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Monday, October 26, 2009

More Roots of Nazism

For the next few days I will continue to explore the roots of the ideas behind National Socialism or Nazism. Where did these ideas come from? How did they get the idea that one race was superior to another? How did Hitler come to believe that Jews were a race? Where did the word 'Aryan' come from? Why call white people Aryans anyway? 


Guido von List
I mentioned in earlier Blogs the influence of Madame Blavatsky's writings. In Germany the writings of Guido von List were equally influential. But where did von List get his ideas? What sources formed and shaped him? 

List grew up in Vienna in the second half of the 19th century as a Roman Catholic. In his thirties, after his father died, List rejected the Catholic church as his theological authority, along with the Bible. Instead he turned to the myths, legends, folktales and other memorabilia of the Germanic people. He drew on sources like the Niebelungenleid of the 12th and 13th centuries. Many such poems and stories were newly discovered in 18th century Europe.

During these years there were many literary societies in Germany with members interested in discovering the background of the Germanic peoples. List, who claimed for himself a title of nobility—hence the 'von,' became a leader among these groups, especially in Austria and southern Germany. This was part of a political movement to unite the German speaking people of Europe that followed the Napoleonic Wars. Since the days of the Reformation when the Holy Roman Empire was shattered into a patchwork of states, the Germans had been a loose and disunited people.

List adopted the pantheistic beliefs of the earlier Germans and rejected the Roman Catholic Church as an example of continued Roman domination of the Germanic people by the former Roman Empire. List's system of beliefs became known as Armanism. A similar system became known as Ariosophy. The most direct connection between these systems of occult and esoteric belief and the Nazis came through a man whom SS Leader Heinrich Himmler elevated to the rank of General and put on his staff. His name was Karl Maria Wiligut.

Wiligut, who was probably schizophrenic, claimed spiritual powers that allowed him direct access to genetic memories of his ancestors thousands of years earlier. Though he borrowed from von List, Wiligut rejected much of what he taught. Because of this, many of von List's followers were jailed by the Nazis.

According to Wiligut Germanic culture and history reached back to 228,000 B.C. At that time there were three suns and earth was inhabited by giants, dwarfs and other mythical creatures.

In my new novel the priestess of the goddess Freya is a student of Wiligut and a leader in the revival of German worship of the ancient Nordic gods.