one lost all criticism; one just lived in this life; one was simply an SS man.
One lost the thin thread to the parents.
There was no other thought than obedience.'

This obedience was achieved not just through fear, but through the creation of an almost 'religious' fanaticism, which separated SS members from everyone else.
The SS order was a 'state within a state'not subject to national law, with its own laws, courts, and judges.
A curtain separated Himmler's empire from the outside world; other Germans, no matter how lofty their position, could not penetrate it.
SS men were discouraged from contact with others.
The SS was a secret society, as the journalist Heinz Hohne observed:
.' . . intended to be mysterious, sinister and incomprehensible to the ordinary citizen, like the Order of Jesuits, which the SS officially abominated, but actually imitated down to the smallest detail. The Lords of this black-uniformed secret Order deliberately cultivated the fear evoked by their mere existence. . . . Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SD, boasted: 'The Gestapo, the Kriminalpolizei (Criminal Police) and the security services are enveloped in the mysterious aura of the political detective story'.

'meine ehre heißt treue'
Even as early as 1927, the SS's slogan was: 'The aristocracy remains silent.'
Members were not allowed to take part in discussions at Party meetings.
They were to remain silent, and refrain from smoking or leaving the room.
One of the early orders was:
'Even in the face of unjustified criticism, SS men and SS commanders are strictly forbidden to converse with SA [Sturm Abteilung men and commanders, or with civilian members of the Party other than as necessary for the performance of duty. Should criticism be voiced in a small gathering, members of the SS will immediately and silently leave the room with a curt comment that the SS carries out Adolf Hitler's orders'.
As an early memorandum suggested, the SS was organized to be 'a secret Order within the Party to hold the movement together in an iron grip.'

An inner circle of twelve SS officers of top rank met in secret for conference and meditation in a castle known as the Wevelsburg, in Westphalen, which Himmler had refurbished at tremendous expense.
The town was built on the foundations of a burgh that went back to Charlemagne, and Himmler supposedly searched the province for this castle because he had heard that in the next confrontation with the East, a Westphalian castle would be the only stronghold to survive.
In the 100-by-145-foot dining room, circling a round oak table, each officer-knight sat on a high-backed pigskin chair, a silver plate engraved with his name hanging from the back.
Each wore his own coat-of-arms, and slept in a room, decorated in period style suitable to a particular German hero.

Totenfeier für Heinrich I im Quedlinburger Dom 1938 
Himmler, of course, chose King Heinrich I, whose spirit apparently gave him invaluable counsel. 
Himmler would say, on occasion: 'In this case King Heinrich would have acted as follows.' 
Heinrich I was not the only great spirit of the past with whom Himmler was able to communicate.
He believed he had the power to call up others, and hold conferences with them, but only if they had been dead for hundreds of years.
In the bowels of the castle was a 'Trauerhalle' (funeral hall) containing a sunken well and a hollowed-out stone pillar.

Wevelsburg Trauerhalle 
When one of the twelve top-ranking officers died, his ashes were placed in a cremation urn by the well.
His wappen (coat of arms) was burned on top of the pillar, and the smoke would rise above the well, because of a cleverly arranged ventilating scheme.
For a week once a year, Himmler and his twelve 'Knights of the Round Table', in an atmosphere of secret confinement, gave themselves over completely to mental and spiritual exercises of visualization.

Ordensburg Krössinsee 
Ordensburg Sonthofen 
In schools of instruction (Burgen) at Wevelsburg, and other castles at Sonthofen in Bavaria, Vogelsang in Rhenanie, and Krossinsee in Pomerania, candidates were systematically prepared for the higher levels of the 'Black Order'.
Each school had its dormitories, refectories, chapel room, meditation cloister, and private cemetery.
In Wevelsburg, a library of twelve thousand volumes comprising all of the known literature relating to the cult of race was made available.
In each of these schools, men, stripped to the waist and without any defensive weapons, were taught to become hard by such ordeals as fighting off for twelve minutes attack dogs that were unleashed and incited to kill.
Such training was coupled, in the classroom, with racist educational courses designed to separate the SS man further from the outside world, because they were deliberately anti-Christian, and quickly created a climate of neo-paganism.
Christian names were replaced with Teutonic names.

Christmas was brought forward to the winter solstice and celebrated as 'Yulefest', which, an SS manual assured, was the 'greatest festival of our forebears'.
They advanced towards the Yule-night with firebrands to liberate the sun from bondage of wintry death, and thought of it as a young hero come to rouse and free them from their death-like sleep.

On the Yule eve the main ingredients of festive fare must be carp, roast goose and wild boar, dawn respectively from the sphere of water, air and earth, and in view of the fact that this was the greatest clan festival it was became customary to exchange ideas about the success of the steadily deepening research into family genealogies.

Julleuchter ("Yule lantern") was the term for a type of lantern used in the "Julfest" during the German Third Reich. Heinrich Himmler, who placed great interest in Ariosophy, gave the SS Julleuchter as a presentation piece for SS soldiers to celebrate the winter solstice, from approximately 1936 until 1944. Heinrich Himmler originally had the intention to make the Julleuchter a standard gift to all SS members, and there were no criteria attached to its presentation. For reasons which are not entirely clear, by the start of World War II, the Julleuchter had begun to be viewed as an SS decoration, and was entered as such in SS service records once the Julleuchter had been presented, however, as the SS-Julleuchter was considered "non-portable" (much like the Luftwaffe Honor Goblet), there was no outward display on an SS uniform indicating its presentation.

The Grail
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
New Templars
The cult of ancestors, which Himmler fostered to give his men a feeling of being part of a great continuum, also took in the Germanic forebears of the Middle Ages.
Like Lanz von Liebenfels' 'New Templars', SS members delved into the occult mysteries of the Grail legends.
All their mystical rituals, says Joachim Fest,
'not only conferred a special distinction but also placed them under a special obligation.
Over and above this, they were intended to inspire states of rapture.
But none of this belies the initiatory character of these solemn hours, which amounted to a repeated act of consecration and total commitment to a community opposed to all traditional ties, one that seriously demanded 'unconditional' liberation from the old social world of caste, class and family and proclaimed its own 'law', as springing unconditionally from the mere fact of belonging to the new community'.

'Sacred to us be every mother of good blood.'
Since the members of this new community were heirs to the old German nobility, it mattered with whom they mated and begot children.
The future of the German people depended on it.
Himmler laid down elaborate rules for marriage.
Future wives had to pass the same rigorous test for Aryanism as SS men.
At christenings, as at deaths, the priest was supplanted by the local SS leader.
Every fourth child born to an SS man received a present of a candlestick with the inscription 'You are only a link in the clan's endless chain.'
The breeding rules of the order's Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt SS (Race and Settlement Bureau) read like one of Lanz von Liebenfels' tracts.

Richard Walther Darré
The Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt SS (RuSHA), was the organization responsible for "safeguarding the racial 'purity' of the SS" within the Third Reich.
One of its duties was to oversee the marriages of SS personnel in accordance with the Aryan ideology of the NSDAP. The RuSHA would only issue a permit to marry once detailed background investigations into the racial fitness of both prospective parents had been completed. The RuSHA was founded in 1931 by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and Richard Walther Darré, who later rose to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer.

Richard Walther Darré (14 July 1895 – 5 September 1953), was an SS-Obergruppenführer and one of the leading "blood and soil" (German: Blut und Boden) ideologists. He served as Reichsminister of Food and Agriculture from 1933 to 1942.

Men were urged to have children out of wedlock with racially pure women, and there were special facilities (Lebensborn) set up for these purposes.

Lebensborn Nursery
'Sacred to us be every mother of good blood.'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Lebensborn (Fount of Life e.V. - eingetragener Verein or registered association) was an SS-borne, state-supported, registered association in the Third Reich with the intention of raising the birth rate of "Aryan" children from extramarital relations of "racially pure and healthy" parents on the basis of National Socialist racial hygiene and health ideology. Lebensborn aimed to do this by encouraging anonymous births, and mediating adoption to likewise "racially pure and healthy" parents, particularly families of SS-members. Initially set up in Germany in 1935, Lebensborn expanded into several occupied European countries with Germanic population during the Second World War.

The Ahnenerbe

Wilhelm Keppler
Ahnenerbe Seal
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The most ambitious researches of the SS were undertaken by the Ahnenerbe, which had a group of financiers called the Freundeskreis Reichführer SS, led by Wilhelm Keppler, pay enormous sums for a flight to Tibet to look for traces of a pure Germanic race which might have been able to keep intact the ancient Nordic mysteries.
The Ahnenerbe also had archaeologists making excavations in many areas of Europe for remains of Germanic culture.
More than fifty departments in this branch succeeded in spending over a million marks ($400,000) on such research.
But the most incredible research of all was set up in 1939 in Berlin.

An astrologer, Wilhelm Wulff, who was made prisoner of the SS and coerced into working for it, described the Berlin Institute's scientific research centre as being used 'to harness, not only natural, but also supernatural, forces. All intellectual, natural, and supernatural sources of power from modern technology to medieval black magic, and from the teachings of Pythagoras to the Faustian pentagram incantations were to be exploited in the interests of final victory.'
In March 1942, the astrologer joined the Ahnenerbe, which included 'spiritualist mediums and sensitives, pendulum practitioners (dowsers who used a pendulum instead of a dowsing rod), students of Tattwa, astrologers and astronomers, ballistics experts, and mathematicians.
Many writers on the occult have suggested that the SS was actively engaged in black-magic rites designed to contact and enlist the aid of evil and immensely powerful super-human powers, in order to secure the domination of the planet by the Third Reich.
While most conventional historians disagree, it nevertheless helps to explain tremendous mystery at the heart of National Socialism.
Those who have explored the subject of the occult inspiration behind National Socialism stress that undoubtedly völkisch occultists, such as Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels, contributed to the mythological and occult nature of the Third Reich, with its concepts of prehistoric Aryan super-humans inhabiting vanished continents.
One man, in particular, named Karl Maria Wiligut (1866-1946), exerted a profound influence upon Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler.

Karl Maria Wiligut 

Karl Maria Wiligut was born in Vienna, into a military family, and followed his grandfather and father into the Austrian army, joining the 99th Infantry at Mostar, Herzegovina in late 1884 and reaching the rank of captain by the time he was thirty-seven.

Karl Maria Wiligut
(Karl Maria Weisthor)
Throughout his years in the army, he maintained his interest in literature and folklore, writing poetry with a distinctly nationalistic flavour.
In 1903, a book of his poems entitled 'Seyfrieds Runen' was published by Friedrich Schalk, who had also published Guido von List.
Although his studies in mythology had led him to join a quasi-Masonic lodge called the Schlarraffia in 1889, Wiligut does not seem to have been active in the völkisch or Pan-German nationalist movements at this time.
During the First World War, Wiligut saw action against the Russians in the Carpathians and was later transferred to the Italian front.
By the summer of 1917, he had reached the rank of colonel.
Decorated for bravery and highly thought of by his superiors, Wiligut was discharged from the army in January 1919, after nearly 35 years of exemplary service.
At around this time, Viennese occult groups were filled with rumours concerning Wiligut, and his alleged possession of an 'ancestral memory' that allowed him to recall the history of the Teutonic people all the way back to the year 228,000 BC.
According to Wiligut, his astonishing clairvoyant ability was the result of an uninterrupted family lineage, extending thousands of years into the past.
He claimed to have been initiated into the secrets of his family by his father in 1890.
The source of this information about Wiligut was Theodor Czepl, who knew of Wiligut through his occult connections in Vienna, which included Wiligut's cousin, Willy Thaler, and various members of the Order of the New Templars (ONT).
Czepl paid several visits to Wiligut at his Salzburg home in the winter of 1920.
According to Wiligut's view of prehistory, the Earth was originally lit by three suns, and was inhabited by various mythological beings, including giants and dwarves.
For many tens of thousands of years, the world was convulsed with warfare until Wiligut's ancestors, the Adler-Wiligoten, brought peace with the foundation of the city of Arual- Joruvallas (Goslar, the chief shrine of ancient Germany) in 78,000 BC.
The following millennia saw yet more conflicts involving various now-lost civilisations.
The Wiligut family itself was originally the result of a mating between the gods of air and water, and in later centuries fled from persecution at the hands of Charlemagne, first to the Faroe Islands and then to Russia.
Wiligut claimed that his family line included such heroic Germanic figures as Armin the Cherusker and Wittukind.
It will be evident from this epic account of putative genealogy and family history that Wiligut's pre-historical speculations primarily served as a stage upon which he could project the experiences and importance of his own ancestors.
In Wiligut's view, the victimisation of his family was continuing at the hands of the Catholic Church, the Freemasons and the Jews, all of whom he held responsible for Germany's defeat in the First World War.
Wiligut maintained contact with his colleagues in various occult circles, including the ONT and the Edda Society, and after his move to Munich, he was feted by German occultists as a fount of information on the remote and glorious history of the Germanic people.
Wiligut's introduction to Heinrich Himmler came about through the former's friend Richard Anders, who had contributed to the Edda Society's 'Hagal' magazine, and who was now an officer in the SS.
Himmler was greatly impressed with Wiligut's ancestral memory, which implied a racial purity going back much further than 1750 (the year to which SS recruits had to be able to prove their Aryan family history). 
Wiligut joined the SS in September 1933, using the name Karl Maria Weisthor.
He was made head of the Department for Pre-and-Early History in the SS Race and Settlement Main Office in Munich, where he was charged with the task of recording on paper the events he clairvoyantly recalled.
His work evidently met with the satisfaction of the Reichsfuhrer-SS, who promoted him to SS-Oberfuhrer (lieutenant-brigadier) in November 1934.
Weisthor introduced Himmler to another occultist, a German historian and List Society member named Gunther Kirchhoff (1892-1975), who believed in the existence of energy lines crossing the face of the Earth.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Weisthor took it upon himself to forward a number of Kirchhoff's essays and dissertations on ancient Germanic tradition to Himmler, who gave instructions to the Ahnenerbe (the SS Association for Research and Teaching on Heredity) to study them.
Subsequently, however, the Ahnenerbe rejectedKirchhoff's theories.
Weisthor, on the other hand, would make one further important contribution to Himmler's SS.
While travelling through Westphalia during the Nazi electoral campaign of January 1933, Himmler was profoundly affected by the atmosphere of the region, with its romantic castles and the mist- (and myth-) shrouded Teutoburger Wald.

After deciding to take over a castle for SS use, he returned to Westphalia in November and viewed the Wewelsburg (see above), which he appropriated in August 1934 with the intention of turning it into an ideological-education college for SS officers.
Although at first belonging to the Race and Settlement Main Office, the Wewelsburg was placed under the control of Himmler's Personal Staff in February 1935.

It is likely that Himmler's view of the Wewelsburg was influenced by Weisthors assertion that it was destined to become a magical German strong-point in a future conflict between Europe and Asia.
Weisthor's inspiration for this prediction was a Westphalian legend regarding a titanic future battle between East and West.
Himmler found this particularly interesting, in view of his own conviction that a major confrontation between East and West was inevitable - even if it were still a century or more in the future.
Totenkopfring Runes
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
SS Totenkopfring
In addition, it was Weisthor who influenced the development of SS ritual, and who designed the SS Totenkopfring that symbolised membership of the order.
The ring design was based on a death's head, and included a swastika, the double sig-rune of the SS and a hagall rune.
In 1935, Weisthor moved to Berlin, where he joined the Reichsfuhrer-SS Personal Staff, and continued to advise Himmler.
Eyewitnesses recollect that this was a period of great activity, during which Weisthor travelled widely, corresponded extensively and oversaw numerous meetings.
Besides his involvement with the Wewelsburg, and his land surveys in the Black Forest and elsewhere, Weisthor continued to produce examples of his family traditions such as the Halgarita mottoes, Germanic mantras designed to stimulate ancestral memor.
In recognition of his work, Weisthor was promoted to SS-Brigadefuhrer (brigadier) in Himmler's Personal Staff in September 1936.
While in Berlin, Weisthor worked with the author and historian Otto Rahn (1904-1939), who had a profound interest in medieval Grail legends.

Otto Rahn
Kreuzzug gegen den Gral
(Crusade Against the Grail)
In 1933, Rahn published a romantic historical work entitled Kreuzzug gegen den Gral (Crusade Against the Grail), which was a study of the Albigensian Crusade, a war between the Roman Catholic Church and the Cathars (or Albigensians), an ascetic religious sect that flourished in southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
The Cathars were eventually destroyed by Catholic armies on the orders of Pope Innocent III in the first decade of the thirteenth century.

Catharism held a particular fascination and attraction for Himmler and other leading Nazis.
This may be partly explained by the fact that the very word 'Cathar' means 'pure', and purity -particularly of the blood as the physical embodiment of spirituality - was an issue of prime importance to the SS.

The Grail
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Just as the Cathars had despised the materialism of the Catholic Church, so National Socialists despised Capitalism, which they equated with the 'excesses of the Jewish financiers that had brought the nation to ruin during the First World War and the depression that followed'.
Yawehistic Demiurge - the 'Lesser God'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The Cathar belief that the evil god, the Demiurge, who had created the material Universe was none other than Jehovah (Yaweh) provided additional common ground with völkisch anti-Semitism - which maintained that the Jews (and other lesser races) were 'the creatures of a lesser god'.
The thesis of Rahn's book was that the Cathar heresy and Grail legends constituted an ancient Gnostic religion that had been suppressed by the Catholic Church, beginning with the persecution of the Cathars and ending with the destruction of the Knights Templar a century later.

Luzifers Hofgesinde
From 1933, Rahn lived in Berlin and his book and his continued researches into Germanic history came to the attention of Himmler.
In May 1935, Rahn joined Weisthor's staff, joining the SS less than a year later.
In April 1936, he was promoted to the rank of SS-Unterscharfuhrer (NCO).

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
His second book, Luzifers Hofgesinde (Lucifer's Servants), which was an account of his research trip to Iceland for the SS, was published in 1937.
It reads quite differently from Rahn's first book, which was an effort to portray a kind of occult underdog group of purists who held the secret of the ages in their hands if only the rest of us would pay attention.
'Lucifer's Servants', on the other hand, is at least partly a genuine SS tract, and several passages make a good case for the worship of Lucifer, if one follows Rahn's exegesis on several ancient sources including Parzival, and the surviving texts of troubadors, Cathars, and even Persian mystics.
Indeed, this idea of Lucifer as a benign or divine being was familiar and congenial to the "white light" Theosophists of the 1920s who, after all, entitled one of their official German publications 'Luzifer'.
In February 1939, Rahn resigned from the SS for unknown reasons, and subsequently died from exposure the following month while walking on the mountains in Söll, near Kufstein, Austria.
As with Rahn's resignation from the SS, the reasons for Weisthor leaving the organisation are uncertain.
One possible reason is that his health was badly failing; although he was given powerful drugs intended to maintain his mental faculties, they had serious side effects.
Although Weisthor was supported by the SS during the final years of his life, his influence on the Third Reich was at an end.
He was given a home in Aufkirchen, but found it to be too far away from Berlin, and he moved to Goslar in May 1940.
When his accommodation was requisitioned for medical research in 1943, he moved again, this time to a small SS house in Carinthia, where he spent the remainder of the war with his housekeeper, Elsa Baltrusch, a member of Himmler's Personal Staff.
At the end of the war, he was sent by the British occupying forces to a refugee camp, where he suffered a stroke.
After their release, he and Baltrusch went first to his family home at Salzburg, and then to Baltrusch's family home at Arolsen.
On 3 January 1946, his health finally gave out and he died in hospital.

Heinrich Himmler - Reichsfuhrer SS

Heinrich Himmler was born in Munich on 7 October 1900.

Himmler (centre) and his Brothers
Himmler's Parents and Siblings
Himmler's father was the son of a police president, and had been a tutor to the princes at the Bavarian court, and thus applied suitably authoritarian principles on his own family. 

Himmler was not blessed with a robust physical constitution, and this hampered his family's initial intention that he should become a farmer.
Nevertheless, the ideal of the noble peasant remained with him, and heavily influenced his later ideology and plans for the SS.
After serving very briefly at the end of the First World War, Himmler joined the NSDAP.

Himmler's Wife and Daughter
In 1926 he met Margerete Boden, the daughter of a West Prussian landowning family, and married her two years later.
A fine example of the Germanic type (tall, fair-haired and blue-eyed), she was also seven years older than Himmler, and is said to have inspired his interest in alternative medicine such as herbalism and homoeopathy.
Himmler was appointed head (Reichsfuhrer) of the SS on 6 January 1929.
At that time the organisation had barely 300 members, but such were Himmler's organisational skills that he increased its membership to over 50,000 in the next four years.
In 1931 he established a special Security Service (SD) within the SS, which would oversee political intelligence.
It was led by the Reinhard Heydrich. 

Gestapo Warrant Disk
Himmler took control of the party's police functions in April 1934, and then took command of the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei).
The aims of the SS apparatus were comprehensive, and concerned not so much with controlling the state as with becoming a state itself.
The occupants of the chief positions in the SS developed step by step into the holders of power in an authentic 'collateral state', which gradually penetrated existing institutions, undermined them, and finally began to dissolve them.
Fundamentally there was no sphere of public life upon which the SS did not make its competing demands: the economic, ideological, military, scientific and technical spheres, as well as those of agrarian and population policies, legislation and general administration.
It has been said of Himmler that his personality was a curious mixture of rationality and mysticism: that his capacity for rational planning, the following of orders and administrative detail existed alongside an idealist enthusiasm for utopianism, mysticism and the occult.

Großgermanisches Reich (Greater Germanic Reich)
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
This combination of the quotidian and the fantastic led to Himmler's conception of the ultimate role of the SS: - that it would provide both the bloodstock of the future Aryan master-race and the ideological elite of an expanding 'Greater Germanic Reich'.

Paderborn - Westphalen
From 1930, Himmler concentrated on the formulation of his plans for the SS, which included the establishment of the Wewelsburg in 1933.
Two years later, he established the Ahnenerbe with Richard Walther Darre.
The Ahnenerbe was the Ancestral Heritage Research and Teaching Society, and was initially an independent institute conducting research into Germanic prehistory, archaeology and occult mysticism. It was subsequently incorporated into the SS in April 1940, with its staff holding SS rank.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The inspiration for the Ahnenerbe came from a number of German intellectuals and occultists who had subscribed to the theories of the volkisch writers of the late nineteenth century, as well as from the adventures of a number of explorers and archaeologists, including the world-famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin.

Himmler's vision of the SS required its transformation from Hitler's personal bodyguard to an occult religious order with virtually complete autonomy, answerable only to the Führer himself.

As we have seen, Himmler chose as the headquarters for his order the Wewelsburg, near Paderborn in Westphalen, and close to the stone monument known as the Externsteine where the Teutonic hero Arminius was said to have battled the Romans.
There was no place for Christianity in the SS, and members were actively encouraged to break with the Church.

Klara Hitler
New religious ceremonies were developed to take the place of Christian ones; for instance, a winter solstice ceremony was designed to replace Christmas (starting in 1939 the word 'Christmas' was forbidden to appear in any official SS document), and another ceremony for the summer solstice.
Gifts were to be given at the summer solstice ceremony rather than at the winter solstice ... (A possible, though by no means documented, cause for this switch of gift-giving to the summer solstice is the death of Hitler's mother on the winter solstice, and all the grief and complex emotions this event represented for Hitler.
It's understandable that Hitler - as the Fuhrer and at least nominally in charge of the direction the new state religion would take - would have wanted to remove every vestige of Christmas from the pagan winter solstice festival.
As a means of denying his grief ? - Or as an act of defiance against the god whose birth is celebrated on that day, a god who robbed Hitler of his beloved mother ?
It's worthwhile to note in this context that for a national 'Day of the German Mother' Hitler chose his own mother's birthday.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

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